Love blooms at the community center
When Julie Caruthers and Ron Hubbard attended a dance at the Estacada Community Center several years ago, neither expected to meet their future spouse.
The newlyweds also held their wedding reception at the community center on Saturday, Feb. 16, after getting married on Valentine's Day.
Julie attended one of the organization's biweekly dinner dance fundraisers two years ago. Her mother, center volunteer Elizabeth Reed, instructed her to bring mushrooms they had collected so Ron, who has a background in forestry, could identify them.
"This began over mushrooms," Julie said. "(Ron) identified which mushrooms were edible, and we hit it off."
She noted that they had matchmakers at the community center working with them.
"My mom saved me a seat next to him, and he gave me his number shortly after," she said, adding that she thinks several at the center encouraged him to ask her out.
As it turned out, the pair's connection ran beyond mushrooms. Ron knew Julie's parents, and the two share a series of common interests.
"We listen to the same music, and we'll share a dinner plate. It doesn't matter what we do. We have a lot of fun. We go to bed at the same time and get up at the same time. We're together 24/7, and we're never in each other's way," Julie said, adding that they also enjoy pinochle, fishing, going to dances, spending time at the beach and visiting with their grandchildren.
"It's a very easy relationship. We get along great," Ron noted.
Not long after they met, Julie texted Ron "Happy Valentine's Day." He replied with a series of flower pictures. Shortly thereafter, the two began dating.
After Ron and Julie got engaged last August during a trip to Ashland, they knew they wanted to include the community center in their festivities.
"They watched the whole thing happen. I showed them the ring and they were so happy," Julie said.
The couple feels like they've known each other for longer than they have.
"We've known the same people for years," Julie explained, noting that her father attended high school with several members of the band at the center's dances, whom Ron has known for many years.
Julie and Ron were married on Thursday, Feb. 14, at Eagle Fern Park. Though they live in Gresham, they wanted to hold their wedding in the Estacada area, because that's where they met.
They were married in a small ceremony surrounded by family, and they celebrated with friends at the community center several days later at one of the organization's dinner dances. As an homage to how they met, Julie created a series of mushroom centerpieces for the reception.
They were glad to have part of their wedding at the community center.
"The center feels like a family," Julie said. "Everyone is happy when you're there. They care about you. If someone's not there, it feels like something is missing."
"It's most of the same people (at the events)," Ron added.
The pair is looking forward to their future together and continued visits to the Estacada Community Center.
"It's a miracle for us to have found each other, and get along on so many levels," Julie said. "I wasn't planning on getting married again. I wasn't looking to date, but our stars lined up. They really did."
Join the fun
The Estacada Community Center holds dinner dance fundraisers from 5-8 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of the month, with live music from the Classic Country Connections Band. The cost is $8 per person, and proceeds benefit the center's Meals on Wheels program.