Love notes: Craig couple made every day Valentine’s Day
He couldn’t help noticing the lady with the iguana profile pictures shared his taste in music.
“I met Paul on a music sharing site … my picture kept coming up. I had a picture of an iguana to avoid guys hitting on me. One of the pictures had me kissing my iguana,” recalled Darci Rogers.
On Valentine’s Day 2007, Paul Rogers sent his first love note to the woman he would marry.
“Nice frogs,” he wrote.
“Dude, so not frogs. They’re iguanas,” she replied.
“I know, silly, but you’re kissing him, so he must be a frog,” Rogers wrote back.
He lived in Georgia. She lived in Craig.
It was the beginning of a three-month courtship by chat-message, email, phone, and video, Darci said.
When Paul learned about the annual Grand Old West Days celebration over Memorial Day — and that Darci would have a four-day weekend — he jumped in his truck to make the 1,688-mile trip.
“After three months, he decided it was time for us to meet,” Darci said.
He spent a week here before heading home to Georgia. Darci’s birthday in July gave him the perfect reason to return to Craig.
“We went up on Cedar Mountain, and he pulled a ring of his glove box,” Darci recalled. “I said ‘yes.’ I didn’t even tell my mother. We got married two days before my birthday so that if he forgot our anniversary, he could make it up on my birthday.”
They were married July 11, 2007, at the Moffat County Courthouse.
“I was always kind of a serious person, and I found my fun with him,” she said.
The pair, both previously married, brought children to the union.
“He had custody of two daughters, a stepdaughter, and two stepsons. And I had my daughter … combined, we had four daughters aged 18, 17, 16, and 15 and two sons,” Darci said.
They spent the next year traveling between his home in Georgia and Craig before Darci moved.
As they made a life together, Darci got to know Paul’s spontaneous side.
“Once, he bought a fire truck at an auction. I asked him, ‘Why. Why do you need one?’ He said, ‘I don’t, but it was cheap. And it’s cool, now I can say I own a fire truck.’”
Darci then asked him “OK, what are you going to do with it?” Paul told her, “I’m gonna drive it home.”
A little while later, Paul called Darci again. He was sitting on the side of the road trying to disconnect the siren.
“And I’m going to get a ticket because I’m not licensed to operate the siren,” he told Darci.
Before much time had passed, the sheriff was calling to ask Darci to explain to Paul that he couldn’t use the water cannon on the truck to shoot water off the cliff behind their house and onto the highway below.
After several thousand dollars in fines, Paul donated the “cheap” fire truck to a Georgia forestry office.
“I would hide auction pamphlets, or I’d come home to a 4-wheeler, a boat, or a camper in the driveway,” Darci said.
After a year and a half, she was tired of the heat and the bugs.
“I told him I was miserable in Georgia,” Darci said, adding she was going to return to Craig.
Paul soon followed.
“He found us a house. … He became a Colorado native. He loved Colorado. He got a job at Victory Motors … he also worked at Cook Chevrolet and Cook Ford,” she said.
Paul continued to surprise his wife.
He once found a cuckoo clock at auction and restored it, so Darci could have one exactly like her grandma used to own.
He also frequently left little love notes tucked beside her purse or in her books and magazines.
“I have notes he left for me to find. Just little things like ‘you mean the world to me, I love you.’ This was not just when he was sick; this was through our whole marriage,” Darci said.
In 2014, Paul was at work when a car jack hit him in the head and knocked him unconscious.
“They scanned his head, and during the scan found the tumor in his lungs,” Darci said.
Paul was diagnosed with lung cancer in August 2014.
“We spent the next four years fighting cancer,” Darci said. “He started getting really sick in March 2018. In June, they told us we only had two to three weeks, if that. He told his daughter that he just wanted to make it through our next anniversary.”
Paul died July 16 at the age of 52.
“He died five days after our anniversary, three days after my birthday,” Darci said. “When he was in bed dying, I put my hand in his. I told him I Ioved him and would always love him, and he stopped breathing. That was the last thing I said to him.”
Paul never forgot their anniversary. He always remembered their first message was on Valentine’s Day.
“He used to cook shrimp kebabs in heart shapes,” Darci said.
In one of his last love notes, Paul wrote 100 birthday wishes to his wife, so she would never be forgotten on her birthday.
“We found each other despite living 1,688 miles apart. He told me he was meant to find me. We were meant to be a part of each other’s lives,” Darci said.
In Paul, Darci found the other side of her coin.
“We were so different, and yet, also so much alike. He was a troublemaker, and I was his calming influence, and he was my wild side,” she said. “We could sit and laugh at the stupidest things.”
Through it all, their children remember, Paul and Darci would hold hands.
Twelve years after her first love note from Paul, Darci is facing Valentine’s Day without him.
It’s painful, but no more than any other day without him, she said, adding she wanted to share their love story.
“Valentine’s Day isn’t the only day to celebrate love, each other. The notes, holding hands — those are the kinds of things you should do for each other every day,” she said.
Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.