Romances against all odds
Next week is Valentine’s Day. Also known as "Single Person’s Awareness Day."
It’s a manufactured holiday that, at best, means you’re sending or receiving roses and, at worst, means you’re spending a load of cash on an emergency dentist appointment. (I once chipped a tooth chomping on a stale candy heart.)
For the most part, I’ve never been a huge fan of Valentine’s Day. I have always struggled to get behind the idea of its mascot — Cupid. When I think about romance, the last thing on my mind is a short, chubby toddler coming at me with a weapon.
But despite his shortcomings, Cupid does seem to have it figured out. At least when it comes to these three Park City couples. They met and began lifelong romances against all odds (and in one case, against gravity). Their stories are reminders that Cupid’s arrow can strike at any time, under any circumstance.
Beth and Roger Armstrong, married 21 years
Beth was living in New Orleans and had just learned of her father’s death. She was in the airport waiting for a flight to Houston, where the funeral was being held.
"I was waiting for my plane and couldn’t stop crying," she recalls. "A concerned stranger tapped me on the shoulder to ask if I was OK. When I turned to answer, I realized it was Kevin Costner."
The actor was in New Orleans scouting locations for a movie he was working on. He comforted her and told her to stop by the set when she returned and let him know how she was doing.
A few weeks later, Beth was driving by the movie set and recalled Costner’s invite. She decided to stop, told the guard who she was, and Kevin came over. He asked her to wait until he was finished filming and said he’d send someone over to keep her company. That someone was Roger Armstrong.
"Six months later I was living in L.A. and married to Roger," Beth added. "A few years later our son Brett was born and Kevin is his godfather."
Holley Hendrix and Joe Bissett, married 15 years
In the 1990s Holley and Joe were living in Southern California and Joe played in a band.
"I had seen his band a few times and really liked them," Holley remembers. "I thought Joe was cute and wanted to see him. So one night I gathered some girlfriends and we went to a bar to watch them play."
Holley and her friends had some drinks and danced to the music. Holley got her groove on, trying to get Joe to notice her.
Turns out, he couldn’t have missed her.
"One minute she was dancing, and the next, she tripped and fell into the band!" Joe remembers. "She knocked the soundboard onto the floor and everything. It was a pretty spectacular crash."
But instead of being embarrassed, Holley stood up, collected herself and, when the band took a break, she asked Joe over for dinner.
"I wanted to make it up to him," she said.
So the very next night Joe went to Holley’s house, where she served him a delicious meal — without tripping and falling onto the table.
Cathy Clark and Chad Rexroad, married three years
Long before they lived in Park City, Cathy and Chad belonged to a ski club out East. The club had hundreds of members and Cathy and Chad had never met each other until the ski club planned a trip to Park City in 2003 and both happened to be on it. But even that wasn’t enough to bring them together. It took a busted hot tub to eventually lead them to happily ever after.
"Our ski club had so many people on this trip, we had to split up and stay in different condo complexes," Cathy recalls. "The hot tub in the condos where I was staying was broken, so we walked over to where other members were staying to use theirs."
It just so happens Chad was having a soak when Cathy and her friends arrived. They got to talking and learned they only lived an hour from each other back home.
"We skied together the rest of the trip and kept in touch and eventually started dating," she said.
In 2004 Chad told Cathy he wanted a change of pace and asked her to move to Park City with him. She did, and they have since logged hundreds of ski days together.
And both are thankful the hot-tub repairman had the night off all those years ago.
Amy Roberts is a longtime Park City resident, freelance writer and the proud owner of two ill-behaved rescue dogs, Boston and Stanley. If you have a story idea, please e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.