How We Got Married Well Into Our Golden Years
By Tim and Pat Von Dohlen

Below is an excerpt adapted from In Life the Journey is Everything: From the Dump to the Gym and Beyond by Tim and Pat Von Dohlen. Copyright 2020 Tim and Pat Von Dohlen.

After their magical weekend in San Diego, Pat and Tim came home and got back into their routine:

Tim would make the drive from Austin to Luling to pick up Pat (close to fifty miles one way) and then they would go out dancing, to see friends, or go to a movie. Neither were really night owls, but they were having a wonderful time getting to know each other and fitting into each other’s lives.

One of the most important visits they had was with Monsignor Jordan, the priest who was leading RCIA for Pat and the rest of the catechumens in her group. Pat and Tim had lunch with him one day, not to talk about anything serious, just to catch up. They told him how much Pat was enjoying RCIA and how much they both were enjoying their new relationship. “At our age,” Tim said, “we don’t really know how long each of us has to live, but we’re really believing we are right for each other. We’re thinking about making it more permanent.” Monsignor Jordan looked at them both. “What are you waiting for?” he asked. Pat and Tim were surprised by this answer, but it also made a certain sense. Their relationship had progressed quickly, but they also both knew exactly what they wanted. And there wasn’t really any reason to waste time, just as Monsignor Jordan said.

Monsignor Jordan then asked Pat how she was enjoying RCIA. 

“It is great,” she said, “I am learning so much, but I have a question for you. I don’t understand why I can’t receive the Eucharist.”

“What is the Eucharist?” asked Monsignor Jordan.

“The body and blood of Christ,” said Pat.

“Well then, I don’t know why you can’t receive the Eucharist either!”

Monsignor Jordan made good on his word. Pat was offered the opportunity to receive the Eucharist early after she was admitted as a member of the Catholic Church in a special induction service by Monsignor Jordan. This was before Christmas and was a wonderful gift for Pat as the birth of Christ was celebrated.

Pat and Tim spent the weekday in San Antonio to celebrate. They were headed that direction to visit a friend of Tim’s, Ray Neumann, who was in the hospital following hip surgery. This gentleman loved key lime pie, so they purchased an entire pie for him to enjoy. After the drop-off (the friend hadn’t been in his hospital room, so the pie had been left on his hospital bed!), Pat and Tim went to dinner on the River Walk in San Antonio. It was another beautiful night. The moon was full, illuminating the already romantic canals and bridges. After dinner, they went for a stroll and Tim shared the history of the River Walk with Pat. As they were starting to make their way back to the car from the River Walk, they saw a young man in a full tuxedo with a bouquet of red roses coming towards them down the steps to the River Walk. It was clear he was making his money for the evening by singing for visitors to the River Walk.

“Do you happen to know either ‘Unforgettable’ or ‘Chances Are’?” asked Tim. (Pat and Tim had decided these two golden oldies were “their” songs.)

He did! The gentleman handed a red rose to Pat and then began to sing.

Pat and Tim danced to the music under the light of the full moon, a night that had been made specially for them. Each of us always need to be aware of the beauty God provides for in every situation.

The last few months had been filled with adventure and romance. Tim and Pat had grown both as a couple and also in their faith, as Pat continued RCIA with Tim as her sponsor. They both felt it was time to make the commitment more permanent, and Tim, as always, had a plan up his sleeve.

Tim and Pat were having dinner one night with their friends, Andrés and Juanita Tijerina. The Tijerinas had done a lovely job fixing the meal and preparing their home for the visit. Good wine, good conversation. The moon was full in the sky. It was a perfect night. . . . except that Tim kept getting up and leaving the table. What is he up to? thought Pat.

As it turned out, Tim had a problem, and a serious one at that: his mariachi band was lost. 

It was definitely a unique problem to have, but Tim was worried. If they didn’t show up, he was on his own. He had hired a mariachi band to come to the Tijerinas’ house to play music so he could pull out the ring he had chosen and propose to Pat. But the band apparently was lost, and the phone number they had given Tim wasn’t reaching them. He was just going to have to do it by himself.

Up and down from the table he went a few more times. Pat began to get very suspicious. 

Suddenly, it clicked for her. When she realized he was about to propose to her in front of people she didn’t really know very well, she was direct.

“Tim, if you’re going to do this, get down on one knee.”

And so he did. And she said “Yes”!

He had not one ring but two (or maybe pictures of both; the details are a bit fuzzy), and Pat was able to choose which she liked best. Then the four of them all toasted to the health and happiness of the couple and to the realization that love is always waiting for us as long as we have faith. 


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