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Owners of Stokes Co. restaurant celebrate 50th wedding anniversary

Rosanna Bray Jarvis, from left, thanks everyone for attending her parents' 50th wedding anniversary party as her parents, Sam and Louise Bray, look on and laugh at the 66 Diner Thursday, March 20, 2014. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

Rosanna Bray Jarvis, from left, thanks everyone for attending her parents' 50th wedding anniversary party as her parents, Sam and Louise Bray, look on and laugh at the 66 Diner Thursday, March 20, 2014. (Lauren Carroll/Journal)

WALNUT COVE, N.C. — Sam and Louise Bray, the owners of the popular Hillbilly Hideaway restaurant in Walnut Cove, vividly remember their wedding day on March 20, 1964.

Before they went to a justice of the peace in Walnut Cove, they drove to R&P Barbecue restaurant on Old Hollow Road in northern Forsyth County to eat a hotdog for lunch.

Decades after the wedding, Louise Bray often recalled that trip to the restaurant, now known as 66 Diner, according to their daughter, Rosanna Bray Jarvis,

“Mom and I would drive by this place and she would say, ‘When I reach my 50th wedding anniversary, we are going to come back and celebrate,” Jarvis said.

So they did Thursday.

The Brays were joined by about 70 relatives and friends in celebrating their golden wedding ceremony at the restaurant at 1133 Old Hollow Road, just outside of Winston-Salem.

“This night is a dream come true for these folks,” Jarvis said, looking at her parents celebrating their 50 years together.

“I didn’t think it was going to last,” Louise Bray chimed in with a laugh.

Jarvis – dressed in a poodle skirt, saddle shoes and poodle socks for the occasion — then continued with the wedding story: “Dad said that the justice of the peace’s office wasn’t open yet, and they had some time to kill.”

Sam, who is 79, was 29 when he married Louise, who was 22 at the time. She is now 71.

Louise Bray said that their marriage has lasted for 50 years because she and Sam and are committed to each other.

“He doesn’t fuss or cuss,” she said. “I don’t, either.”

The couple opened their restaurant in Stokes County in December 1978. Their business has attracted customers from throughout the United States and the world. The menu features traditional Southern favorites like fried chicken, pinto beans and hoe-cakes, served family-style. After the meal, customers can enjoy live gospel, bluegrass and country music at no extra charge.

Their guests at 66 Diner were treated with hot dogs, cheeseburgers, French fries and sodas. Later, they ate a French vanilla pound that resembled a 1963½ Ford Galaxie Fastback, the car that they drove to the restaurant 50 years ago.

The Rev. David Fulp, the pastor of Good News Baptist Church in Madison, said in a prayer that God has blessed the Brays.

“We really want to celebrate what is means to be married for 50 years,” said Fulp, a schoolmate of Jarvis’ when they attended Gospel Light Christian School in Walkertown.

Charlotte Hawkins of Walnut Cove, one of Louise’s three sisters, said that couple’s marriage has endured the test of time.

“She’s awesome, and Sam is, too,” said Hawkins, who has worked at the couple’s restaurant for 36 years.

Clyde McAdams of Mayodan, who is married to Louise’s sister, Linda, said that his sister-in-law is a wonderful person.

“I couldn’t have a better sister- in-law or brother-in-law,” McAdams said.

Harvey Hawks, who plays an acoustic guitar and sings at the Hillbilly Hideaway, said that couple has a solid marriage.

“To make that long (50 years) is remarkable,” Hawks said.