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An Amazing Senior Wedding

One of our Champs gets married Many of you will remember me writing about our Champ Chris. He’s the remarkable guy who has been in the longest long-distance relationship that I am aware of. And not just for a few months. How about 13 years? Let me provide a little background. In 2001, Chris Anastasio got divorced after a 15-year marriage. He was 68 and admits he was lost, with no idea of what he would do. A man cleaning the carpets in Chris’ Dana Point, California, home knew that Chris enjoyed dancing. The man suggested Chris become a dance host on cruise ships, which Chris did. Before long, Chris was enjoying all-expenses-paid cruises around the world and dancing every night. Chris said, “The rule on the ships is a dance host cannot have any kind of romance while on a cruise, but he can get a phone number or email address. “I started dancing at sea in 2003. About a year later, I was on a 36-day Caribbean cruise when I met Tina; her husband had passed away 18 months earlier. I have danced with a lot of women over the years, but when I danced with Tina, I knew there was something special about this lady that I liked. “Although Tina was from England, I was interested and she gave me her email address. She got off the ship on the seventh day of the cruise. I told her I would email her when I finished the cruise, which was a month later.” Chris said the email address he received from Tina was no longer valid. He had a friend who lived in England track down Tina’s phone number. Chris said, “I was so excited about contacting her, I forgot about the time zone difference.” Tina chimed in: “After 30 years of marriage and at the age of 61, facing life alone, I thought my enjoyment in life was behind me. Eighteen months later, friends insisted I take a cruise with them to the Caribbean. “When I returned to England, I did not know if Chris would contact me. My phone rang at 3 a.m. I was excited to hear from him. I didn’t know I had given him my old email address by mistake. We started emailing and calling and after three months, Chris said we should meet. “We decided to meet in Florida. My kids thought I was crazy. We spent a wonderful seven days together.” And thus, one of the longest, long-distance relationships, began: 5,419 miles between England and Dana Point. That was in 2004. Chris and Tina have been seeing each other ever since. Chris would spend three months in England and Tina would spend autumns and winters with him in San Clemente, a city close to Dana Point, to where Chris had moved. They have taken many, many trips together. A few years back, Chris said to me, “There is a lot of trust in this relationship and trust is what makes it work for us. Friends always ask if we plan to marry and live together. Well, that doesn’t make much sense. We get along great and every time we get together it’s like a honeymoon.” Also a few years back, Tina added, “During our years of being a couple, we’ve had to say a lot of ‘good-byes.’ Those times are the hardest.” Now, in 2017, the lengthiest in time (13 years) and longest in miles, relationship has changed. Chris, 83, and Tina, 76, won’t have to be saying those ‘good-byes’ anymore. This past Sunday, February 12, family and friends watched Chris and Tina exchange wedding vows on an outdoor deck facing Dana Point Harbor at the Dana Point Yacht Club. Yachts, kayaks, stand up paddle boards, and walkers passed by during the ceremony; Chris even waved at a man who was waving from his boat.

Chris and Tina with Dana Point Harbor in background My partner Greta and I were honored to be on the guest list. At the reception later, each table had a centerpiece that featured both the flag of England and the United States. Because Chris volunteers his time dancing with the women residents of the Villas by the Sea, an assisted living and retirement facility in San Clemente, he has developed many friendships there. At the table where Greta and I were seated, the owners of the Villas, Paul and Aileen Brazeau, shared stories of friendships and kindness about our Champ Chris. Also seated at our table were Villas employee Ben Alvarez and his partner. Ben told me his daughter Sunny worked at my Dana Point deli years before. “Sunshine,” her true name, was indeed sunshine, a sweet young woman who was a pleasure to have as an employee for two years in 2004-2005. Tina’s family was represented by her daughter, and granddaughter, who had flown in from England. When Greta and I got home, we agreed that the wedding was one of those small, unique gatherings that warm your heart and will never be forgotten. Tina is indeed an English rose. She and Chris were so cute together. Their kids kept clinking silverware on the water glasses to make the couple kiss. Chris finally said, “If you do that one more time, I’m going to stand up and make a half hour speech.” That stopped the glass tapping. Chris and Tina provide hope and inspiration to senior singles that not only can love happen in our later years, but can endure distance and time. We are proud Chris and Tina are Champs.

Newlyweds Tina and Chris Anastastio --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Miscellaneous Mail I receive This is exactly how these two emails came in. I did not edit them for grammar or spacing. I suspect they are bogus. 1. "I want to meet a guy who is the same as my age or older a little bit & have a big faith in God.Very understanding trustworthy,honest,caring & etc." 2. "Would like to find a serious marriage partner for a solid relationship." At any rate, they don't provide much information...If they aren't bogus, they are ineffective.

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