To a man, literally, Dale Fern, Cody Laster and Richard Baker confessed there was a particular reason each chose Nov. 12, 2013, as the date to marry Theresa Conner, Nikki Zarba and Leila Cothron, the woman each loves: no excuse to forget their anniversary.
Only joking ... not really.
Yes, the significance of the date, the 11th month, 12th day, 13th year was something they were aware of, and yes, it did have a role in choosing Tuesday as the day they entered into matrimony. But it was not because it would prompt them to always remember and celebrate their wedding anniversaries.
For Fern and Conner, of Davenport, personal situations, including an upcoming surgery Conner will need, made today the soonest they could wed. For Laster and Zarba, of Lake Wales, 11/12/13 was the sixth anniversary of the two started dating. As for Baker and Cothron, of Lakeland, getting married today was best summed up when they were officially pronounced husband and wife. A family member called out, “It’s about time.”
In addition to the Lasters, the Ferns and the Bakers had also dated a number of years; the Ferns had dated slightly more than six years, and the Bakers five years.
How each met also differed. The Ferns met on an online chat room. Theresa lived in Kentucky at the time, and six months later moved to Florida to be with Dale. For the Lasters, Cody was introduced to Nikki by a cousin of hers. Nikki used to babysit in her cousin’s neighborhood, where Cody lived. Richard Baker met Leila at a barbecue her sister was hosting.
Dale Fern proposed to Theresa three years ago, after first seeking the blessing of her mother. Cody Laster proposed to Nikki in the parking lot of the Wendy’s on U.S. 27, in Lake Wales. He had just retrieved the engagement ring and each was on their way to work; he as a manager trainee at Wendy’s, and she across the highway at the Racetrack convenience station. Richard Baker proposed to Leila inside the jewelry store where he purchased the engagement ring.
None of them planned on going to work Tuesday. The Ferns didn’t specify what their plans were. The Lasters were heading to the beach. The Bakers would not be taking their honeymoon until March, but for Tuesday, and with family, their next stop after leaving the courthouse was for breakfast. Someone suggested Fred’s Southern Cooking. That way Leila Baker’s son, Ethan, could eat bacon to his heart’s content.