Couple keep surprising each other; and keep relations surprisingly strong


Rodney and Melanie Meads, winners of The Daily Advance Valentine's Day Story contest, relax in the living room of their Camden home, Sunday.


By Chris Day
Multimedia Editor

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Rodney Meads says it’s the little surprises that help keep his marriage to Melanie fresh and strong.

Those surprises include not telling her that he’d entered them in The Daily Advance’s Valentine’s Day contest until after being notified that he had submitted the winning entry. 

“Oh, I’ve got to tell you something,” is how Rodney brought it up, Melanie said. “So, I was surprised that he had done something like that.”

“It’s those little surprises,” Rodney said, laughing. “She keeps me guessing and I keep her guessing.”

The happy couple are the winners of The Daily Advance’s annual “Best Valentine Story” contest, in which this year the newspaper asked couples what they do to keep their love fresh and strong. For their story, they were awarded a $50 gift certificate to The Circle II restaurant and a Valentine’s Day bouquet of roses from Jeffrey’s Greenworld & Florist of Elizabeth City.

In his contest submission, Meads mentions dating, surprises, like notes left to one another, and laughter as key ingredients to their relationship.

“Dating is a normal way of life for us as we continue to encompass what God has given us to enjoy,” he wrote. “Little notes every once in a while, a card in the suitcase when the other has a trip and laugh, laugh, laugh.” 

Today, Rodney is chief deputy of the Camden County Sheriff’s Office, and Melanie works as a nurse and patient advocate at Sentara Albemarle Medical Center. Both have careers that require frequent interaction and caring for others in their community. That line of work has helped strengthen the bond between them, Rodney explained.

“You know, people need to feel like they’re truly cared for,” he said. 

They met in December 1999 on a blind date arranged by Rodney’s aunt. Rodney, who grew up in the Weeksville area, had recently retired from the U.S. Air Force. It just happened that their first date was to a performance of the Air Force Band at College of The Albemarle.

They got married in August 2000 and a year later spent their first anniversary on a medical outreach mission to South America.

“Our first anniversary we spent in Guyana,” Rodney said. Guyana is a small nation located north of Brazil and sandwiched between Venezuela and Suriname.   

Melanie recalled a story from that trip to describe the connection she shares with her husband. She said she is not a swimmer, but the group they were with had to travel by boat up a remote river. Melanie wasn’t concerned for her safety, because she knew if something happened to the boat Rodney was there to take care of her, she said.

“I know that I would have been his priority,” she said. “I’m always secure in knowing that I’m safe and taken care of.”

The two attend Riddle Pentecostal Holiness Church in Shiloh, and Melanie frequently performs medical outreach missions overseas. In recent months she’s worked in Nepal and Haiti. They also like to travel together when their schedules allow. 

“We try to take a couple of week-long trips out of the year,” Rodney said. 

Asked what their plans were for this Valentine’s Day, Rodney referred to the contest prizes.  

“I might save a little money,” he said, laughing.


Winning story:

We never stopped dating! This is the first thing that comes to mind in our relationship. We met in December 1999 and started a normal relationship. Didn’t take long to realize how blessed we were to have met. Our love grew and I asked her to marry me in February 2000 and we were married in August 2000. Dating is a normal way of life for us as we continue to encompass what God has given us to enjoy. Little notes every once in a while, a card in the suitcase when the other has a trip and laugh, laugh, laugh! With each other....we never know what’s next. We continue to enjoy one another even more so than at the beginning. As long as we’re dating, we will always be interested in the new things we continue to find about each other and it keeps the LOVE ALIVE!

Rodney and Melanie Meads, Camden


Other contest entries:

My wife, Amber, and I met online about 18 years ago. We dated on and off, and finally got married back in 2015. Love and marriage can be hard to deal with sometimes, but we always seem to manage. From fun, random kayak trips to randomly breaking out in song and doing duets together; from taking impromtu drives deep into the surrounding counties to driving multiple hours to enjoy a concert together. We always seem to make everything work, and always make our time together fun and interesting. She has been in my life since I was 15, and I couldn’t imagine it without her.

John George, Elizabeth City


We read in the Albemarle Life Section of the Daily Advance a question of what keeps your Love so strong, a Valentine’s Day Story Contest. After a recent celebration of 50 years of marriage, Frankie and Alice Meads received 14 different reasons from 14 grandchildren.

“Grandma is the boss.”

“They are friends.”

“They have children.”

“They love each other so much and the Ten Commandments say to love each other and never break up.”

“Grandaddy feeds the ducks every morning.”

“They are kind to each other.”

“Grammy is smart.”

“They couldn’t marry anyone else.”

“They like to talk together, eat together, and kiss together.”

“Grandaddy works hard to bring the money home and he gives it to Grammy.”

“They aren’t quitters.”

“They like each other.”

“They love each other and Grammy cooks food for Grandaddy.”

“Grandad would be lost without Grandma.”

Frankie and Alice Meads, Elizabeth City


Carl and I have been married 60 years on Feb. 1. It has been a wonderful journey. We have 8 grandchildren and 8 great-grands. We were married in our teens and have grown closer together in our later years. We both worked, and knew we were too young to retire so we decided to take up a hobby. We started doing upholstery, and it has been a fulltime job for us. We have been together both in our home and in our shop. We get along so good that we love each other now more than when we were we were first married. God is good to us and that is what we credit our love for each other by serving Him day and night. To God be the Glory.

Carl and Carolyn Forehand, Edenton


On Dec. 1, 1956, Annette Perry and Frank Roberts became engaged and married after she graduated from high school. Frank began college and told Annette that she could date others and had his brother introduce her to his friend Bobby Gregory, and with a tearful parting he began college. She married Bobby, and Frank married his old girlfriend, Becky. Now after the death of their spouses Annette and Frank will marry 61 years later on February 23, 2019.  

Frank Roberts, Elizabeth City 


Love so strong. Wow, as we age it gets better and stronger and stronger. He is younger. We have been married 27 years, we never argue, simply because I don’t know how!

We do spoil each other a lot!

Love is such a peaceful life to live daily.

Marilyn and Alton Butler, Elizabeth City


My parents, Ronald and Marie McEntee, just celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary. They met as teenagers. Times were tough when they were raising 5 children on an enlisted U.S. Navy pay. My dad supported the family financially, as dad did not want my mom to work so she could raise the children and take care of the household. My dad retired from the Navy in 1973. Ten years of that 20-year span, my dad was at sea. My mom and dad are the cutest parents. They do everything together, like traveling, running errands, going to church, going bowling, going to the movies and concerts. But the best thing they have done together is raise their 5 children to the best of their ability. All of them are adults and have their own families. There is no greater love than my parents as they are simply “best buds” for each other.

Linda M. Cotterell, Hertford