This fabulous couple needs little introduction to our bluegrass readers. I was lucky to work with them both of these talented folks during my time on staff at the Carnegie Center. Introducing…
Neil Chethik and Kelly Flood
Years Together: 31
Years Married: 27
Tell us a bit about yourselves…
We moved to Lexington 22 years ago as a young married couple and fell in love with the place. Kelly was minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington at the time, and Neil was a freelance writer. They raised their son, Evan, in Lexington. Evan is now 20 and a sophomore at New York University. Kelly is now a state representative in the Kentucky Legislature and Neil is director of the Carnegie Center for Literacy & Learning.
How did you first meet? Was it “love at first sight” or were your “just friends”?
We met while Neil was covering politics for the Tallahassee (Fla.) Democrat newspaper and Kelly was an aide to a state legislator. Neil thought Kelly was draw-droppingly beautiful. Kelly thought Neil was “interesting.”
Where did you go on your first date?
The Bahn Thai Restaurant in Tallahassee. Neil ordered the Happy Seafood.
Where did you share your first kiss?
That happened a couple of hours after Neil ordered the Happy Seafood. Fortunately, he took a breath mint before the kiss.
When did you know that he/she was “the one”?
Kelly knew about two years into the relationship. It took Neil another year to get used to the idea.
Tell us about your engagement proposal…
We were camping near the Kern River in Southern California. There was no one else in the campground. Dinner was over. The campfire was lit. Neil was nervous. Then he said: “I have a question for you.” She said: “Yeah, what?” He said: “Will you marry me?” She said nothing. He said: “If you need some time to think about it.” She said, “No. I mean, yes!”
When and where were you married?
We were married at the Brazilian Room at Sam Tilden Regional Park in the hills of Berkeley, Calif. It was a gorgeous, sunny, April day. One hundred fifty of our favorite people from around the world showed up to support us. One of the best parties of our lives!
He Said/She Said…
My partner’s best quality is…
Neil: Kelly’s best quality is her unbridled loyalty to family and friends.
Kelly: Neil’s best quality is his kindness.
The thing about my partner that drives me crazy is…
Neil: Kelly likes order. Sometimes I like disorder. But she’s gradually coming around to my way of thinking.
Kelly: Neil leaves messes. I don’t like messes. But he’s gradually coming around to my way of thinking.
My number one piece of advice about love is…
Neil: Nurture your partner’s dreams. Find out what your partner’s hope for his/her future is, and then do whatever you can to support that dream. It’s hard not to love someone who supports your dreams.
Kelly: Make a date night a regular part of your schedule. Don’t make it a night just to be together, but to be together as a couple, as lovers, as partner and spouse. Do this especially if you kind-of don’t want to.
Thank you, Neil and Kelly for sharing your story with us! One final lovebirds installment this week to close out the month of love.
To true love,
***All images were provided by the participating couple***