Work or play can bring couples together

February 09, 2004|EMILY TOADVINE

James Jenkins and Patsy Burton do-si-doed around the subject for awhile, but they eventually decided to become more than square dancing partners. Dressed in the clothes they wear for square dancing - James likes a bolo tie - and with their grown sons present, they married Jan. 24.

As chiropractors who work together, Callie Garrison and Dennis Short make lots of adjustments for their clients. Right now, they're adapting to life as Mr. and Mrs. Short. They married Jan. 15 on a cruise ship. About 60 friends and family joined them on the honeymoon.

The cruise was perfect for Callie and Dennis because in addition to having chosen the same career, they love to travel.

"That's not common," Callie says. "You don't find someone who every weekend and holiday wants to go see the world."

The Jenkinses met through their hobby whereas the Shorts met while in chiropractic school, but love blossomed for both.


"The love bug bit us and we don't even know when," says Patsy Jenkins, who met her future husband while taking square dancing lessons at the Danville-Boyle County Senior Citizens Center.

The classes began in September. Patsy, who retired last year after a 30-year career at Crickateer and the last few years as a bank teller, decided she wanted to learn.

"It's a social event and it's good exercise," she says.

The Constitution Squares has about 32 members, with most of them couples.

"There were only two unattached men I noticed when I went there," she says, sending a sidelong glance at her husband.

The group has lessons on Thursday nights and then attends dances across the state on Fridays and Saturdays.

For James, the dances filled a void.

"I wanted something to do," he says.

It wasn't long before James sought out a dancing partner.

"He asked me for my phone number after lessons one night. He called and we talked for two hours. We found out we have a lot in common."

Marriage was discussed in their first conversation. It was out of the question.

"We both said we weren't interested in getting married. I just wanted a square dancing partner and he just wanted someone to talk to," Patsy says.

They started out by escorting one another to dances. Next, she started going to Sunday night services at his church. They went out to eat together on a regular basis.

For James, it was Patsy's personality that won his heart.

"She nice," he says.

Patsy warmed to James' sense of humor.

"Everybody loves to pick on him and he picks back at them."

She found that her new square dancing partner was irresistible.

"I fell in love with him the first time he gave me a hug."

It wasn't long before the forbidden subject - marriage - surfaced.

"He called and said, 'We've got to do something. I think about you all the time. You drive me crazy.'"

Their families expressed concern over their hastiness.

"My sister came over and talked to us and told us to slow down. His son said, 'Please don't get married again.'"

Patsy's son, who lives in Pennsylvania, had a different request.

"My son said, 'Please don't get married until I can meet him.'"

Her son met James and with their children's blessing and a service by the Rev. Bob Salazar, they promenaded home. Those who attended the ceremony were James' son, Michael Jenkins of Washington County; the bride's son, Keith Burton of Wyncote, Pa.; the bride's sister, Garnetta Keller Graham of Lexington; the groom's brother and sister-in-law, Lonnie and Nancy Jenkins of Mercer County; and friends Charolette Salazar, Chris and Jessica Russell and Dennis and Helen Foster.

Now that the family has spoken their piece, James is finding lots of marital advice from the elderly people he stays with as a senior companion.

"They all give me rules of what I should and shouldn't do."

Shorts met at school

The Jenkinses may have found each other through a hobby, but the Shorts met because of their careers. They both were students at Palmer College of Chiropractic in Iowa.

"It's sort of like the Harvard for chiropractics," Dennis says.

A native of Canada, he was a senior there and in a student teacher position. Callie was one of his students when they met. They did not begin dating then.

Their first date was Valentine's Day three years ago.

"I gave her flowers on Valentine's Day, but she asked me out," Dennis says.

Callie quickly clarifies. "I said I couldn't do lunch, but I could do dinner."

During their dates, they were attracted to each other because they found out they came from similar backgrounds.

"Even though we came from different countries, our lives are very much the same."

Their courtship became a long distance one as Dennis graduated and practiced in South America while Callie was finishing school. He came to Callie's hometown of Danville and opened their business, Danville Family Chiropractic, in the old post office building a few weeks before she graduated.

They opened their business together two years ago, knowing that they eventually would seal their arrangement with a lifelong commitment. He proposed at Christmas in 2002.

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