Every third Sunday of the month, the VFW in Middlebury comes alive. It's friends jamming and partners dancing, all put on by the Champlain Valley Fiddlers Club. No prima donnas here, just old-fashioned fun. Jack and Marie Whipple wouldn't miss this day.
"Music is always good," Jack said. "I always loved music."
So many memories-- it's where they met.
Reporter Joe Carroll: How did you two meet?
John Whipple: Oh, ho, ho, you want to get right into it, huh?
Marie Whipple: That's a good story.
It started at a square dance. A friend asked Marie why she wasn't dancing. Marie told her she didn't have a partner. Her friend had an answer: a gentleman caller. Jack is a caller for the dances.
"We got up and danced," Jack said. "The first song we danced to was 'The Waltz Across Texas.'"
Both Marie and Jack were widowed and lonely. Marie prayed to God that she wouldn't be.
"I'm OK with being alone if that's your will for my life, but take away the loneliness," Marie recalled.
Her prayers were answered with Jack. After the dance, Jack asked Marie to dinner that night. The normally reserved woman said yes. Marie had gone to the dance with a friend, so Jack took her home.
Marie Whipple: I said, would you mind if I gave you a hug? And he said no.
Jack Whipple: She's pretty good at it.
Marie Whipple: So I gave him a hug. And he gave a hug right back.
Jack Whipple: Damn!
They were like two teenagers in love except both were well into their 60s. Neither slept that night. Jack arrived the next day with a bouquet of flowers.
"See we met on a Sunday and that very same week, Friday, we were in the jewelry store buying rings," Marie said.
They had no doubt about getting married; their kids weren't so sure. Marie said one of her kids "popped her cork," exclaiming, "Mom, you don't even know him!"
"I said I just know it's right and if something happens and it's not right, it's my fault," Marie said.
So Dec. 2, 1998, the couple tied the knot.
"There's not one day of the 17-and-a-half years that either of us has regretted," Marie said. "It's been wonderful."
Jack Whipple: I guess she's going to yodel.
Marie Whipple: I'm going to give it a try.
It was music that brought them together. And a parting note: It's never too late to love again.
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