Love in the Valley: “How I Met my Other,” Finalists!

Update: Voting is now Closed. Thank you!

Wow! Who knew we were brimming with such lovely love stories here in the Snoqualmie Valley? Since our contest started last Saturday, we received 23 submissions!

I’m so glad. I was a little worried I’d throw a contest, and no one would show. Then again if you have good prizes, they will come. And boy, do we have good prizes. First place wins the first choice, and the runner-up will get the other, equally as a wonderful prize.

First, there is a $100 gift card from Infusion Bar & Grill! Located at 7725 Center Blvd. SE on Snoqualmie Ridge, Infusion is an American grill featuring a fresh and hand-selected menu, which is sure to keep you coming back for more. 

If you’re not a big foodie, you can choose a $150 gift card from Erika Laureano Design. Located at 107 Main Ave N in Downtown North Bend, Erika Laureano creates unique, one of a kind, organic, sophisticated jewelry designs right here in the Valley! 

But enough with the details, let’s get to those five finalists and their wonderful tales of love. Don’t forget to read how to vote at the end of the story.

[*Note: Names and pictures are being omitted until the winners are announced]

Photo by Mayur Gala on Unsplash

Enjoy!

#1- Everything happens for a reason  

I was SO TIRED of people telling me this to make me feel better.  I was a divorced mom of 4 little boys under 6, including a 6-month-old baby. I had bravely ventured back into dating and was on Match.com but was so burned out on it that I was ready to give it a break – it was more draining than I had expected and while I had met a couple of nice guys, I had also met some real creeps. My mom was way more into Match than I was. She loved logging into my account and checking out who had reached out – I am sure searching for her future son-in-law. She called me one day and said,

“****, you need to check into your Match. There is a really cute guy who winked at you.”

“Ugh, mom. I told you I am taking a break. And besides that, he doesn’t even live here. He lives in Idaho.” 

“Well, ****, it won’t hurt to wink back. You never know.” 

OK, so he was cute. I mean really cute and yeah, I guess it wouldn’t hurt to wink back. Well, that wink turned into an email and that email turned into a phone call, a 4-hour phone call. Our conversation flowed easily, we had so much in common and the connection was instant. Then my baby started to cry.  Now while I had made it clear that I had several children on my profile, it doesn’t exactly ask how old your children are, so he wasn’t aware that I had a 6-month-old. 

“Is that a baby I hear in the background?”

“Uh yeah….”

Well, guess what, he wasn’t scared away, and we made plans to meet in person.  He was working for the Air Force in Spokane and living in Coeur d’Alene, so when his workday wrapped up, he drove 5 hours to meet me on Valentine’s Day weekend.  We had agreed that the second we met, we would kiss to see if there really was that spark that we thought might be there.  When he arrived in town on February 13th, I drove over to meet him. He opened the door, and we kissed. Guess what, that spark was definitely there and we had a wonderful night.

That wonderful night turned into him driving over to see me every weekend, making that long drive Friday nights and leaving at 3 AM on Monday mornings to head back to work in Spokane. It didn’t take long before we knew we were meant to be. He met my boys, fell in love with them and they loved him instantly. He embraced them as if they were his very own.  He was able to get an honorable discharge from the military (he was afraid if he deployed again, he would never come back to us) and moved to Washington.

Six months from the day we met, we were married on beautiful Hayden Lake in Idaho with my, with our, four little boys right next to us.  I’m sure our families were skeptical by how quickly this all happened, but we just knew it was right. As we approach the anniversary of our first meeting on Valentine’s Day weekend, 17 years later, we are still madly in love. We have added two children to the mix, and we are one big, crazy family. You would never know those four boys are not his own as he loves them as much as he loves our biological children together.  I am forever grateful to the man who came into my life at a time of such hopelessness.  I mean, who would want to date a mom of 4?  I guess he did, even when I was lugging my breast pump with me when I came to visit him in Idaho in those first couple months of our relationship. 

I guess what everyone said was true – everything happens for a reason.  And that reason made our dreams come true

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#2 A day we will always treasure

My wife and I have been married now for 3 1/2 years. We live in North Bend, and my wife is a Special Ed teacher here in the Snoqualmie Valley School District.   

I met ******** indirectly through social media in 2016.  We were both members of the FB group Washington Hikers & Climbers, a group of more than 120,000 members because we both enjoy hiking and exploring the great outdoors.  As a hobby, I enjoy making hiking videos to inspire, motivate and challenge PNW hikers to achieve their wildest dreams and goals in the outdoors by including WH&C members in my musical storylines. I am not totally sure, but I believe I included her in one of my early hiking videos.

********, a mother of 3, was widowed in 2015 after taking care of her husband, who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Soon after his passing, she had the motivational goal of losing weight through hiking/exploring our wonderful mountains in Washington following her husband’s passing.

During her hiking and training, she lost more than 70 lbs through hard work, motivation and determination in just 7 short months. Let me pause and say, I am so proud of her! While on her new mission, she discovered my hiking videos, found them inspirational and fun, and watched them on her flat-screen TV to motivate and get ideas for future hikes. During this time, she had never met me, nor knew who I was.

In the Spring of 2016, a member of WH&C created a bowling event for members, and both ******** and I decided it would be fun to meet other outdoor enthusiasts that share our passion for hiking, and we both independently signed up. During the evening, ******** was in the adjacent lane and couldn’t bowl worth anything, so being the fun-spirited person I am, I playfully kidded her the whole evening as I witnessed many gutter balls and a really funny scorecard. It was an entertaining night full of fun and laughter!

A couple of days later, I sent her a message on social media and told her that I had fun bowling that night, and since she seemed to be a fun individual, I invited her to get together and just hang out. I wasn’t really interested in dating, just to have a like-minded friend to hang out with. She excitedly said yes; we attended another WH&C social event, beginning our journey through life together.   One day about a week later, we went to a dog park to walk my dog, and a song was playing in the car, one she knew all too well.   We were listening to it on my playlist. She said, “I love this song!   It is part of a motivational hiking video I watch all the time!” I told her I created a hiking video with that song and posted it to WH&C. I opened up the video on my social media page and showed it to her. Her response?   “Wait, you are the one that makes those hiking videos?  I love them and watch them all the time!   I had no idea that was you.” A couple of short weeks later, we began dating.

We found our best friend in each other, got engaged on one of my business trips to Alaska in the Spring of 2017, and married in the Fall of 2017 up at the majestic Perfection Lake in the Enchantments at 7000′.  A day we will always treasure.

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#3 The Man I Wanted by my Side for the Rest of my Life

One hot and sunny August afternoon in 1979, I did not know my life was about to change and that I would meet the love of my life in the most bizarre way ever! 

I was a volunteer firefighter for the Snoqualmie fire department, the first woman ever, might I add! I had the day off and was home cleaning when my plectron went off, saying there was a motorcycle accident in Meadowbrook before the bridge. A car had come off the millpond road and hit the motorcyclist broadside. So off I went on the call.

The motorcyclist had a pretty significant injury and was taken to Swedish in Seattle. I really felt for him, so I kept going in to visit, and over that time, we were really building a connection. After being there for 3 weeks, they released him from the hospital and his family invited me up for a little party to welcome him home!

Later that afternoon at the party he asked me if I would drive him to a friend’s wedding, and of course, I agreed! Over the course of his healing and recovery, he endured a lot of hard work in the weeks and months ahead of him. Watching his strength and how he dealt with everything, I knew this was the man I wanted by my side for the rest of my life.

We both grew up in the Snoqualmie Valley and our families knew each other, but I don’t know that we would have had another opportunity to make that connection had he not been in that accident or had I not been on the call that day.

But here we are 40+ years later, 2 children, 4 grandkids, countless adventures together and now retirement, and we are still going strong!! He likes to joke that his life changed the day I scraped him up off the road. I think it’s safe to say both our lives changed that day, forever and for the better! Love you, honey!

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#4 The Avalon

I first saw ******** across the dance floor at the Avalon ballroom (in Boulder, CO) on August 4th, 2010. In four months, I would be heading to West Africa to serve in the Peace Corps for 27 months and was in the midst of an intense breakup; I was not looking for a relationship.

Salsa dancing had become a hobby of mine and our connection on the dance floor was undeniable. Our minds and bodies moved as one without words. Still, it took me two weeks to call her up for a date afterward as I debated the pain of long-distance. When I did finally meet her for our first date, I discovered my soulmate.

******** is calm with endless attention to detail, a natural artist with immense intelligence and the ability to see deep and hidden layers of life. Our pieces fit together in balance, her energy a focusing and calming prism for my endless intense pursuits. Our balancing energy was apparent on the dance floor and immediately clear. It extended to all aspects of our life.

However, our fate together was never assured. Our intense connection was short-lived; I went to the Peace Corps while ******** continued her path towards medical school. When I returned to Colorado after three years abroad, I immediately left again for graduate school in North Carolina for yet another three. When I finished there, I accepted a job in Seattle. Over these seven years, we experienced the pain of long-distance, we broke up, we made each other cry, we dated other people, and we were clearly on the path of tragic young love found but lost amidst life’s changing tides.

Across those years, even when we were dating other people or even when we were upset with each other, we continued a tradition we shared during our first months together. Every year, I would return to Colorado and we would go to the Avalon ballroom to celebrate New Year’s Eve by dancing together until midnight. Not unlike those fairytales where the lovers get one night together a year but remain forever apart, this yearly tradition continued to remind us of our connection and what could be.

In 2017, the pain from our push-pull connection became too much; we finally made a decision together; ******** would leave medical school (where she struggled to find her passion), she would move to Washington, and we would combine our journey for the first time. To celebrate, we went hiking in Norway, where we speculated it would be a life dream to own a winery together and have a community to call our own. Two months later, we bought the Pleasant Hill Estate in Snoqualmie Valley, a place that literally embodied our dreams. We called our fledgling winery, Orenda: the balance of energy between all things, a representation of the balance we found in each other and the nature of the Pacific Northwest we both love. We celebrated our wedding on the property on August 4th, 2018, exactly eight years after we found each other on a dance floor at the Avalon community ballroom.

Fast forward to 2021; we are seeing all of our dreams come true as our winery has quickly become a favorite destination for members of the Snoqualmie Valley community. However, our biggest adventure together is yet to come; ******** is seven months pregnant with our first child, a girl. In thinking about the best name to give her, we felt there was no better name to commemorate our journey’s serendipity than to name her Avalon.

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#5 She Still Prefers the Night

Once upon a time, a young, devilishly handsome computer science student slaved away in the basement of the campus library. Well, I thought I was devilishly handsome, or at least I wished I was.

There, in the dark corner of a dark basement, computer terminals glowed green on black, eighty characters wide, and twenty-four lines tall. I used those terminals to connect to other colleges all over California. I was young and clever, but also a guy. Mostly I used computers to try and pick up girls. All technology devised by man inevitably progresses towards flirting with the ladies.

 The computer that I used was a modern, sleek mini-computer, which is to say the truck’s size. Your cell phone has a hundred times the memory and a thousand times the speed. It had, though, a program called ‘Talk.’ It was a computer-based CB radio if you remember those days when Smokey and The Bandit was a great date movie.

Using Talk, I could flirt with college girls from all over the state, and they would have no idea how dorky I really was.

Eventually, I managed to convince a girl whose screen name was GYPSY **** to go on a date.

My friend, who I roped into dropping me off near her place, was suspicious. “Are you sure?” he said. “These stories usually end up with your body in a shallow grave up in the mountains, your heart cut out as a trophy.”

“It’ll be fine,” I said, suddenly a little unsure.

During the date **** and I had quite good burritos, though I could barely taste mine. It’s hard to balance small talk, checking the exits in case she pulled a knife, trying not to stare inappropriately at any body part, and trying to figure out how best to steer the evening in a more, well, amorous direction. Burritos seemed unimportant.

We eventually ended up at my place. Or, rather, my grandmother’s place, which was the same thing. We sat up talking all night long. **** delicately sipped wine, which came from a box. I pretended it wasn’t the first time I ever drank wine.

At dawn, the sky pink-tinged blue; I walked her to her car. The sun was dazzling, the air was clear, the world was fresh and new. We hugged and kissed, and she smiled and said she preferred darkness to the light.

Forty-two years later, she still prefers the night.

Eventually, **** decided to move to Miami, her hometown. Because she took all my stuff, I followed. It was the Miami Vice era. But oppressive heat forced moves to Silicon Valley, then providentially to Washington, just in time for Microsoft, Northern Exposure, and Twin Peaks.

The clouds here make the world safe, with the comfortable feel of hiding under the sheets and reading by flashlight, well past your bedtime.

We’ve been here for over 25 years. Surrounded by mountains and elk and trees and friends.

**** looks the same as the first day I saw her. I decayed into the Cryptkeeper. And she hasn’t – so far – cut out my heart and left me in a shallow grave in the hills.

It’s a love story as old as time itself – boy meets girl on a computer years before the Internet existed. Boy led by girl into vice to impress her. Boy spends a lifetime with girl, and considers himself lucky that he hasn’t been brutally murdered. It’s almost a cliche. You’ve heard it a million times, but it’s special to us.

Voting Rules

  1. Only one vote per person
  2. Voting lasts through Friday, February 12th, at midnight.
  3. Voting will be by commenting on the original Living Snoqualmie Article with your name and the number of your favorite story or by doing the same on our Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Votes on shares will not be counted.
  4. Likes will not be counted as votes.
  5. Anyone caught voting twice will have their votes disqualified.
  6. You may comment as much as you’d like, but please, when you vote, only write your name and the number of the story you choose to win
  7. Winners will be announced in a third article February 13th

Comments

  1. Angel La Riva says

    I like #1. So cool and amazing.

  2. I like #5

  3. Cody Fisher says

    Cody Fisher. #3

  4. Sandy Numrich says

    I vote for story #1

  5. My favorite is #5.

  6. #1 FOR SURE!!

  7. Christina gohlke says

    #3

  8. Theresa Mamula says

    I love story #1. It reminds me that I too fell in
    love with my husband when he returned from Viet
    Nam and was stationed at a military base in the suburb
    Of Chicago. He must be a very special man to fall
    in love with a woman with 4 kids!
    My vote is #1! 💗💗

  9. #1 everything happens die a reason is the BEST!

  10. I vote for #1!!

  11. Aaron Simons says

    Aaron Simons #1

  12. Love story #1 is hands down the winner of my vote. I love how her Mom gave her daughter hope that good things would happen for her daughter in the future and how this Mom of 4 boys had the energy to listen and follow her Mom’s advice.
    The kiss at their first meeting was so sweet and kudos to the guy who wasn’t put off by a breast pump and 6 month old baby.
    Absolutely love their story of optimism and can do attitude. 💕

  13. Voting for #4 ❤️

  14. #4 speaks to enduring love and hope — to Avalon.

  15. #4 is very romantic

  16. Karla Powell says

    Number 4 made me say awe. It wins my vote.

  17. Beth Ramsey says

    #4 gets my vote. True love requires patience!

  18. Lexi Humann #4

  19. Brian Bartley says

    #4

  20. #4!!

  21. Shannon Etnyre says

    Shannon Etnyre #4

  22. #4 gets my vote!

  23. #4 has my vote

  24. I vote for #4❤️

  25. Laura Aubert says

    I vote for #4. True love takes time ❤️

  26. Debbie Lincoln says

    #4 please!!!

  27. I like number 1

  28. #1 – I love that they found each other when she was feeling so hopeless as a single mom!

  29. Sheila kirtley says

    Definitely #4!

  30. Shadwick Newkirk says

    #1 for me

  31. #4

  32. I vote for #4.

  33. #4 this could be a book or movie and it would be one of my favourites ❤️

  34. Cindy Angelo says

    #4 ❤❤❤

  35. Danita LeBlanc says

    Danita LeBlanc
    I loved them all & reading 5 love/ life stories like this has been one of the most hopeful stories I’ve read since Covid. Thank you for sharing these. I vote #4.

  36. Anita Doane says

    #4

  37. Gina Briles says

    I definitely vote for #1. What an amazing story. ❤️

  38. #4 gets my vote!

  39. My vote is for #4. Beautiful how it’s come full circle. Better than a Hallmark movie 🥰

  40. Ashley Thomas says

    #3
    Ashley Thomas

  41. Deb Pinorrini says

    #2

  42. Mandy Christman says

    #4

  43. I vote for #4!

  44. NUMBER 3!! If it wasn’t for these amazing people and their love story I wouldn’t have my own! 😁❤

  45. I would like to vote for #3.

  46. McKiernan Patricia says

    My choice is #1

  47. #4!

  48. #4!

  49. Doug Whitehead says

    #4!

  50. Chelsea Darlington says

    #4! ❤️

  51. Grace Mwangome says

    I vote #4

  52. I like #4

  53. #4 ❤️😊

  54. Chris Kramer says

    #4!!!!

  55. #4

  56. Margaret Humann says

    #4!

  57. #4

  58. Deborah LaFavre says

    Love #4

  59. Leah Aichele says

    # 5 gets my vote!

  60. Cali McMurtrey says

    My name is Cali and I vote for #4!

  61. I vote for #4!

  62. No. 5

  63. Abigail Del Vecchio says

    4!

  64. Love #1!!

  65. #1

  66. #1 is the best!!

  67. #1 💘

  68. #1 !

  69. #1

  70. Emmie Kelly says

    vote #4!! so cute ❤️❤️

  71. I vote 4!!!

  72. Not even close. #4 is amazing .

  73. Heidi Kelly says

    #4. Beautiful story spanning continents but ending up in the most beautiful please on earth, our valley. What a story!!!

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