RANDOLPH, Neb. — It is true.
Cupid can strike at any age, even when a couple is over 80 years old.
Last week, Margaret Korth Bloomquist reminisced with her new husband, Neil, about the beginnings of their relationship.
“My husband Butch had died in July and Neil’s wife Sally passed away the same year in December,” Margaret said. “I would look at him sitting in a pew across the aisle in church and wonder if he was as lonely as I was.”
The thought of approaching Neil kept nagging at Margaret and she finally asked some advice of her youngest son, the Rev. Dave Korth, associate pastor at St. Augustine’s Parish in Winnebago.
“(Korth) said, ‘Well Mom, I think it’s a wonderful idea, but I know Neil. He won’t ask you – you will have to ask him,’ ” Margaret said with a laugh.
Her son was excited about the idea. He also told her she had so much love to give yet, she should go for it.
Margaret was still unsure. But on one Sunday they walked up to communion at the same time and Margaret felt her heart do a little flip. She wondered if God was giving her a nudge.
So around Valentine’s Day about two years ago, Margaret started writing Neil a note. She would write, critique it, write again and have her kids read it.
Eventually, her brother and Rev. Korth read it, made changes and finally mailed it to Neil. The couple laughed as they remembered Neil wasn’t home at the time. He was visiting his children in Washington state.
As time went by, there was a retreat weekend in Osmond. Margaret wanted to attend and she didn’t really want to go alone.
Neil offered to take her and they never looked back. The next time they went to a retreat, it was as a couple.
Margaret remembered the first time she realized she loved him. A local bank had offered a tour to see sites in Sioux City and he didn’t tell her the evening ended with a Danny O’Donnell concert.
That night, she knew their relationship was serious. As they say, it was a match made in heaven.
“Last June, I started thinking about how it would go, if we wanted to get married,” Neil said.
In the Catholic Church, there is a six-month engagement period before a marriage can be celebrated. He realized that was a winter wedding and not too appealing to him.
That month he came with an engagement ring, Margaret said.
“We wanted to do it the right way and be a good example so we made a visit to Father Dave to get his opinion,” Neil said.
Given the circumstances, their age and loving commitment, the Archdiocese of Omaha made an allowance and allowed them to get married after four months. Next, a date was set in October.
It was exciting to be planning the wedding and their 13 children, 33 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren threw themselves into the decorating and details to make it a memorable event.
Meshing their two families posed no challenges.
Their children grew up together, went to school together and were already friends. Family gatherings are happy celebrations.
But last week’s snow storm caused a small rift between the couple. Margaret was angry with Neil for the first time.
“I made him promise he wouldn’t go out and scoop snow,” Margaret said.
She went to take a nap and when she woke up and looked out the living room window, she was alarmed to see the snow scooped.
Neil gave her a little smile and she let him know she didn’t want him to do that again.