That question has plagued the recesses of my mind since Jeremiah and I have been married. Would you do it if we were dating? I’m not sure what happened to make me fear that I would change after we got married. My Dad never complained about this issue with my Mom, or vice versa. I think it must stem back to all the talks my Dad had with me when Jeremiah and I were engaged. “You know, Abby, you are much more of a type-A personality, and Jeremiah is more ‘Don’t worry be happy.’ Neither of you are too far in either direction, and I think you will compliment each other well. BUT, just be careful, because a lot of times in marriage, there is a tendency for Mr. Don’t Worry Be Happy to drive Mrs. Type-A to be more type-A. It can turn into a vicious cycle.”

In my mind, while I do freely admit to the type-A tendencies, I also love spontaneity. When Jeremiah would drive me home from dates, I used to say, “Instead of you driving me home, just take a right right here and let’s drive to the beach!” And one night, we did 🙂 I was very nervous on horses when we first started dating, but I pushed through and made myself do it because I wanted to be with him. I even nearly killed myself snow-skiing in -20 degree weather because I wanted to seem brave. So, I listened to Dad’s warning, but in my mind could never have imagined losing what, I hoped, was the fun side of myself that Jeremiah helped to bring to the surface.

Enter the Pine Lake Motel…What you see at the top of this blog is a picture of the hotel (actually I think MOtel would be a more proper term) that we stayed in last night. If you’ve ever made the trek from Montgomery to Dothan then I’m sure you’ve noticed it. While dating, Jeremiah and I must have made that trip 10,000 times and each time we’d laughingly comment about wishing we could stay there. What I just learned yesterday, was that our reasons for wanting to stay there varied greatly. In my mind: That’s one of the creepiest hotels I’ve ever seen. People definitely die there. But, if I were allowed to stay in a HOTEL with you, I would even be willing to stay there. In Jeremiah’s mind: That looks like a family operated motel, that’s pretty dumpy, but they really take pride in it and try to make it nice. Wouldn’t it be fun if we were allowed to stay in a hotel.

So yesterday, when we were discussing the logistics of how to transport 2 children, who HATE to ride in the car, from Birmingham to Montgomery so that we could meet his parents and pick up my car (my sister had a wreck in my car while I was home and it just got finished being fixed), Jeremiah suggested breaking up the trip by spending the night at the Pine Lake-like we’ve always dreamed! Oh horror…that nagging question crept into the back of my mind as I heard myself telling him that, “No, I do not want to stay at that scary motel with our two small children. Not to mention the packing, the money,…” I stopped, as I remembered myself at 20, longing to be able to stay, even in the Pine Lake, if I could stay with him. I conceded.

It turns out that the Pine Lake isn’t nearly as frightening on close inspection as its dingy neon sign would have you to believe from the road. I’m not saying that I ever took my socks off when I walked around, or that I didn’t refuse to cover myself with the comforter (that I hear hotels never wash), or that the bathroom wasn’t straight out of 1975, but I went and we laughed about it and it really was fun (and much cleaner than I expected). The night man didn’t look anything like Norman Bates, and Pace told us this morning that she didn’t want to go back to Birmingham, she wanted to STAY at the Pine Lake.

(Good thing they put a lovely, white, plastic chair outside of each room! I know that I woke up this morning yearning to sit there, coffee in hand, and admire the parking lot and Hwy 231.)

18 Responses to “Would You Do It if We Were Dating?”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I laughed out loud when I read your blog about the Pine Lake Motel. I have ALWAYS (sort of) wanted to stay there too. I was actually on a date with an old friend coming home late from an Auburn game, we had stopped to visit some friends in Montgomery and I was soooo tired. When I saw the Pine Lake Motel brightly lit sign, I told him to please lets turn around and go back and get a room. Well of course he thought I was crazy…….(I am at times) especially when I am exhausted! Nevertheless, he didn’t stop, but every time I pass by there I give my friend a call and we get a good laugh out of it. Abby, I love reading your posts and looking at pictures of your beautiful little girls. Your family is always in my prayers.

    Love you!
    Ms. Donna Lewis

  2. Darby Stickler says:

    Hilarious! Ok, so I have never wanted to actually stay there but I have always wanted to see the rooms. I can tell, while it is very dated, that the owners take great pride in their motel. It’s probably the nicest motel of its kind. And although it looks like it is straight from the 60’s or 70’s, the maintence crew does a nice job of always making it enticing to passer-bys.I love their neon sign and have always imagined the parking lot filled with 1960s and 1970s model cars and each room filled with families in route to the beach. It is one of those motels that you see in old postcards… I bet they used to have postcards!? Did you see any in the lobby? And how much was it a night? And I never have noticed a lake near by, is Pine Lake behind the motel? I need more info!! So glad you’ve stopped and I’m very proud of you… I can’t say that I’d be brave enough to have taken my shoes off… and I hope you had Jeremiah turn back that comforter for you!!!!

  3. Lindsay says:

    As long as it wasn’t that Candlelight Motel in Ozark! That’s the really scary one 🙂 You are too funny. Love you!


  4. meredith says:

    That was too funny! I have always wanted to shoot a horror movie at that motel. The plot would be something like…college kids heading to the beach, car breaks down. There’s a garage up ahead and the Pine Lake Motel. Scary! But I am glad it was a nice experience for the Maddox family. What interesting and exciting adventures we have when we are dating and even after we get married! Hope y’all are doing well!


  5. Anonymous says:

    Great story Abby!
    I bet Pace will remember the paper bath mats. (I’m assuming there were some)! Also, was there a paper tape across the toilet seat? (that shows it’s been sanitized) and how you have to unwrap the toilet paper?
    Did the bed have a little box beside it that you put a quarter in to make it vibrate? I’ve decided I will give up my next trip to the Ritz Carlton and just head down to the Pine Lake Motel! Great story…you are blessed with such an imagination! And more than that, a sense of adventure and spontaneity, and the ability to just let it out. I just love that about you! :))) You know, Abby, I always thought you were more like your dad, After the past month I have to say I see more of your mom in you. Don’t get me wrong, you’re like your dad just in a different way. Your personality, your love for life, your passion. and the way you explain your passions in detail are so much like your mom used to. I’ll never forget walking on the playground with your mom about age 12. We had just finish Cheerleading practice and she had a piece of juicy fruit gum. Well your mischevious mom convinced me that I needed to fold the silver wrapper up in a neat little rectangle and bite on it in the back of my mouth “do it she said! it feels so good!” Well, to you and your readers – don’t – if you have fillings in you mouth. You will get a shock treatment that I still at age 48 remember! We were always pulling little pranks on each other like that! Anyway, You get right in there and dig deeper than just the service with your writing. You cut through the top soil to get to the fertile stuff to plant the seed!. And then you allow that seed to grow so that the reader can follow it’s path, all along visualizing the beauty of that flower!.. Probably a crazy analogy ( It is 4:20 am!) (couldn’t sleep!) Just say the word and I’ll get busy on my part. (you know what I mean!)
    I love you girly!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I love reading you blogs. I look forward to them. Last night I was listening to the radio and a song came on that I had never heard and it blew me away. I turned the radio up and just let God speak to me through the song. By the end I was in tears because throughout the whole song I thought about your mom and you and your family. I looked up the song today and it is by Natalie Grant. It is called In Better Hands. You can listen to the whole song on Natalie Grant’s Myspace page

  7. Lauren says:

    That is hilarious!!! I so know what motel you are talking about and it gives me the creeps also. I think it is so funny you actually stayed there, but glad to know that is not what we had invisioned. I love reading your blog and seeing the pictures of your girls. They are adorable!
    Love you!
    Lauren Jernigan

  8. Anonymous says:

    Dear Abby….Enjoy the ride! Life is fun and you’re living it. You won’t have any regrets! I can just see all this going on through your eyes! I was thrilled to see you had posted something new. Now…I await for the next! Have fun and live, live, live. You’re the best!

  9. s.hardwick says:

    I think back to giving this little girl a stuffed dalmation puppy and realizing how she has turned into a creative, intelligent and beautiful christian woman. I keep in my wallet a picture of your Dad and Mom at the 1975 Dothan High Homecoming and think of all the great times we shared together. By the way your Dad tought me to appreciate songs of Jim Croce which you may be to young to reconize the name, so check him out. Your Dad has always been the Beacon in my Life that has guided me when I found myself straying off the right path. You have so much to be proud of and there are so many who are proud of you. You are a Living Legacy of a Great Lady and Mom.

  10. Anonymous says:


    I have often wondered “Who would actually stay in that motel?” Now I know…you. Makes me laugh!!!!!

    Praying for you!
    Katie B

  11. Stephen, Natalie and Bennett says:

    hey abby!! liz estess just gave me the address to your blog, and I have just laughed and cried while reading your posts. its amazing all that has happened since i last saw/talked to you! congrats on your beautiful family and love and prayers FOR your beautiful family and your mother. hopefully we can keep in touch, even if it is over the posts of blog land! take care
    Natalie Setzler Roe

  12. Mary Grace says:

    Hilarious, Abby!
    I passed an old motel – similar to Pine Lake – the other day in MS (imagine that) and thought about your dear ol’ hotel. I couldn’t remember the name but remembered, very well I might add, how it looked and you telling me on the way to the beach that one day you and J were going to stay there!

    Thanks for making me laugh and the end of a VERY long day!


  13. Jessica Coblentz says:

    I, too, laughed out loud when I read this blog. I grew up, (and still am) scared to death of the Pine Lake Motel! I can’t believe ya’ll stayed there. I must say I have never known anyone to have stayed there. You are the first! COngratulations! Love you! JEss

  14. Pine Lake Motel Baby says:

    please vist I know there was no harm ment by any of the blog or the comments posted about the Pine Lake Motel it just inspired me to let people know a little more about it so please know that I am not lashing out in my blog but it is a sensative subject for me and I thought you might like to know some detail about that “creepy” motel. Thank you!!!

  15. TheLastWord says:

    This is a great story. I have always wondered if there was some random ice bin off on the side of the motel. My mom informed me of your blog. I like it! You and Jeremiah are truly blessed and have a beautiful family.

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Affordable accommodations for the hard working blue collar types can no doubt be found at the Pine lake motel. Hey I have stayed at the fancy five story hotel across the campus of Auburn University and seen some passed out young man in the hall of our floor. go figure. This country needs entrepreneurs and family owned business enterprises. I know you have apologized to these fine folks and that was the proper thing to do . we all don't have 12 euros to spend on tea.

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