Memories fade over the years, but for a Dickinson couple the memory of a date night to Deadwood, S.D., nearly 61 years ago was rejuvenated with the help of CountryHouse Residence, the local community and business in South Dakota.
Richard and Joan Hintz, residents of CountryHouse Residence in Dickinson, have been a couple since the tender age of 15. In 1958 they vowed the vows and walked the walk, becoming husband and wife. Living on a farm near Dickinson, they raised crops and four hearty children together as the years passed.
Through it all, as they became a little less mobile and a little more gray their bond and love for one another never aged. The couple would often find the time for a date night; they would sneak away to Deadwood for a quick get away on weekends — their own little innocent fly-by night.
Eventually, time took its toll on the aging couple who moved into the care of CountryHouse.
Now, years later, the Hintz's once again visited their city of love courtesy of two CountryHouse faculty members who cared for their needs during the trip.
“This is for sure something that has not been done before in senior living,” Tessa Johnson, CountryHouse executive director, said. “We are a memory care home who specialize in helping seniors with dementia and other forms of memory loss so that they can still have moments of joy and continue to live their best life.”
Johnson recognizes the importance of marriage, regardless of the stage of life it is in, and wanted the couple to have the best evening possible. Staff members went above and beyond to provide the couple with a flashback to yesteryear.
Joan Hintz received a makeover for her special evening with her hubby, and Richard was overcome with emotion seeing Joan "all dolled up."
“We are beyond excited to be a part of this magical trip,” Johnson said. “To find the spark that brought them together.”
Abi Rohrer, life and enrichment coordinator at CountryHouse, and Denice Van Doorne, a staff member at the facility took photos of the couple and aided them in the night's events.
A large contribution for this trip came courtesy of Dave Ouellette, owner of The Big Sticks baseball team, who provided the hotel rooms at Cadillac Jacks Gaming Resort in Deadwood, SD., complementary. Rohrer expressed her appreciation of Oullette's generosity and that of Cadillac Jacks and for being accommodating to the Hintzs and CountryHouse Residence personnel.
Cadillac Jacks, which was described as "wonderful" by the couple, provided a friendly atmosphere with gambling, lots of love and laughter for the couple. Inside the casino a song played that reminded the couple of their love for one another. They remarked how like the song by Nat King Cole, their love was "Unforgettable."
Following their time at Cadillac Jacks, the Hintz's partook in a savory dining experience at Legends Steakhouse and Seafood.
While the snow could have dampened the mood of the date, the couple saw the opportunity to revel in some adolescent fun by holding hands and catching snowflakes on their tongues.
“Without a doubt this was a wonderful night and it wouldn't have been possible without the support of our family, friends and community.” the couple said. “Most of all, it wouldn’t be possible without the love we have in our home and truly believing in the idea of living your best life! See you again, Deadwood.”
Travel companions on the road through life, the happy couple took full advantage of their trip to Deadwood and unlocked long, forgotten and often hazy memories all the while making new ones.