Several of the couples who have been guests at Fern Forest Treehouse met in online dating sites. A few sealed their engagements here. Our latest visitors, Colleen and Dave, met in an internet chat room where people were discussing anything relating to Boston. She was running the vegetable stand at her dad’s farm an hour south of Boston, and Dave lived west of Boston, so their initial dates were virtual ones. Then he came to the farm for a weekend and won her heart. That was thirteen years ago.
Dave knew at once that he loved Colleen. It took her a little longer to warm up to this avid member of the Society for Creative Anachronism. She had all she could do getting along in modern life and wasn’t interested in living in the Middle Ages. But Dave’s kindness and sense of humor eventually won her over.
Colleen has a son from a previous marriage and when her parents divorced, her mother moved in with her. Dave has two sons and when his father developed Alzheimer’s, he moved his dad into the spare room. His dad doesn’t do well with change, and relocating him to Colleen's house was out of the question. Snuggling three strangers into his own house wouldn’t work either. So he and Colleen decided to keep things as they were.
It’s a sensible arrangement because when Dave isn’t off jousting or sword fighting or cooking over an open fire, he’s a fireman and emergency medical tech on duty three straight days a week. His sisters look after their father and Dave’s sons when he’s at the firehouse.
“I’d only be able to see Colleen a couple days a week anyway,” he says. Besides, she’s busy selling farm produce, keeping up with her massage business, and doing a little artwork. But they talk every day, either by phone or computer, and when they do manage to get together—like a weekend in a treehouse—they revitalize their love on a mini-vacation. There’s no arguing about whose turn it is to do the dishes, who’s spoiling the kids, or an extravagant charge on the credit card.
After more than a dozen years of back-and-forth dating, Dave and Colleen are committed exclusively to each other. She grew her beautiful wavy hair to her waist because he likes it long. When I asked what she loves best about Dave, Colleen said simply, “He’s a good man.”
Actually, now that I think about it, these two may have come up with the ideal way to have a relationship. As author Stephanie Perkins says in her novel Anna and the French Kiss, "For the two of us, home isn't a place. It is a person. And we are finally home."