Cruising to love


Kelly Nelson And Jesse Lowers

March 19, 2000|By Joanne E. Morvay | By Joanne E. Morvay,Special to the Sun

Jesse Lowers proposed to Kelly Nelson as she sat in a canoe on the Bush River in Harford County. The setting was different from the ocean cruise where they met. But it was as good a spot as any for the young couple who once believed their shipboard romance didn't have a chance.

Jesse and Kelly's story begins in June 1992 when their families were on the same Caribbean cruise. Jesse, then 15, looked forward to the trip. It was sure to hold more adventure than hanging around the house in Middle River.

Kelly, on the other hand, was miserable. She had hoped to go to Europe with her boyfriend and others on a tour sponsored by her Dallas, Texas, high school.

The first night on board, Kelly grudgingly accompanied her young cousin to a teen disco. Jesse was also there, with his cousin. The two chaperones were introduced. They talked through the night. Jesse convinced Kelly that at age 16, she did not need a "serious" boyfriend back home in Dallas. The next day, Jesse and Kelly met for lunch and were inseparable for the rest of the trip.

When the cruise ended, Jesse and Kelly exchanged addresses and telephone numbers. Flying back to Middle River, the 15-year-old told his mother, "I'm going to marry that girl."

Kelly broke up with her boyfriend, and she and Jesse started a regular correspondence that led to frequent telephone calls. What they eventually decided, though, was that the distance between them would allow only a close friendship. So the couple continued to date other people.

Kelly came to visit Jesse during spring break the next year. She and her father stopped by again that fall, as Kelly visited colleges in Maryland and Virginia. But by the time Kelly started school at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in 1994, she and Jesse weren't talking that often. Kelly was in a committed relationship and so was Jesse. The distance that separated the two seemed insurmountable.

Jesse graduated from Kenwood High School in 1995. He attended Essex Community College, but left school in 1996 to work as a hunting guide on the Eastern Shore. He and Kelly talked infrequently.

Then, in the spring of 1997, Jesse and a friend visited Kelly and her sorority sisters in Dallas on spring break. After one of her friends hit it off with Jesse's friend, the two girls took a road trip to Baltimore that Easter weekend. They drove without stopping, spent about 36 hours in Maryland and then drove back to Texas.

It was during that quick visit that Jesse told Kelly: "Get rid of the guy you're dating or I'll never talk to you again."

Kelly did. That May, Jesse spent two weeks in Dallas, visiting Kelly, her parents, Harry and Donna Nelson, and her sister Kristyn. Kelly returned to Maryland with Jesse and spent that summer and this past summer staying with his parents, Mel and Cris Lowers, and his sister Whitney in the family's Middle River home.

Jesse, a hunting and fishing guide as well as farm manager at Gunpowder Game Farm in Baltimore County, asked Kelly to marry him last October as they returned from one of his favorite activities, duck hunting.

"It was a good day for hunting," Jesse recalls, "but I couldn't hit the broad side of a barn."

After graduating from SMU in December, Kelly was hired by Deloitte Consulting in Washington, as a systems analyst.

Kelly, 24, and Jesse, 23, were married March 4 at Essex United Methodist Church. After a reception at Martin's Northpoint, the couple left on their honeymoon: a Caribbean cruise like the one where they first met.

Pub Date: 03/19/00

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.