Life in Motion: It started with a water balloon

Deborah and Ray Morrison in high school and more recently on their 33rd anniversary in 2021. They'll celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary this August. (photos submitted)

Each year, Clarkesville’s Mountain Laurel Festival conjures up memories of festivals past and the fun times shared with family and friends. For Deborah and Ray Morrison, the memories are a bit sweeter – it’s where their lifelong love story blossomed.

“Mountain Laurel Parade of 1979 was when it all started with a mischievous teenage boy ‘hitting’ a clueless teenage girl with a water balloon!” recounts Deborah.

“The rest is history,” she says.

Deborah Adams was just 13 years old at the time but says she always knew Ray Morrison was “the love of my life!”

A lot has changed since that Mountain Laurel parade 44 years ago.

Deborah and Ray dated throughout high school. They got married and raised two children. He went to work as a lineman for Habersham EMC. She went back to school as a math teacher.

Deborah Adams Morrison retired from Habersham Central High School at 31 years and now teaches just up the road at Tallulah Falls School.

Their children are grown, and they now have a grandson. They’ve known the loss of losing a parent and are entering that uneasy phase between being a child and becoming a caretaker.

A few other things have changed, too.

“One is a little more gray-headed, and the other is a little more ‘blond-headed,’ and both a ‘bit’ heavier,” Deborah laments.

Still, the love that was lit on that festival day in Clarkesville continues to grow and deepen.

“I love this man more today than the day we said ‘I do!'” she says. “I do not deserve him and will forever be grateful for God steering him my way with that water balloon on that Saturday in May of 1979!”

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