Opposites find an attraction


Ruth Langerveld And Rich Tindall

May 30, 1999|By Joanne E. Morvay | By Joanne E. Morvay,Special to the Sun

Ruth Langerveld is a quiet and thoughtful woman. She rarely leaps without looking. She is given to erudite pursuits like volunteering at the Smithsonian Institution, and she is pacifist by nature. But she admits she will dig in her heels on issues that really matter to her.

Rich Tindall says he knows he's loud and brash. A former Navy man and a self-professed "overgrown jock," Rich talks to everyone he meets. He makes decisions with his heart instead of his head. Sometimes, he even has to acknowledge that other people are right, he says with a laugh.

Those meeting Ruth and Rich for the first time wonder -- initially -- what brought these two people together.

Ruth and Rich met in April 1997 at a certification-preparation seminar in Hartford, Conn. They are both orthotists; they make and fit braces for backs, legs and other body parts.

Ruth was living in Washington, D.C. then (she had moved to the city in 1981). Rich had grown up in and remained in Syracuse, N.Y.

On the first day of the Connecticut seminar, Ruth and Rich spoke briefly. Rich asked her out to dinner. She had other plans but when they didn't work out, she accepted his invitation. After the meal, they walked around downtown Hartford "pouring out our lives to each other," Ruth recalls.

Ruth, never married, was ending a relationship that had lingered too long. Rich, a doting father to the two grown children from his first marriage, was separated from his second wife and back to dating.

The next evening, the couple set out for New Haven, Conn., and another evening of dinner and conversation. Rich kept telling Ruth he was going to be in the Washington area twice in the coming weeks. Ruth thought it was just a line. Though she saw a nice guy beyond his blustery talk, she didn't think he was right for her.

Still, she wanted to stay in touch. She had a sports-minded friend she just knew Rich would be perfect for. As Ruth explains this with a giggle, Rich rolls his eyes.

To make a long story short, Rich did come to Washington twice. When he and Ruth's friend didn't click, Ruth finally realized that Rich was serious about pursuing her. Their first "real" date was -- what else? -- dinner and deep conversation.

The couple quickly got past their differences, accepting each other as they were. "If you're going to spend your whole time compromising, why did you get together in the first place?" Ruth asks rhetorically.

"I need someone who will tell me the truth as they see it and not the truth as I want to hear it," says Rich. "Ruth is very capable of weathering any of the stuff I want to kick up, so I don't bother kicking anything up anymore." With a knowing laugh, Ruth lets Rich know he hasn't changed that much.

In January 1998, Rich moved to Riva in Anne Arundel County and began working at Anne Arundel Orthopedics in Annapolis. Ruth works at Orthotic Solutions in Fairfax, Va.

On April 25, 1998 -- one year to the day that they met -- Rich proposed to Ruth on the beach at Sandy Point State Park.

Ruth, 43, and Rich, 51, were married on May 1 in Ruth's hometown of Richland, Mich. The wedding party included Rich's son, Nathan, and Ruth's brother, Mark.

Rich's daughter, Kasha Webster, and her husband, Jon, greeted the 100 guests as they entered the church. Those present included Ruth's father, Neil Langerveld of Richland, and Rich's parents, Joseph and Annette Tindall of Zephyrhills, Fla. The altar flowers were dedicated to the memory of Ruth's late mother, Margaret Langerveld.

As the ceremony concluded, no doubt Rich and Ruth were thinking of a recent conversation they had had.

On a sunny afternoon at Sandy Point State Park only days before their wedding, Ruth smilingly declared, "This is the last time Rich is getting married."

Rich, holding Ruth's hand, just grinned. He could tell by the tone in her voice that there'd be no arguing with her on this one.

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