Kaiser’s wife, Isabelle, has kept a Hallmark calendar to track important dates and events since before the couple met. The couple met on the day in October that the calendar designated as the “Sweetest Day.” When Kaiser proposed, she said she wanted to get married on the “Sweetest Day.”
Since then, the couple has had many sweet days, he says. The Kaisers named their home in Kensington Sweetest Day Farm to reflect their bliss, and the farm enables him to indulge his passion for Belgian draft horses.
“Sometimes when I think of all I have, I want to say ‘wow,’” he said.
“All I wanted all my life was a family, horse and kids,” he said. “I got the girl of my dreams, and I’ve got the best kids in the world.”
Kaiser grew up in Fort Oglethorpe. He has four older sisters and three older brothers, he said.
Although the family struggled financially, he never went hungry, he said.
In 1974 he moved to Atlanta, where he was a sales representative. His wife was nursing supervisor at a hospital in Smyrna.
By 1988, “we decided to get out of the rat race and move back to the country,” he said.
As the couple drove up the highway to visit his family in the area, they spotted a farm for sale in the Mountain Cove area and had the owner show them the property. The Kaisers thought the farm would be such a nice place to live that the seller turned cash offers on the farm, waiting until the couple could sell their Atlanta abode, he said.
Their pace of life picked up after moving to the country after the births of their children Bonnie, a ninth-grader at Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School, and Nathan, a seventh-grader at Lakeview Middle School. His wife is a registered nurse at Hutcheson Medical Center in Fort Oglethorpe.
Favorite fiction book: “Lonesome Dove” by Larry McMurtry
Favorite movie: “Hidalgo”
Favorite actor: Robert Duvall
Favorite music: Contemporary gospel
Pets: Two dogs, two cows and 12 horses
Motto: “Say what you mean, and mean what you say.”
He piddled with upholstery part-time until he tackled some couches and other furniture for his friend, Ross Lane, at Lane Funeral Home. By word-of-mouth, his part-time work became a fulltime second career, he said.
He opened R&I Upholstery in 1991 on Cross Street in Fort Oglethorpe.
He met Lane through their common interest in Belgian draft horses, he said. Kaiser has some antique wagons and horse-drawn wagons formerly owned by Lane.
“I have to have a horse no matter what,” he said.
He also raises quarterhorses and paint horses.
Kaiser has donated two quarterhorses for drawings to raise funds for Lakeview athletic programs because his daughter plays basketball and volleyball, and his son runs cross country.
He also shoes his own horses and shoes horses for neighbors without charge as a gesture of friendship, he said. Kaiser learned by watching Amish farriers shoe horses and querying them about their craft.
He had been a rodeo rider in his 20s with J.W. Waters Rodeo in Tucson, Ariz., but moved back east because he missed home, he said.
Friends tease him that he is the “mayor of Kensington” because he has never met a stranger, remembers names and faces, and is constantly talking with neighbors about news affecting the community, he said.
He also helps friends and neighbors when they have a problem, he said.
“My wife says I have a problem that I can’t say no,” he said.
He has forged lifelong friendships with some people because of his willingness to seek help when he needs it and his commitment to fulfill obligations.
When he started upholstering furniture, he could not fit and stretch the fabric for a particular chair back. He heard about a Chickamauga upholstery whiz, O.D. Peeler, and went to see him.
“I swallowed my pride and asked another upholsterer, and he turned out to be a friend for life,” Kaiser said.
The older Peeler taught Kaiser some of his techniques, and Kaiser helped the elderly man pick up and drop off heavy furniture.
Kaiser was a pallbearer for Peeler and his wife. He said he was honored because of the occasions’ solemnity.
The Kaisers attend Chattanooga Valley Church of the Nazarene, where he serves on the board, he said.
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