Longtime friends crowned king, queen

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 13, 2003

Hoytte Price and Betty Sue McLeod were crowned Valentine King and Queen at the annual Valentine Luncheon at the Lillian Green Nutrition Center Thursday.

The coronation ceremony was delayed slightly to because the unsuspecting "king" was delivering meals to shut-ins.

Hassie Green, laughing told the gathering, "I've staled as long as I can," but then broke into a smile as the nutrition center van pulled into the parking lot.

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When Price was announced as Valentine King, Green said, "Now, everyone knows why I was stalling."

Price and McLeod are a very special Valentine King and Queen. Unlike some past kings and queens who were married to each other or sweethearts, the two are longtime friends.

To say they are "just" friends would not be a fair assessment of their relationship.

"Betty Sue and I have been friends for many years," Price said. "She and her husband were friends our friends - mine and my wife's. After I lost my wife in 1989, the three of us stayed friends. When Betty Sue lost her husband several years ago, we stayed friends and we're still good friends."

Both "good" friends were surprised to be elected king and queen by their peers at the center.

"I was trying to get everybody to vote for someone else," McLeod said, laughing, but I'm real happy they voted for me - and for Hoytte. He'll be a good king."

Price has been active at the nutrition center for 10 years.

"A friend asked me to come because they needed me," he said. "If I was needed, I wanted to come. I did and I've been here ever since. I enjoy every day I'm here and I love all of these people. This is a wonderful place."

McLeod has been active at the center even longer than Price.

"I started coming when I was 60 years old and now I'm 76," she said. "Coming here is good for me because I have so many friends here and it keeps me from being by myself. The best thing is having friends and somebody to talk to."

McLeod spoke with tears in her eyes.

"I cry when I'm happy and I real happy to day," she said.

The king and queen both have fond memories of the special Valentines in their lives.

Although, Price said he can't remember how he said, "Be Mine" to his wife on the day for lovers, he's sure he did.

"Probably, candy," he said. "She was a very special person and she was my Valentine. I miss her a lot. She was a good mother to our three children and a good wife to me. We worked hard and had a good life together.'

McLeod and her husband also had a good life together, 53 years.

"Valentine's Day was always special," she said. "My husband would bring me candy and flowers and, sometimes, a pretty dress I wanted. When he brought me those things, I always cried because I was so happy. And, I'm happy today."