In romance movies, love can look like running through an airport, kissing in the rain, or candlelit dinners in a quiet restaurant. While those events can still happen in real life, love’s maintenance and kindling happens in smaller moments: affirming texts, holding hands in the kitchen, or remembering the little things.
For Jarrod Pinkham, a local electrician and former Great Salt Bay Community School girls soccer coach, and his wife Cheryl, a 20-year employee of the Damariscotta town office, it’s those little things – and a lot of laughter – that’s helped them build their loving relationship over the last 30 years.
The Jefferson couple has known each other since high school, just one year apart at Lincoln Academy in Newcastle, where Cheryl Pinkham says they didn’t interact too much.
“We didn’t hang in the same circles, I thought he was cute in high school, but I was invisible to him,” Cheryl Pinkham said.
“I knew who she was,” Jarrod Pinkham said, laughing.
After graduating in 1990, Jarrod Pinkham joined the Army. When he came back in 1993, one of his friends, and a dear friend of Cheryl Pinkham’s, got married, which led to the four of them hanging out, playing cards during a blizzard.
“It wasn’t a real date at first, it was just, ‘Come over, this guy is coming over, and play cards,’” Cheryl Pinkham said.
While that wasn’t the beginning of their romantic relationship, it did start a connection between the two and they grew to be dear friends. They even used to try and set each other up with their friends.
“We were totally nothing but friends for a long time” Jarrod Pinkham said.
“We were inseparable,” Cheryl Pinkham said.
Jarrod Pinkham said he was interested in her and she played hard to get. Cheryl Pinkham said part of her reservations with dating anyone at the time was that she had a 1-year-old daughter, Briana, and she didn’t want to bring anyone in her life that wasn’t going to stay.
“We were best friends,” Cheryl said. “I didn’t want to start dating, have things not work out, and lose him as a friend too.”
It wasn’t until 1995 did they start dating officially, and, according to the couple it just kind of happened.
However, for about a year, the two’s relationship was on again, off again, according to Cheryl Pinkham.
Despite this, Cheryl Pinkham still let Jarrod Pinkham continue to spend time with her daughter Briana, taking her to the playground or to get something to eat at McDonalds.
“He’s always been so good with the kids,” Cheryl Pinkham said.
After the two reconciled, they resumed their romantic relationship, and it wasn’t long before they had their first son, Sawyer, in 1997. Shortly after, Jarrod Pinkham proposed after a softball game, and Cheryl Pinkham said she was just getting out of the shower when he did it.
“I didn’t know if I was ready to get married, but I said yes because I was scared if I said no, he wouldn’t ask again!” Cheryl Pinkham said.
After a long engagement, the couple got married at the Bunker Hill Baptist Church in Jefferson in October 2001 and had the reception at The Taste of Maine in Bath.
In 2003, their youngest son, Gavin, was born.
While two couple recounted the little things that make a relationship work, and how they’ve made it work, they emphasized that everything hasn’t gone smoothly all the time, but they got through the tough times and arguments together and in doing so, they grew.
Jarrod Pinkham said he admires Cheryl Pinkham’s quick wit and what a giving, loving person she is.
“She would do anything to help,” Jarrod Pinkham said.
Cheryl Pinkham said she loves his compassion, patience, laugh and his work as a coach over the years in soccer, basketball, and baseball. During his coaching years, she said it was amazing watching him connect with the kids.
“We’re a good team, Cheryl said.
They don’t often agree on what movies to watch and they said they have some differing political views, but for the things that matter most to them, they’re on the same page.
“We like each other, we love each other, and we’re in love with each other,” Cheryl Pinkham said.
Staying connected is important for the couple and that effort comes easily.
“It’s natural, it’s not something I think about,” Cheryl Pinkham said.
They like to golf together, go on drives, stop in and have cocktails and an appetizer somewhere. Where they end up isn’t so much a priority, but getting there together is.
“We’ll have Jeep dates, where we’ll take the top down and just go on a drive and figure out where we’re going along the way,” Cheryl Pinkham said. “Jarrod will pull up to a stop sign and ask ‘Right or left?’ And I’ll say left and we’ll figure it out from there.”
In addition to their three kids, the couple has a granddaughter, Aubree, and a handful of dogs who love answering the door with enthusiasm.
“The secret? There is no secret. Flirt, date each other, laugh, do your own laundry,” Jarrod said. “Pick you battles and don’t think you as an individual are above the two of you together.”
Cheryl Pinkham, said something similar, and then a little more.
“He’s pretty cute,” she said. “When we’re at a party he’ll wink at me from across the room.”
With their youngest recently moving out, the couple is empty nesters for the first time in their relationship, but they’re looking forward to this next chapter with each other.
They don’t have Valentine’s Day plans, because they think the holiday is a little silly, but as Jarrod Pinkham put it, when the two of them are together, “Every day is Valentine’s Day.”
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