Cupid: I’ve been using my arrows to cause people to fall in love since 700 B.C. Nine years ago, a quiver from my bow pierced Jonny Ash. It was nearly Valentine’s Day, and luckily, Jonny knew just what to do.
You: Are you talking about Jonny Ash? The 2018 graduate of MHS who ran track; played football, basketball and baseball; and sang in the choir?
Cupid: The one and only!
You: Jonny was a Valentine’s Day expert?
Cupid: Well, mostly, he knows a lot about those little, pastel, candy, conversation hearts. But he’s also been dating Taylor Thue for nine years. In December, when he got down on one knee and proposed, she said “Yes”. They’re now planning a honeymoon in Hawaii. So he seems to know a thing or two about getting the girl of his dreams and keeping her.
You: Hmmm…not so sure about the conversation candy heart thing, but you’ve definitely got my attention. Tell me more.
Cupid: On the first Valentine’s Day after they met, Jonny invited Taylor to go skiing in the Black Hills with him and his family.
You: Seems like a fool-proof plan.
Cupid: Exactly. Jonny figured they both enjoy sports and the outdoors. Taylor would look cute in a pair of ski bibs. And wouldn’t it be cozy apres ski sitting by the fire and sipping hot cocoa?
You: She must have loved that idea.
Cupid: Well, Taylor thought it was a great plan, but it never happened.
Taylor: My parents said, “No.” I couldn’t go. I was pretty upset at the time, but I guess we had only been dating for two weeks. And I was only 13.
You: Wait. You were only 13. How old was Jonny?
Taylor: He was 14. We met when I was in seventh grade and he was in eighth grade.
You: Was it love at first sight?
Taylor: Kind of. We both heard this loud beating.
Cupid: Your hearts?
Taylor: Not exactly. We both played the snare drums. We were standing next to each other at a Milbank Middle School marching band contest in Groton.
You: But you knew right away he was the one for you?
Taylor: Not exactly. I really started to like Jonny when my friend Tori Quade and I became student managers for the boys basketball team in seventh grade. I thought he was really good at basketball because he shot a lot of 3-pointers.( I also remember thinking he should smile more.) We spent a lot of time shooting baskets in the gym at Unity Square those first few months. Jonny still shoots half-court shots to try to impress me any chance he gets.
You: Doesn’t seem like quite enough to win you over after that skiing-date disaster.
Cupid: That’s where you’re wrong. Have a little faith. Tell him what you did instead, Jonny.
Jonny: Well, I remember writing her a Valentine’s Day letter using conversation candy hearts. I was pretty proud of it.
Taylor: He should be proud of it. It was very cool. I still have it nine years later.
Cupid: He stole her heart with those candy hearts. “Love Bug” , “Tweet Me”, ‘You Rock “, “Puppy Love”, and “Sweet Pea”.
Cupid: Yep. Jonny did a lot for the conversation hearts business. They are now the most popular Valentine’s Day candy in 17 states. I imagine South Dakota will also be going on that list sometime soon.
Taylor: Now that I’m a bit older I prefer a box of assorted chocolates. Jonny likes Dove chocolate a lot, but his favorite is still the conversation hearts
Cupid: How could he forget his lucky charm? (And they say Taylor is the more romantic and sentimental one.)
Cupid: So maybe you can help us settle the age-old question: Do opposites attract?
Taylor: We have a lot of similar interests and beliefs, but Jonny is very laid-back, relaxed, and practical. I’m more fast-paced and easily stressed out. He balances me out in that way and has always been a very calming presence. He’s definitely my voice of reason.
Jonny: I think we’re a good mixture of both. We’re similar in our values and how we view relationships. We’re most different in our favorite hobbies — I watch sports and play video games to relax, whereas Taylor likes to read or watch her favorite shows. Nothing too crazy!
Taylor: Right. We like watching reality-TV competitions. Our current favorites are Survivor and The Great British Baking Show. We also like golfing together in the summer, although I usually prefer just to drive the cart. Mostly, we enjoy spending time together, even if that means I’m reading a book while Jonny is playing video games.
Jonny: We also enjoy cooking new meals. In the summer, we like to go on walks.
Cupid: Now you know the secret of what drew them together. Want to know their secret for staying together?
Taylor: Supporting each other and always saying “I love you.”
Jonny: Stay patient and forgiving. Allow your partner to learn from their own experiences and grow together through shared experiences. Sharing strong values and seeing the big picture are also important.
Taylor: Be patient with each other and allow each other room to grow. If you love each other and want to stay together, be willing to have the conversation and work through it together.
Cupid: What’s the first thing you think of when I mention the last nine years?
Jonny: It went by incredibly fast!
Taylor: I can’t imagine the last nine years without him!
Cupid: If you could travel back in time and talk to your 13-year-old self, what would you tell him or her?
Jonny: Enjoy life every day and smile more!
Taylor: Relax, it’s not that deep.
Cupid: What do you see in your future?
Taylor: I’m finishing up my English education degree at South Dakota State University and will graduate in May. This spring, I’m a full-time student teacher in eighth-grade reading at the middle school here in Brookings.
Jonny: I work in medical sales in the orthopedics industry. I hope to continue gaining experience in the field as it’s a constant learning job.
Taylor: Our summer will consist of a lot of wedding planning! We’ll have a traditional ceremony on September 23 at Central United Methodist in Milbank. It’s the church where my parents got married 23 years ago.
Taylor: To me, the most important aspect of our wedding is finally getting to celebrate all our years together with the people who have been there with us along the way.
Jonny: Our wedding is about celebrating our past, present, and future relationship. We both want to start a family, own a home, and live a happy and comfortable life together. We also want to travel around the world to see and experience new things.
Cupid: In high school, were you the couple everyone said would be married one day?
Jonny: Yes! We definitely heard that from a lot of people over the years.
Cupid: When I let loose one of my arrows and it hits its mark, it doesn’t matter who you are or how old you are.
You: You can prove that?
Cupid: One of my arrows pierced another young couple – Elizabeth and Philip. She was just 13 when they met, too. Philip was a few years older. From that time on, they only had eyes for each other. They began to exchange letters and started to get acquainted. Finally, when she reached the age 21, they got married.
You: That’s awfully young. How did things work out?
Cupid: We now refer to them as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Phillip. They were happily married for over 73 years.