Mother's bid started it all

JUST MARRIED

Beth Crunkleton And Christopher Scarlett

October 21, 2001|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,Sun Staff

Parental approval can sometimes be a tricky part of building a romance, but Beth Crunkleton's mother liked Christopher Scarlett from the start. In 1988, she bought him for her daughter at a charity auction.

Christopher agreed to be in the fund-raiser for CARE, an international relief and development organization, as a favor to his aunt, who was chair of the organization's local chapter. He was happy to see Beth, then 23 years old, instead of her mother when the evening of the date arrived.

Beth had been told that Christopher, then 44, had been listed as one of the city's most eligible bachelors by Baltimore magazine, but aside from that, she says, "I just was taking a blind shot at this."

It was not love at first sight, but, "It was a nice, pleasant evening, a few laughs, a few beers," Christopher says. He was a glider instructor, and he took Beth on a twilight flight and then out to dinner.

Thirteen years after their first date, the couple, both Baltimore natives, got married in an Oct. 6 wedding at the Glyndon home of friends Eric and Jodie Weinstein. A bagpiper played at the Episcopalian ceremony, and an outdoor party followed with music, food and a martini bar.

Marriage was a difficult decision for Christopher, an insurance agent, who says, "I don't have a problem with waiting. I've never been married and I'm 56 years old."

But Beth, a national sales assistant at WBAL-TV, was ready for a more serious commitment, and Christopher did not like the alternative of living without her.

Neither expects marriage to bring big changes. They have built a life together already with an emphasis on giving each other room to do what they want. Christopher enjoys golf, scuba diving, flying and skiing. Beth likes to work on their home in Roland Park, landscape and cook.

"We are different in that regard, which is probably the reason we're together," says Christopher.

Of course, they enjoy spending time together, with friends, walking their dog and traveling. They also find adventures in their daily lives, like trying an interesting bed and breakfast, choosing a restaurant on a whim or discovering karaoke night in a local bar and laughing all night long.

"We've had some of the best times walking into [unfamiliar] places," says Christopher.

Beth likes Christopher's adventurous spirit. "He loves to be the center of attention, he loves to have people laughing," she says. "He is one of the few people in the world I know who can actually laugh at himself."

And she says she has always preferred more mature men. Christopher, in turn, recalls his father's advice that women are smarter and mature faster, so look for an age difference of "10 years or more."

So far, it has worked. Says Christopher of his new bride, she "keeps me younger."

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