As a girl, I have always dreamt of my “once upon a time” someday turning into my “happily ever after.” I was raised on fairy tales and believed with all of my heart that true love conquers all. Prince Charming always finds Cinderella’s shoe and Prince Phillip always awakens Sleeping Beauty with true love’s first kiss. In today’s society, however, happily ever after is becoming harder and harder to find. In a world full of cynics and cheats, is it still possible to believe in the fairy tale?
This past weekend, as I attended the Fork & the Cork international wine and food festival at Mount Airy Casino Resort, I had the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride over the beautiful Pocono Mountains. While standing in line awaiting our turn, my boyfriend and I got to chatting with the couple in front of us.
They had found the fairy tale and I needed to know how.
Pat and Bob Salerno were married at the casino in 1961. Back then it was called Mount Airy Lodge and they celebrated their marriage in a quaint and beautiful cabin in the woods. I asked them what the secret was to their happily ever after. Pat lovingly smiled at Bob and said, “It takes work.”
Love is beautiful; it isn’t easy, but it is worth it. The struggles make you stronger. I have been writing this column now for over a year. When it comes to bad dates, I have had them all. I have spent my whole life waiting for a love like Pat and Bob’s. After all these years, they can still look at each other with a twinkle in their eyes. They still go on dates and often revisit the place where they said their “I dos” 52 years ago.
They took their turn for the balloon ride. Bob, ever the romantic, doting husband, helped Pat into the balloon basket. As they sailed off into the sky waving at us down below, I looked at my boyfriend and said, “That’s what I want in life.” We looked at each other, smiled, held hands and waved back at Pat and Bob.
Maybe this one is it? Is the cycle of bad dates and failed attempts at love broken? I don’t know. What I do know is that it is still very possible to find it. Thank you Pat and Bob for restoring my faith in the fairy tale, and I wish you the very best in the rest of your happily ever after.