In celebration of Valentine’s Day, four local couples have shared their stories of how they met. One of the best is from Vinton Town Councilman Mike Stovall who describes that when he and his wife Patsy met, it was practically love at first sight— for him.
Mike Stovall says, “My journey with Patsy began about 34 years ago. I first met Patsy when we were on the scene of an accident on the Parkway sometime back in 1985. Patsy was a flight nurse for Lifeguard 10 and I was a police officer with the Vinton Police Department. Once I saw her on the Parkway, I remembered how ‘hot’ she looked in the flight uniform and I was not steady-dating anyone at the time. The next thing I knew, she vanished in the night.
“What did I do next? This is the best part. I contacted my best friend Monty Williams, who at the time was an ER-Tech at Roanoke Memorial. I wanted him to see if he could find out which flight nurse I was talking about. At the time when Patsy first started as a flight nurse, they pulled double duty. They would go to work in the ER at Roanoke Memorial and then if there was a Lifeguard 10 call, they would leave the ER and go on a flight.
“Remember, back in those days, we did not have cell phones. So, I remember leaving my best friend a message to see if he could assist me locating who that flight nurse was.
“Well, during the time before he went back to work, there was a large spree of break-ins in the Town of Vinton. We had an idea who the suspects were, so we wanted to see if we could run a road check on Cleveland Avenue one morning and see if they would come through the road check possibly with some of the stolen items in their car.
“During the road check, Patsy at the time lived on Stacie Drive with her son, Chris Eddy. She decided on the morning of the road check that she would take Chris to McDonald’s, and then take him on to school. He attended Herman L. Horn. When she left McDonald’s, she decided to come down Cleveland and cut across to H.L.H.
“I was helping to run the road check when I looked up and said to myself, ‘Here comes the flight nurse from Lifeguard.’ She pulled up; I identified myself; and she stated to me with a blank look on her face, ‘Officer, I do not have my license.’
“Well, you need to pull over so I can check your license,” he told her. “At the time there were no license numbers like today– we ran Social Security numbers. Boom– I found that day who she was and where she lived.
“When did we have our first personal interaction? There used to be a restaurant on 419 called Mac & Maggie’s and the hospital employees used to go there after work for drinks,” his story continues.
“So, Monty set up a meet and greet. We exchanged numbers and she invited me to her house for our first date. She served iced tea and hard tacos. Halfway through the meal, I had drunk only a little bit of the tea and I had eaten only a small part of the tacos and she said to me, ‘You don’t like iced tea, do you?’ I said, ‘No and I also don’t like hard tacos; however, I am not here for the food.’”
“We have been married going on 31 years and we have three children: Chris, Page, and Patrick, and one grandchild Hunter” is how he sums it up.
Beth Abbott of Elwood Staffing explains her first encounter with her future husband, Todd.
“When I was 15, a boy called me,” Beth says. “He said it was Todd. That year, I had three boys in my class named Todd. I guessed wrong twice before I finally asked his last name. Todd Abbott had just transferred to my school from the local private school. We have been talking ever since! By the way, we were engaged on Valentine’s Day 1989.”
Vinton Planning and Zoning Coordinator and Webmaster Julie Tucei met her future husband Brian on a blind date.
“My husband Brian and I were setup on a blind date by a friend I used to work with a few years prior to working for the town, and Brian’s mom and sister who were working at the time with my friend,” explains Tucei. “We went out to eat for a quick dinner at Famous Anthony’s in Crystal Springs and then saw a movie at the Tanglewood Theater. I had no idea what he even looked like before I saw him that first time when we met at the theater to purchase tickets before going to dinner. I would say, 17.5 years of marriage later, it was a successful blind date!”
Star City Playhouse owners Karon Sue Semones Ferguson, and her husband Marlow were lucky to have found each other as well, across a pretty good distance.
“When I was studying at Hollins University, I got an internship with the Muppets show. I was looking for a space in New York City and came across Marlow’s apartment building at 55 Spring Street (you can see the building on Rent.com). We got to talking and talking, and writing and writing, for almost a whole year before he actually came down and we went on our first date. Very romantic way to fall in love… with words.
“When we married and I moved to Manhattan, I told him I didn’t know if I could live without my Blue Ridge Mountains,” Karon says. “He had taken a picture of the mountains on one of his visits and had an artist paint a four-story-high mural of the mountains on his back courtyard wall, so I had the Blue Ridge Mountains in Manhattan.”
Now that’s romantic.