As published in The Savannah Morning News - 10 February 2013
When Cupid's Arrow Strikes...
This Valentine’s Day I wanted to share with you a special love story. There would be no story to tell if two friends had not made the choice to move to a retirement community. Who would have known that sparks could fly, when friendship seemed to be the only thing in the cards. But for Jon and Barbara Paull, it happened. This is their story…
Jon, 90 (and looking good!), was a widower when he moved from The Landings to the Marshes of Skidaway Island seven years ago. Barbara, (age undisclosed!), moved with her husband to the Marshes, where he could be treated at the Oaks for some health issues. They were all friends who knew each other from church and living in The Landings.
When Barbara’s husband passed away, she said finding another love was not even a consideration. Jon said he never had dinner with the same woman twice so no one would think he was scouting a new wife. She and Jon were just friends, but saw each other frequently around the Marshes.
One day, Barbara called Jon to ask if he would enjoy going to a party at the Jepson Museum, and to their surprise, things changed.
Barbara’s description of that evening was simply, “We had so much fun together, that was it!” When I asked if they both reached the same conclusion that night, they chimed in together, “Yes!” They fell in love, right then, right there.
So, how could this happen to two friends, just like that? They allowed themselves to have fun, talk and discover their commonalities. And, of course, the sparks flew.
Barbara and John share the kind of ties that bind. They both had the heartbreak of losing a life’s partner. They had three children each: Barbara with three sons; Jon had three daughters. They both experienced the unbearable pain of losing a child.
Their common interests drew them together: playing bridge, golf, attending the symphony, special events and travel. They help each other with crossword puzzles, but say their favorite time together is on Sunday, when they play golf for 25 cents a hole. She says he’s been good at paying her off! You go girl!
They dated for four months before tying the knot, and when asked why they married so quickly, Barbara claimed, “There was no point in wasting time at our ages!” I have to agree with that theory, and asked how their children felt about their marriage. Jon said they are very supportive, and they all get together as often as they can. The blended families get along well, with four children and thirteen grandchildren between them.
What do they love the most about each other? Without hesitation, Jon replied, “Barbara’s beauty, generosity, caring and thoughtfulness are my favorite things about her. But most of all, she keeps me young!” Barbara described Jon as a caring and thoughtful husband. They laughed often and easily with each other, and suggested that they had more superlatives to add. None needed, I thought, as they are so obviously in love, and truly enjoy each other’s company. What a treasure.
Jon and Barbara are an inspiration to all of us…love can happen anywhere, anytime, when you least expect it. They celebrated their fifth year anniversary on February 9. Happy Anniversary, Jon and Barbara! May you enjoy many more wonderful years together!
And, to all of you, I wish you love. I hope these stories will inspire you to move on with your life, and give yourself a chance to make new friends and meet new people…because love could be just a step away. Happy Valentine’s Day!