The Second Chance, Partnership, Legacy, Excitement and Completeness of Love

"Love is everything it's cracked up to be. That's why people are so cynical about it. It really is worth fighting for, being brave for, risking everything for. And the trouble is, if you don't risk anything, you risk even more.”

In celebration of Love and Valentines Day, Happy Hudson Valley brings you a collection of stories to warm you heart. Love is at the center of all things. Let's share in the joy of these five couples, each at their various stages of love. I hope you will find something here you can relate to if not something to aspire to.

"It's A Love Story, Baby Just say Yes!"

 Krista Hutchings and Scott Gallagher - Excited and Engaged

Krista and Scott shared a childhood at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Middletown, but lost touch when he moved to Florida after 8th grade. It wasn’t until years later at the wedding of a mutual friend that the two made their love connection.  He calls it the tap on the shoulder that changed his life. They immediately made plans to meet for coffee, they were dating a month later and engaged 4 months after that. Krista is dreamy eyed recounting this, “I can’t describe the feeling  - when you know, you know.” Scott, a police officer in Middletown and Krista, an agent at Hutchings Insurance are looking forward to sharing an active and fun life style – hiking and camping and eventually tackling the Appalachian Trail are all in their plans for the future.

I love that he can make me laugh, and he likes that I am fun and loyal and always honest.  It feels like a dream.  I steal this line from him, 'You know you’re in love not when you find someone that you can live with but when you find someone you can’t live without.'

The couple is currently working on writing vows for their May 2012 wedding.

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"We're Partners in Crime, You've got that Certain Something."

Lindsey Terwilliger and Michael Bowman - the Completeness of Marriage

When Michael finally got down on one knee at Lovers Key Beach in Florida, an answer did come easily for Lindsey. "We were looking for shells in the water he said ‘Look at this!’.   I turn around and he’s on his knee. I started crying and I cried for like 12 hours never said yes. I called my parents and he’s like 'you didn’t give me an answer'! It was like, of course I’ll marry you. I was just so happy." Michael, a police officer in the Bronx and Lindsey, a photography editor at TV Guide Magazine bonded in the overlap of their careers in NYC. They also credit their parent’s lasting marriages for their stay-strong relationship mindset. They are building their marriage - literally. They closed on a fix-me-up house a month before their wedding. "I’m all about shared responsibility," Lindsey said. "If I’m washing the dishes, he’s drying the dishes. The house was so much work but we can look around and realize we both painted, we both cleaned, picked out the tile together. We’re equal partners." It’s not all work and no play for this couple, though! The two like to travel and enjoy an occasional adventure. "We went to Vegas for a wedding and took the following week off the travel around and see Tahoe, Death Valley and Mammoth Mountain. We hike, we bike, we ski we kayak, even go to the gym together. He awakened a whole different side of me."

 Michael added, "Love is a completeness. I've felt that since I've known her."

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"I Knew I Loved you Before I met You, I think I dreamed you Into Life"

Michael and Sheila Kimball - Second Chance at Love

For this couple the fairy tale did not come until after many dark and lonely nights. Michael and Sheila (unbeknownst to one another) were pouring their hearts out through their pens (and keyboards) on opposite sides of the Hudson River. The 50-something’s were reeling from painful divorces. Laying aside nearly all hope of ever finding a soul mate, they continued on busy with family, friends, work and pursuing their passion for writing – he as a novelist and she as a blogger. Finally, last year with the coming of spring, the couple’s fancy lightly turned to the possibility of meeting someone. They each posted a profile during a free 10-day-trial on a Christian dating site. A week and a thousand words later they arranged a face-to-face meeting high above the river on the Walkway-Over-the-Hudson. 47 days later Michael and Sheila eloped in Cape Ann, Mass - "Longings End".  In that moment, their longing for a lifetime partner was fulfilled. It's rumored that Michael has something wonderful planned for the couple's first Valentines Day together. We can't wait to hear from them and get details on their special celebration!

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"What Have You Done for Me Lately?"

Michael Gabor and Gerardo Castro - Lifelong Partnership

Michael and Gerry met twice in one weekend. "It was Friday the 13th," says Michael, "I missed the train and the next thing you know I'm inviting my friend Susan over to my apartment — fireplace lit— and she's got this "friend" she insists I meet.  A few cups of tea later, hours are passing like nothing between the three of us. I had an online date lined up for the next night, turns out it was with him. Everything just worked out."

The pair is adament about working hard both in their relationship and their professional lives. They run the Newburgh Art Supply store together. "We split up the work," says Gerardo, "I can’t sit in front of the computer and do what he does for the store. It's not so much how we work together as how we work apart that brings it all together."

Plans to celebrate Valentines Day? Not really. "People concentrate so much on that object or that day. It comes and goes and then it's back to figuring out how to hold on to the relationship.  It is not these things given on any particular day -  it’s an all day, every week, every month, every year thing. It's something alive and it's about actions taken. Sometimes it's what you do and don't do for someone that shows you love them.

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 "My Lonely Days are Over and Life is Like a Song"

June and Jim LaRue -  The Legacy of Love

June and Jim met in the 1940's.  June & her friends went to see Jim's football game and watch him play. During a big moment in the game he was aggressively tackled, his opponent diving for the ball and instead grasping a pant-leg.  Jim didn't stop, he ran until he scored a touchdown. He had no idea that his opponent had managed to pull down his pants mid-tackle. The people in the stands were going nuts! The announcer of the game says, "Wow, that guy just lost his pants and he is still running with the football....Touchdown!" June's friends went crazy too saying, "June isn't that your boyfriend Jim with his pants down around his ankles?". June's face turned a shade of red they had never before seen. It was at that very moment she knew it was Love. Jim's friends never let him forget what happened that day. They gave him the nickname "Legs LaRue" which stuck with him forever. They were married for over 40 years, leaving behind 4 kids and 6 grandchildren.

"The Greatest Thing You'll Ever Learn, Is just to Love and be Loved in Return." Eden Abhez

Article By : Stefanie Pearl "It's A Love Story, Baby Just say Yes!" - Taylor Swift - Love Story "We're Partners in Crime, You've got that Certain Something." - Aerosmith - Cryin' "I Knew I Loved you Before I met You, I think I dreamed you Into Life" - Savage Garden "What Have You Done for Me Lately?" - Jam and Lewis "My Lonely Days are Over and Life is Like a Song." - Mack Gorden and Harry Warden - At Last