“It’s better to avoid talking about how we met,” Jim said with a laugh.
He tiptoed around the specifics of their courtship, and when Nancy said they met after she took at a job at Jim’s landscaping company, he called her a “liar.” They would only agree that a “mutual friend” introduced them.
They talked easily about their children and their creative ventures in the film industry, music, jewelry design, and photography. But the information about their love life had been preemptively whittled down to a few facts: after five years of dating, they married at Harwelden Mansion in 1985, with the Arkansas in full flood. Nancy, the divorcee and mother of two, married the once-Catholic Jim, despite severe enmity from family and friends.
“His family was Catholic and against divorce. And I thought, ‘is this what we’re supposed to do?’” Nancy recalled. “He was dating a few other people–and me. But I realized more and more that I couldn’t let him marry someone else and live with these feelings I had.”
She described the wedding as a “very ethereal night” with the severe wind and excess water keeping many of the guests away. But for the couple, “the ones of significance were there,” and those opposing the union weren’t enough to dissuade them.
“There could have been picketing at the wedding,” Jim said quietly. “Or someone could have stood up during the ‘just cause’ part of the ceremony, but none of that happened—thankfully.”
Following the wedding, and a brief honeymoon in Eureka Springs, Jim and Nancy anxiously returned to Tulsa and to their children. They wanted to settle into life as a family as quickly as they could.
“My kids loved Jim,” Nancy said. “My son would go to his friends’ houses and ask them where ‘their Jim’ was.”
The Edwards clan grew closer and larger over time. Eventually, the couple welcomed a third and then a fourth child to their family.
“The most important thing I ever accomplished was being a dad,” stated Jim. “Of course, everyone says that, but I mean it.”