Courtesy of the couple
Elvina Bergmann, 55, and Lee Kallett, 55, of St. Pete Beach. Married July 15, 2012.
At the Rusty Pelican in Tampa, a seder dinner in honor of Passover was transpiring. Just before it started, a singles group met, five or six people standing in a room. It was a little awkward, a little uncomfortable for Elvina. She had been divorced nearly seven years and wasn't looking for a new husband. Her friend Nancy begged her to go (and also told Elvina that if she met someone, she would have to wait four whole seasons to marry him).
There was one man who made her heart beat a little faster: Lee. He was a handsome 6 feet 6 and was talking up a younger woman. But Lee looked up, saw her.
"The sun was setting behind the window she was standing in front of," Lee recalls. "It looked like she was wearing a halo." He felt something like the notion of love at first sight. Elvina felt it, too: "It was a magical moment."
After a few minutes of chatting, Lee took a chance: "Would you care to join me for dinner?" Elvina blushed and nodded her head.
They sat at a table with six other people. "I don't think I looked at or talked to anybody else that entire evening," Lee says. Soon they were the only two people left in the banquet hall. The waiters were stacking chairs.
"We did it the old fashioned way," Elvina says. "I like the idea of happenstance, of no computer, no dating service."
The next April, exactly one year (and four seasons) later, 250 people crammed into the same banquet hall for another seder. After a series of skits, Lee took the mike:
"Here we are, and it's another seder, and a whole year has gone by, so I'd like to ask you, Elvina, to make me the happiest person in the world. Will you marry me?"
The room erupted with cheers, clapping, even a little whistling. At the end of the night, a woman who had sat with them at the table the year before came up and said: "All this time, I wondered if you two had made it."
A few months later, the couple married on St. Pete Beach.