This is an opinion column.

My beautiful bride’s side of the family added a much-anticipated new member as 2021 drew to a close.

Mine and Malarie’s niece, Maddie Haven Erskine, delivered Greyson Sage Erskine on Dec. 30 at 11:26 a.m. Our handsome great nephew weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and was 18 inches long.

Maddie and her husband, John, live in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he’s stationed with the United States Air Force. Maddie is a Boaz High School graduate and former Pirate cheerleader who competed for them at Nationals.

Greyson just missed being born on Maddie’s birthday (Dec. 28) and the Allens’ anniversary (Dec. 29). Little man decided he didn’t want to share his special day with anyone else.

Greyson makes five living generations for the Tarvin side of Malarie’s clan. Jo Tarvin is the great-great grandmother, Ginger Tarvin Haven is the great-grandmother and Shawn Haven is the grandfather.

Ginger was the first of three daughters born to Jo and the late Gerald Tarvin. Shawn was the first grandchild and Maddie was the initial great-grandchild, so Greyson is just continuing the family tradition.

For sure, I believe Shawn and his wife, Frankie, are going to spoil Greyson and be sure he lacks for nothing. The baby’s excited uncle and aunt are Braxton and Ivy Haven. David Haven is the proud great-grandfather.

John is scheduled to be discharged from the Air Force later this year, and the Erskines are planning to return home to Alabama. We’re all eager for that to happen, because our arms can’t reach to Colorado and wrap around Greyson like we want them to.

Congratulations to Maddie and John. Our family is so happy for them and thankful for how God has blessed them with Greyson. 

“Gigi” celebrates milestone birthday

After celebrating Greyson’s arrival last week, we celebrated Jo “Gigi” Tarvin’s 75th birthday on Jan. 5. Hopefully, Gigi won’t shoot me for revealing her age, but I believe 75 birthdays are something to shout about.

Gigi has loved me and welcomed me in her home since the start of mine and Malarie’s relationship, and I love and appreciate her.

I’ve never seen her lose her cool, and she’s able to laugh at herself and make you laugh with her. She’s a terrific cook and hostess who knows how to feed and provide for a family.

Proverbs 31:30 reads, “Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised.” That verse describes Gigi, because her late parents, Sherman and Adell Trussell, raised her to fear and serve the Lord.

It’s my prayer the Lord blesses Gigi with many more happy and healthy birthdays.       

Shannon J. Allen is sports editor for The Reporter. He can be reached at

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