Our Dozen Reasons Why...How Unimaginable Losses Led to Love at The City

Last Updated:June 03, 2024
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Our Dozen Reasons Why...How Unimaginable Losses Led to Love at The City Our Dozen Reasons Why...How Unimaginable Losses Led to Love at The City
Heart & Soul

Some stories are already written.

Life may take cruel turns, but sometimes, those unfair detours lead to places too perfect to consider coincidence. Caleb and Tamara Wheat still marvel at the day they met—how the stars lined up just right on a day neither of them really wanted to be at Silver Dollar City.

Both lost their spouses to cancer about a year prior. Caleb’s late wife Sara passed away after a year-long battle with aggressive breast cancer just one month before Tamara’s late husband Arami lost a marathon, four-year fight with colon cancer.

Two separate families.
Two separate fights.
Two strangers who would meet and become a family of 14 on a day trip last August that almost didn’t happen.

Tamara & Boys Tamara & Boys
Caleb & His Boys Caleb & His Boys

“Man, it was hot! Like 101 degrees and humid, hot!” Tamara laughs. “We each had a million reasons not to go to Silver Dollar City that day. We were both exhausted, single parents. And did I mention it was hot? But, our friends were visiting and I couldn’t let them return to California without experiencing Silver Dollar City, so we loaded up, blasted the AC, and hit the road.”

Those same hesitations were happening at Caleb’s house. He had moved with his seven sons to Branson just the day before. And although he was tired from the move, he wanted those boys to have an amazing first day in Branson.

“It was so hot and there were diapers to change and lunches to pack,” he smiles. “So many reasons not to go. But the boys had been dealing with a lot since their mama passed, and I wanted us to have a fun day together!”

Tamara headed north from Arkansas with her four sons and friends. Caleb loaded up his seven sons and headed to the park. And neither of them knew how a little old man on a scooter would help write their story just a few hours later.

“Every time I’m at Silver Dollar City, an older man will come over to talk to me while I wait for my boys at Tom and Huck’s River Blast,” Tamara explains. “It’s always a different old man, but I always get a visit and great conversation. Always!”

On what Tamara calls “the hottest day ever,” she was waiting with her friend at the ride when she knew what would happen next.

“I told my friend to just watch because a little old man would surely be coming up to talk to us at any minute,” Tamara laughs.

And—sure enough—here he came.

Denis Denis
Caleb & Tamara Caleb & Tamara

“A sweet old man named Denis strolled along on his electric scooter right in front of my friend Alissa and I, and struck up a conversation,” she smiles. “We talked for a while. I told him my story, and he told me all about a man named Caleb, who he insisted I should marry! I laughed it off nervously, and that’s when I turned and saw a guy getting off the Tom and Huck ride with a bunch of kids, walking our way. Denis yelled over, ‘Caleb, come meet Tamara!’ You can imagine my nerves!”

Denis and Kay, Caleb’s long-time friends, had traveled to The City to meet up with Caleb that day, and to help watch the seven boys. Caleb’s clothes were drenched from the ride and from being squirted by the water cannons on land —oddly enough—by Tamara’s sons!

Caleb joined the group hesitantly and sat down on the ledge. He knew Denis was up to something, but hadn’t pieced it all together. But surely enough, they spent the next three hours sitting at Tom and Huck’s Adventure talking.

“Our stories were so parallel,” Tamara says. “We were in awe that we understood each other so deeply, so instantly.”

Their connection was so instant that they made sure to connect on social media before parting ways, and Caleb even sent Tamara a message from the parking lot before leaving The City.

“We just didn’t want the conversation to end,” he smiles. “We talked every day that next week for hours and hours, and all about the most important things,” Caleb says. “In two weeks, we and our boys all knew this was meant to be!”

Caleb and Tamara were married five weeks after that encounter at Silver Dollar City. They recently celebrated their 8-month anniversary and will soon have a full dozen, with a little girl coming in August!

“The pain we have walked through makes this all even sweeter,” Caleb says. “We know now that God was preparing us for the good that would come from our darkest days.”

Tamara says there’s no handbook on how to handle the loss of parents and spouses but the new family unit is learning together.

“We both had good marriages for 15 plus years. We had good families,” she says. “That’s not lost on us. We’re not celebrating those losses, but we do celebrate the new hope that came to our hearts because of those losses.”

The eleven sons, ages 2-15, are now brothers with a special bond.

“The boys are in heaven! They’ve adjusted so well and are loving life with all of these brothers!” Tamara says. “I didn’t give birth to all eleven of them, but man, I sure love them like I did! I can’t wait to watch them with a little sister!”

It truly is awe-inspiring to think about how this all unfolded. How this all lined up. How this all worked out. How two families who went through months and years of hopelessness found hope on a bench…at their favorite theme park.

“It really was already written,” Caleb smiles. “What if I would have gone left off the tram instead of right? What if I took the boys to ride something else first? What if we decided not to go that day? So many ways this could have gone! Instead, though, everything lined up with perfect timing. This has all been part of a perfect plan all along, and when God is in the details, He does it right. As a soon-to-be family of 14, we are so busy but so blessed!”

“Needless to say, Silver Dollar City is our family’s special place,” Tamara says. “Now every trip there is not only a fun day of adventure, but a reminder of how God is always orchestrating each and every step we take and turn we make! We couldn’t be more grateful.”

You can follow the Wheat family's adventures at “Doin’ It With A Dozen” on their YouTube Channel and on Facebook!

Picture of Brandei Clifton

Meet Brandei Clifton

As Public Relations Manager for the Silver Dollar City Company, she is eager to tap into her journalism background to hunt down “heart tugs” to write about—those stories that celebrate…

Full Bio


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