Local residents will be courting their loved ones with everything from dinner and dancing to gifts that include fresh flowers, chocolates, heart-shaped cookies, jewelry, as well as romantic cards and letters.
Several local residents, however, were more than happy to share some of their fondest memories about how they met, fell in love and the poetry that touched their hearts.
Ernest and Linda Lundy of Cleveland are one fun-loving pair. Ernest, who retired from Duracell last year, and Linda Lundy, director of Welcome Friends in Cleveland, said they are as happy today as the day they first met in 1962.
“We were at a sock hop after a basketball game at Rural Retreat High School in Rural Retreat, Va.,” Ernest recalls. “I looked across the room and saw the prettiest little girl I’d ever seen. We were both 13 at the time and started dating. We got engaged at age 16 and we married at age 18. This April will be 45 years.”
The close-knit couple moved to Cleveland in 1979.
Melissa and Wes Snyder, one of Cleveland’s best known couples, have been together for more than 20 years. Melissa, director of community relations at The Salvation Army in Cleveland, said, “Contrary to what many may believe, it wasn’t the law enforcement uniform that made me fall in love with Wes. It was many things, but probably the first that made me get those warm and fuzzy feelings was when he agreed to pull my horse trailer and horse to my barrel racing competitions — even staying to watch me compete.
“Traveling to horse shows — some long distances — can be exhausting. The equipment, preparation and the loading and unloading of horses isn’t something everyone is cut out for. When Wes took interest in something I loved, it meant so much to me.
“Soon after this, I wanted to share much more than just my hobby with him. I wanted to share everything else, including his last name. After five months of dating, he asked me to marry him. We planned the wedding around barrel racing 20 years ago.”
Jim and Marilyn Workman grew up in the same small West Tennessee community. They both attended Salem United Methodist Church, where they were in preschool Sunday School Class together.
The couple said there is not a time they don’t remember knowing each other. They attended church youth meetings and gatherings and started dating when they were in high school. In June, they will celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.
Marilyn said, “I love Jim’s selflessness — how he always thinks of others before himself. I also love his sense of humor — how he can make me laugh.
Jim said, “I love Marilyn’s pleasant personality. She is always positive, but most of all I love that I have been married to my best friend for 40 years!”
Former Secret Service agent Louis Mason and his wife, Glenda, attended the National Church of God together in Fort Washington, Maryland, before marrying and moving to Cleveland. The couple attributes “Divine intervention” to their union of 19 years.
“Louis was already in that church and I had been there for two years,” Glenda recalled. “I saw him. I thought he was a handsome guy — a really nice guy — but I had no romantic interest in him whatsoever. It was the same with him. He had no romantic interest in me. We were just choir mates, seeing each other every week.”
“I wasn’t looking,” Louis added.
“One day it was like God decided to drop something out of heaven in both of our hearts. I just can’t explain it,” Glenda said.
“It happened to us right about the same time,” Louis said.
“A mutual friend of ours said to me, ‘Brother Mason was asking about you today. He said you seem like a nice young lady!’ I said, really?”
Glenda said from that day forward she could not get Louis out of her mind. Louis said he was the same way. Although he admits he became as shy as a 16 year old in her presence, Louis got up the nerves to ask Glenda for a date.
“He invited me to his house for dinner,” Glenda said, smiling. “He had the fireplace roaring and he fixed me dinner. I remember the first kiss. His lips were so nice and soft. It was a good kiss!”
Mason said the kiss was so nice he got seconds and thirds.
“It was like a fairy-tale,” Glenda admits. “It was like God had dropped something into both of our hearts and we had this connection. We still do.”
Cleveland’s Anthony and Marjorie Daniell said they fell in love at Berry College, located in Northwest Georgia.
“It was love at first conversation!” Anthony admits. “We talked for four hours one day in the student center and I knew that Marjorie was the one. I liked her adventurous and bubbly spirit. She said that I was genuine and smart. We were engaged in 3 months and married 3 months after that. We have been married for nine years and are still best friends.”
Stephen and Carissa Sapp of Cleveland can still recall their first date, first kiss and the things that make their marriage special each and every day.
Carissa said, “Six years ago, Stephen asked me out on a date. We went to the Market Street Bridge in Chattanooga on a beautiful fall afternoon. We walked to Ben and Jerry’s to get ice cream and sat on the river bank below the Aquarium.
“Most of the evening we simply enjoyed each other’s company and conversation, which seemed to flow effortlessly from topic to topic. After a while we decided to go to a restaurant for dinner. Stephen suggested we go to The Acropolis, which just happened to be my favorite restaurant.
“After dinner, Stephen said that he would like to go out again sometime. I didn’t hesitate to say yes. To this day we love to go back to ‘our spot’ on the river bank where we had our first date. It was during our third date — and I wondered if we would kiss.
“Stephen told me later that he wanted our first kiss to be really special because he had a feeling it would be his last first kiss. We were watching a movie, and he leaned over and kissed me. It was a good kiss.”
Stephen said, “I like that Carissa is trustworthy and thoughtful. She’s passionate about the things she believes in — but doesn’t let her emotions get the best of her. She’s very classy, too. I love her sense of style. She has an open and deep relationship with Jesus.
“I like that we agree on all the important stuff, but we are different enough to keep things interesting. I like that she makes me a better person. I like that she’ll listen to me even when she doesn’t care what I’m talking about. I think she’s very beautiful.
Carissa added, “I love that we share the same faith and priorities. He balances me. He has a great sense of humor and is very romantic and thoughtful. He freely shares what he is thinking and feeling. He tells me often how much he loves me.
“Now that we have children, I love him for so many other reasons. He is a wonderful father. He works so hard to provide for our family, yet returns home ready to focus on our babies.”
Each couple shared a poem they selected to celebrate romance and their special love.