Dan Ryerson and Selene de la Pena Garza were acquaintances working the graveyard shift at Perdue Farms Inc. when -- out of necessity more than anything else -- they struck up a friendship.
There aren't a lot of young people at Perdue, they explain. And few of them work the third shift.
Dan, a 1992 graduate of Dulaney High School, grew up in Phoenix. After earning a degree in food science and technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in Blacksburg, Va., he was hired by Perdue. After about a year with the poultry giant, he was transferred to the company's Georgetown, Del., facility in February 1998.
Selene, fresh out of Our Lady of the Lake University of San Antonio, Texas, with a degree in business administration, had started at Perdue the month before. It was Selene's first job and the first time she had lived away from her family in Texas and Mexico.
When she and Dan met, he was a food-safety coordinator (he is now a quality-assurance supervisor at Perdue's Salisbury plant). Selene, a human-resources representative, was processing his staff's timecards.
Dan and Selene remained professional acquaintances even after they moved into the same apartment building later that spring. During an interview, her future landlord told Selene what a great guy Dan was -- "the kind of guy you take home to your parents." Selene replied, "I'm looking for an apartment, not a boyfriend."
But because they worked the same shift, they kept running into each other in the apartment building and at a nearby park. Soon, they were planning outings together. They would meet for walks or bike on Assateague Island. By summer, they were making Saturday jaunts to the beach. Without discussing it and almost before they realized it, they found themselves dating.
Selene met Dan's parents, James and Sally Ryerson of Phoenix, while she and Dan were still "just friends." In December 1998, Selene decided it was time to take Dan home to San Antonio to meet her father and stepmother, Armando and Elvia de la Pena Garza, and her brothers, younger sister, grandmother, aunts, uncles and assorted cousins.
Dan fit in right away with Selene's relatives despite a language barrier -- he speaks little Spanish and many of Selene's relatives do not speak English.
The couple returned to Salisbury with a deeper commitment, and last spring, began discussing marriage. In August, Dan proposed at sunrise on the beach in Ocean City. Then they flew to Texas so Dan could ask Selene's father for his blessing.
On Feb. 26, Dan, 26, and Selene, 24, were married at the chapel at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. Dan was escorted down the aisle by his parents. Selene, escorted by her father, wore a ring that belonged to her late mother, Dora Lilia Garza Galaviz. Dan's brothers James and William and Selene's brothers Armando and Juan served as ushers. The Roman Catholic wedding was conducted in Spanish and English.
During the ceremony, Dan and Selene were encircled with a decorative white satin lasso, symbolizing their union. Also in accordance with Mexican tradition, Dan presented Selene with coins that represent his willingness to provide for her. In accepting them, Selene demonstrated her commitment to sharing their wealth -- monetary and otherwise.
After a honeymoon in Cozumel, Mexico, Dan and Selene returned to Salisbury and moved her belongings into his apartment.
As for the landlord, he's happy with the way things worked out.
Pub Date: 03/12/00