A religious man, Vonell Davis Sr. always believed God would send him a woman to share his life.
But by the time he was 34, Vonell's faith was beginning to waver. He had some failed relationships behind him, and he was spending weekend nights going out with the guys or staying home alone watching "Superman" on television.
"And even Superman had Lois Lane," Vonell quips.
Finally, he figured out what he was doing wrong. "You've got to be specific when you ask God for your better half," Vonell says with a smile. "You just ask for a woman and he'll send you a woman. She might have a gambling problem or a drug problem or a bad attitude.
"You gotta say you want a Christ-centered woman who'll stand by you and be there for you."
About the time Vonell made his prayers more specific, he became reacquainted with Kelly Roberts. Kelly, 32, and Vonell, 36, grew up a block apart on Guilford Avenue in Northeast Baltimore. Their families knew each other and they had many of the same friends.
But after Kelly left the neighborhood for college and a career, she and Vonell lost touch. Kelly earned her bachelor's degree in psychology at Coppin State College and her master's in counseling at Towson University. She is a therapist for the North Baltimore Center, a community mental-health clinic.
In the summer of 1996, when her godmother became ill, Kelly moved back to Guilford Avenue to help care for her. Vonell often stopped to chat as he passed by.
But either God didn't make it easy on Vonell or Kelly wasn't listening to the Father, the couple says. As soon as she figured out Vonell might be interested in her, Kelly began avoiding him. When she couldn't dodge him, she gave him the wrong phone number or promised to call him and never did. She says she wasn't interested in having a relationship with a guy she'd known all her life.
One night, as Kelly came home from work, Vonell "jumped" in front of her car, blocking her way down the street and asked her out. After a few dates, Kelly realized Vonell wasn't just some guy from the neighborhood she could brush off.
"He doesn't smoke and he doesn't drink," she says, her hand clasping his as they sit on the couch in the living room of the Northeast Baltimore home they now share as husband and wife.
"He works every day and he takes care of his son. He's a very good father. And he is so humorous," she says, giggling at the thought. "I could be mad at him and I'll have to turn my face to keep him from seeing me laughing because he's so funny."
While they were dating, when Vonell could get a Sunday off from his responsibilities as assistant manager of the meat department at the Seven Mile Market, he and Kelly often went to church. As he sat and listened to the sermons "about doing the right thing and living the right way," Vonell came to a realization about Kelly.
"I felt if she could be my girlfriend, she could be my wife," he says simply. And so in January of this year - without much fanfare - Vonell asked Kelly to marry him.
On June 13, the couple were wed at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Baltimore as 300 guests looked on. Vonell's mother, Clara Davis, came from her home in Warrenton, N.C. And Kelly's mother, Alberta Roberts, who still lives on Guilford Avenue, offered her blessing. Vonell's son from a previous relationship, Vonell Davis Jr., 6, was the ring bearer.
And as he said his vows, Vonell thanked God for answering his prayers and sending him what he believes is difficult to find today: an "easy-minded woman you can depend on who wants to serve God and live right."
Pub Date: 6/21/98