Finding love after 50. Author and columnist Tom Blake's dating information and advice for widowers, widows, divorced men, divorced women, middle-aged singles and senior singles who are dating again and hope to meet a mate. See bottom of this page to sign up for Tom's free weekly e-mailed column.
Finding Love After 50 by Tom Blake
Peter Cohn and Barbara Bloom of Petaluma, Calif., entered my life five years ago, shortly after I started dating Greta, Peter's sister.
They've been a couple for 23 years--since they met in 1980. Both are in their mid-50s. I was curious why they had never married, but didn't ask because it was none of my business.
They are caring, considerate and thoughtful-loved by family and friends. I've the utmost respect for them and the way they treat each other. I treasure our friendship.
Because their families live in Southern California, they usually come south for holidays. Peter is known as "the pie guy," always surprising the families with a half dozen freshly-baked
pies. Trying to guess what kind of pies Peter is bringing is a part of the holiday dining tradition with Greta's family.
Last Thanksgiving, in San Clemente, Peter and Barbara announced they would like to have the 2003 Thanksgiving meal at their home in Petaluma. They promised it would be
"memorable." So, this year, 48 family members and friends converged on Petaluma. Most drove, some flew, all from afar.
Four came From Salt Lake City; two each from Palm Springs, Encinitas and Oceanside; three from San Clemente; four from San Juan Capistrano and 30 from Long Beach.
Tables were set throughout their home, including on their outdoor deck, which was enclosed by a white catering tent.
Before the meal, we all gathered under the tent for grace; Barbara emphasized the dessert would be "historical." I figured that meant no pies, but something more exotic
like baked Alaska or flaming cherries jubilee-something whoop-de-do-ish.
After the main course, before the "historical" dessert, Peter and Barbara disappeared upstairs, which was a bit out of character, but no one thought much about it.
I saw them reappear holding hands-Peter dressed in a suit and tie, Barbara in a beautiful floral dress. They were grinning ear to ear. Something was up.
And then, guests were summoned into the dining room. I thought, perhaps for a Thanksgiving toast, a pronouncement of family love and the unveiling of the "historic" dessert.
Peter and Barbara faced each other and took each other's hands. The music of "Here Comes the Bride" started to play. Puzzled eyes and glances darted about the room.
What the heck was going on?
In front of 50 of the most surprised Thanksgiving guests in all of Sonoma County, including Peter's five siblings, they exchanged wedding vows and rings. When nice things happen to
people you love, tears flow. There wasn't a dry eye in the place, including mine.
There Peter and Barbara stood, loved so dearly by the people in that room, confirming marriage vows, which they had actually exchanged in June, and kept secret until that special
moment. The only people who knew were her parents and her son and his wife.
I asked Peter and Barbara why they decided to marry after 23 years. Both agreed "it was simply the right time." Each said they were marrying their best friend and admitted
an awareness of their mortality influenced them.
The "historical" dessert was a white wedding cake. No one complained that the "pie guy" didn't provide his usual after-dinner treat.