Football, food and romance


Lizzie Breig And Bob Bestwick

February 13, 2000|By Joanne E. Morvay | Joanne E. Morvay,Special to the Sun

Bob Bestwick's mother told him that if he was hanging around in bars, he'd never meet the kind of girl he'd want to settle down with. Bob disagreed. As a man who is comfortable meeting friends, and making new ones, in bars, Bob thought it would be best to find a woman who could hold her own in the same environment.

Not that Bob was heavily into the bar scene. He didn't go for those Saturday-night clubs where no one is exactly what they seem. Instead, he patronized establishments with a more obvious purpose: football and food.

A die-hard Pittsburgh Steelers fan who moved from Pennsylvania to Baltimore 11 years ago, Bob is usually at the Purple Goose, a "Steelers bar" in South Baltimore, on game day.

And on Fridays after work, he can often be found at Nick's Seafood's happy hour in the Cross Street Market, elbow to elbow with his fellow seafood lovers, chowing down on steamed shrimp and crab legs.

It was at Nick's in January 1997 that Bob met Lizzie Breig. She had come with her girlfriends, but as the night wore on, Lizzie, who says she's actually pretty shy, found herself chatting with Bob. When she and her friends left, one of the girls (with Lizzie's permission) pressed a slip of paper with Lizzie's phone number into Bob's hand.

A sales manager for the Pepsi Bottling Group in Baltimore, Bob showed up for their first date with five cans of soda and juice manufactured by Pepsi.

"I kind of brought it as a [gag] gift," he explains, "but I also wanted to show Lizzie the things that are important to me."

Lizzie, a lifelong Coke drinker, began her transformation into a Pepsi drinker on the spot. (As the couple's relationship continued, Lizzie's friends could tell when Bob was in the doghouse by looking at the brand of soda in her hand.)

Bob says he knew Lizzie was a woman worth wooing when she cooked him a lobster dinner on their third date. It was an impressive meal, and also symbolic: It was supposed to make up for the New Year's dinner Bob had a few weeks before he and Lizzie met. Bob's plan had been to put a difficult 1996 behind him and bring himself good luck in 1997 by cooking a lobster on New Year's Eve. At the grocery store, however, the last lobster was sold to a customer in front of him.

Though his luck turned for the better after he met Lizzie, Bob admits it took him a while to realize how lucky he was.

As the holidays approached in 1998, Lizzie told Bob they needed to take a hard look at where their relationship was going. She delivered what the couple now jokingly refers to as her "ultimatum." She said it in a funny way, but when she told Bob he had until Feb. 15 to propose, it was only half in jest.

As the weeks passed, Bob dragged his feet. "I guess I'm a guy that really doesn't like change," he admits.

Then it occurred to Bob what he would be losing.

Lizzie, who teaches third grade at Elkridge Elementary School in Howard County and is "great with kids," gets along with Bob's family, and was the first woman who made him want to forget about Friday nights with the guys.

"Lizzie is my best friend," he says. "She makes me want to do good things and she makes me want to be my best."

Bob persuaded Lizzie to stick around past her deadline, and on May 23, 1999, he proposed in front of the Cross Street Market.

On Feb. 5, Lizzie, 31, and Bob, 36, were married at St. Lawrence Martyr Roman Catholic Church in Jessup. Bob's dad, Jack Bestwick of Erie, Pa., was his best man. Bob's mother, Judy, and Lizzie's parents, Tom and Sally Breig of Severn, sat among the 130 guests.

And though he might have thought it as he watched Lizzie walking down the aisle, or as he and his new wife danced at their reception, Bob resisted the urge to tell his mother, "I told you so."

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