Steve and Lea live on Kris Kringle Drive in North Pole, Alaska.
There aren’t a lot of folks you can say something like that about, but it fits this couple like a big warm mitten, which is a comfort where in mid-winter the mercury falls way below zero, the snow piles up higher than a reindeer’s tummy, and the sun shines only about three hours a day.
North Pole is a suburb of Fairbanks in the Alaskan interior 125 miles shy of the Arctic Circle. It is also the little town with a very big name, whose Post Office receives literally hundreds of thousands of letters to Santa every Christmas season. North Pole actually stays busy year-round with streams of tourists stopping by especially in the warmer summertime to buy Christmas gifts in the local trading post gift shop and eyeball the local reindeer herd up close, no doubt hoping to see one with a red nose.
It is also the town that these two adventuresome soul mates from the Lower 48 call home these days. Steve moved up from Montana in 2002, and Lea arrived from Texas in 2009. He’d landed a job as a school counselor in Fairbanks and she was hired as an art teacher at a school over in Anchorage. It didn’t take long for them to find each other, an Alaskan love story that includes a motorcycle ride every bit as memorable as Santa’s big sleigh ride.
“Lea was living over in Palmer in 2011 when we first connected on the Internet,” as Steve tells the story. “We met for our first date in the town of Talkeetna, about midway between North Pole and Palmer. I got on my motorcycle and took the highway that cuts through part of Denali National Park. It was in May and still so cold I had to stop at a roadhouse and thaw out my hands.” Steve didn’t say so, but that’s a 286 mile bike ride that takes nearly five hours, and on the way he could have spotted majestic Denali Mountain, at 20,156 feet the highest peak in North America formerly known as Mt. McKinley, but Steve probably kept his eyes on the road and his mind focused on the lady he was finally going to meet face-to-face.
“I’d been searching on a dating app and I’d kissed a few frogs, so this time I was determined to find a really good man,” as Lea tells her side of the story. “We’d visited online for a while but when he walked in the door I knew my prince had come. The chemistry was just perfect right from the beginning, and then five years later we got married.”
It’s been a fulfilling life for these two 70-year-olds, and they credit their unwavering faith and a unswerving commitment to the Golden Rule as the underpinnings of a wonderful life. “Our faith is really huge and we like to pay it forward,” Lea says. “We always try to think about how we can help other people.”
“We started taking Prevagen about the same time around six years ago,” Steve says. “Things were starting to slip for me a little at school, forgetting things and missing things that I normally wouldn’t, and it was bothering me. So I decided to try something and I saw the Prevagen ads and I thought I’m going to try this stuff. Pretty soon my memory was back to where it used to be.”
Lea tells a similar story about how Prevagen has helped her, and then she embarks on another story, this one about how the male and the female lions in a pride each know their job and they always do it. Lions obviously live a long ways from North Pole, Alaska, but you get the sense she’s not really talking about lions anyway.