Bouncing from one social activity to another, residents Bob McGaffin, 80, and Emily Castrodale, 81, kept running into each other during their years at Springmoor.
Both have attractive qualities: Her energy and positive attitude and his charisma and humor. And McGaffin readily admitted they were casting signals at each other at the life care retirement community in North Raleigh.
But obviously neither of us read them right, he said, laughing.
Then, one day in February, they shared a bus ride to the symphony in downtown Raleigh.
She had a big smile, and I had an empty seat, he said.
After a lively conversation, McGaffin asked Castrodale out on an official date. It wasnt the most romantic movie. But both love animals, and an afternoons showing of War Horse, followed by a Mexican dinner, created all the reason they needed to start holding hands.
During the course of a week, they knew where the relationship was leading, but McGaffin had one hesitation. He wasnt sure if she wanted an engagement ring. A few days later near an Ace Hardware, he had the idea to make her one.
Forty-nine cents later he was walking out with a two-inch long piece of plastic pipe coupling. He cut it into thirds, kidding her later that he had spares, and printed the message, I love you. Will you marry me? on it.
The naturally exuberant Castrodale howled with laughter when she opened the box. It was the kind of humor both appreciated.
I was overjoyed and ready to say yes, she said.
They wanted to get married right away but delayed the service so their families could be in town to celebrate. And they will, today. Afterward the couple will head to Myrtle Beach for the week and then will start the process of moving her belongings into his house.
Neither admitted to being nervous as they worked a few hours Friday at the convenience store at Springmoor, where McGaffin is boss and Castrodale a volunteer.
Weve been around long enough to know when its right, its right, she said, as McGaffin flashed a smile her way. Life is great.