By Michelle Seeber
PORTALES — Tom and Sandy Simenson of Portales have celebrated 15 Valentine’s Day anniversaries since their marriage on Nov. 19, 1988, in Denver.
The Valentine’s Day they remember most, though, was in 1986, when they lived at Windsor Gardens in Denver before they got married.
“It was a Roarin’ ‘20s party,” Tom, 68, said.
“I probably had a cocktail too many. I invited everyone to our place for a burrito breakfast. Judge Eddie Day, a Supreme Court justice who married us, showed up at our condominium at 7 in the morning with 2 gallons of bloody Marys.”
“I fed them to the plants,” Sandy, 65, said laughing.
Sandy was buying food for the breakfast four hours before the judge arrived and later was asking neighbors if she could borrow chairs for the guests. In all, between 30 to 35 people showed up. Tom did the cooking.
“And that was Valentine’s Day,” Sandy said
“We had some good times at that retirement village,” Tom said.
The couple said they met two or three years before the big party.
Sandy’s niece knew Tom and wanted Sandy to meet him, Sandy said.
“The night we were supposed to go over to his house for supper — biggest snow storm we ever had,” Sandy said. “I wanted to beg off, but she was my niece, and I just felt like I couldn’t do that to her. We arrived at Tom’s. I kicked my boots off and curled up on the couch. My feet were cold.”
“I knew then that was the girl I was going to marry,” Tom said. “Several years later, I did.”
“It helps to be friends before you get married — and several years before that,” Sandy said of their relationship.
Though Tom planned to retire in Minnesota, because he likes to fish, they moved to Portales — Sandy in 1998 and Tom in 2000.
Sandy’s mother, Velma Townsley Chamblee, who lives in Clovis, was in poor health, and Alfred Chamblee, who lived at the rest home in Portales, needed some assistance.
Tom’s big boat now is docked at Ute Lake. They’re happily married, they said, and they manage property in Portales — an occupation they both held in Denver.
“I tell her every day that I love her,” Tom said. “We live together, we work together. We do everything together. We’re very happy.
“We’ve settled in here pretty well,” Sandy said.
As for how the two will spend this Valentine’s Day, they said they didn’t know for sure.
“We’ll probably be cleaning a rental,” Sandy said.
Said Tom, “My partying days have pretty much come to an end.”