It’s Valentine’s Day, a time for chocolate, red roses, and romance!
If you’re visiting Caretell Inn, an assisted living home and skilled nursing rehabilitation center in Bay City, you’ll most likely find Jerry Chobod pushing his wife Leslie down the halls.
He does this every day.
Not even a wheelchair can stop the two from sitting down together to enjoy a favorite treat, vanilla ice cream. But it didn’t start out this way. “The first time he called me and said would you like to go for an ice cream cone, I said ‘I can’t,” Leslie remembers. Leslie and Jerry met in a “Parents without Partners” group in 1979.
They each had two kids from previous marriages which kept them very busy. Needless to say that ice cream date never happened. But the two knew, they had something special. “I wanted someone that would help me raise my kids. I didn’t want to raise them by myself and he was a perfect candidate,” remarked Leslie.
“When we were at the church, the Priest was going to marry us and he looked at me and said ‘Jerry, it’s not too late to back out,’ and I said ‘No, I’m here for the good,’” Jerry told TV5.
As with any blended family, there were challenges. “It wasn’t easy, but we did it,” Leslie said.
The couple credits teamwork and communication. “You have to be on the same page,” says Leslie. “If you have a little problem, you sit down and talk it out, that’s it,” says Jerry.
The couple also says spending time together is important, even when you don’t have to. “I like to read, he likes to watch TV. But those are things we can do in the same room and still be with each other,” says Leslie.
Leslie recently broke her ankle, which forces her to spend several weeks away from home and away from Jerry. “It’s quiet at home without her. So that’s why I try to spend as much time here as I can,” says Jerry.
So much so, Jerry’s only missed one day in three months, and that’s because he didn’t want to get her sick.
But even after nearly 40 years, it’s the ice cream that still brings these two sweethearts together. It gives them a time to reflect back on that first phone call that led to a lifetime of scoops and long lasting love.