‘How I Met My Mate’ 2023: Rockwall County couples share their love stories

ROCKWALL COUNTY, TX (Feb. 8, 2023) Each year for Valentine’s Day, Blue Ribbon News asks local couples to share stories of how they met. Their tales of true love are often sweet, funny, and sometimes quirky – but always a big hit among readers. This year’s submissions are featured in our latest print edition which just hit mailboxes this week, but you can read all of them below and follow us on Facebook to see our participating couples spotlighted throughout February.

Also on Facebook, stay tuned for the names of several of these lucky participating couples who will be randomly selected to win gifts from our local prize sponsors, including: Zanata, $50 gift card; Samee’s Pizza Getti, $25 gift certificate; Rockwall Body & Soul Massage, couples massage; Dodie’s Cajun Diner Rockwall, $50 gift certificate; and Lakeside Florist, a bouquet of a a dozen red roses.

If you missed the opportunity to submit, please email your story, in 250 words or less, to editor@blueribbonnews.com and we will do our best to share them here and/or our on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/blueribbonnews, throughout February. 

Anthony and Shawna Holewinski

Match-Up at the Museum

Anthony and I met like any other millennial couple – Tinder. I (36) moved to Texas from Minnesota in May and he (34) moved from Washington in September. We had both been divorced for three years and we both had two boys. We matched, talked for about a month before we decided to meet. With having kids, it’s hard to find time to date. Our first date was at the Perot Museum with his boys. It was love at first sight. We hugged, he stole a kiss while his boys weren’t looking, and we entered the museum. We had such a good time and didn’t want the date to end. We ended up seeing each other the next day and we’ve been inseparable ever since.


David and Alicia Vega

‘I Call Her My Angel’

In the Spring of 2003, I was sitting in a Whataburger in San Antonio, TX with my brother and sister-in-law. My sister-in-law asked, “So are you seeing anyone special?” I said no but I believe she is out there, and I can’t wait to meet her. I don’t know why but I believe I will just know it when I meet her. My sister-in-law jokingly said it sounds like you are holding your hopes too high, but you should do what you trust is right for you.

Fast forward a couple seasons later and I am on my way to a Fall business/social function. I didn’t feel like socializing but thought to myself “what if she is there tonight?” Lo and behold my vision came to life. I was immediately struck by her presence; approached with great anticipation and learned she was in fact a beautiful soul. We were amongst a hundred or more people but as we engaged with one and other everyone seemed to disappear. We spent the next several hours together and ended the evening with a simple, yet powerful, kiss. The rest as they say is history.  I call her my angel because it felt like we met through divine intervention. Almost two decades later we have had our ups and downs, but I am happy to report we continue to share the same level of enthusiasm for each other. Our friends sometimes tease us about being too “lovey-dovey,” but we live a blessed life.

Submitted by David Vega, Founder & CEO of Rockwall Capital Group.


Game of Love

Ruben and Jannette Flores  

“Do you like to play board games?” was one of the first questions Ruben asked me, as we sat down over espressos outside a coffee shop on a clear Saturday evening. Unbeknownst to passersby, we were meeting in person for the first time. We had been MySpace friends (before Facebook was ever a thing) for four months prior to meeting that night. In the months leading up to our first date, emails would fly back and forth, prompting chuckles, deep questions, and honest answers. It was an online friendship that had started out purely platonic. After all, meeting “someone from the internet” was still considered taboo at that time. But on a whim that day, we agreed to meet anyway, in an effort to continue our entertaining and thought-provoking email conversations. What we were not prepared for was a coffee date which changed the trajectory of our friendship forever. We knew that it was more than just the caffeine causing our hearts to race.

“Actually, yes! Puzzles, too. How about you?” I replied. Fifteen years and three kids later, Ruben and I still sip coffee as we pour over puzzle pieces and break out challenging board games, grateful for the love and great friendship we unexpectedly found.

Submitted by Jannette Flores. Ruben and Jannette have resided in Fate for over 5 years with their three children. Ruben is an Assessment Coordinator at A&M Commerce and Jannette is the Dean of Learning, Innovation, and Teaching Excellence at Westcliff University. 


Ariana and Kelly Kistner

Love Ignites

It wasn’t exactly love at first sight – not even like at first sight, to be honest. Our first encounter was in 2012 at the hotel bar where we were both attending a Fire Marshal conference. Kelly came walking into the bar and he caught my eye immediately.  He was tall, handsome, and scanning the room for someone special.  He walked right up to my table, completely ignored me, and asked the friend I was with to go talk.  I thought what a shame, all those good looks wasted on a guy who was so rude.

Our paths continued to cross due to work and we were cordial but not exactly friends, but it all changed in 2015, leaning up against a pool table at the National Fire Academy. We stood there talking for hours.  We spent the next few years as just friends; we were both happily married at the time, we just became each other’s wingman and standing lunch and dinner partner when we were traveling for work.

Then in 2018, after I had lost my husband to cancer and his marriage had ended. He was traveling through Rockwall for business and asked to meet for lunch. We met at Zanata’s and spent over three hours just talking. They say that love finds you when the time is right, and the timing was perfect for us that day. Our great friendship turned in to love over a wood-fired pizza. We eloped in the Valley of Fire State Park in the fall of 2019.

Submitted by Ariana Kistner, Assistant Chief/Fire Marshall at Rockwall Fire Department.  


Eva and Cory Cannon


It was the early 90’s grunge era. I was the pretty, popular drill team dancer with a major wild streak and “reputation.” He was the hot, moody saxophone playing band guy with long hair who was secretly scared of me and wouldn’t give me the time of day. He drove a black 1956 Chevy C-10 with a white stripe that was rare for a high schooler but very noticeable, and I worked at Albertson’s and would stalk him every time I saw that truck in the parking lot, much to his chagrin.

The summer after graduation in 1994, he took a college photography class and needed a model for a project. Who would be crazy enough to take pics in the middle of the night in a park, soaking wet? EVA! This led to us finally starting to date…only for me to run off a few weeks later like the wild 18 year old I was, on to another adventure.

So life went on for us both for the next 15 years. We both got married and had kids and got divorced. In 2009, as I was going to bed one night I got a Facebook friend request from Cory Cannon and my heart dropped. Within a week, we had reconnected. Six months later we were together, a year later we moved in together, and in 2011 we got married. The life we have is amazingly beautiful and our love is uniquely boundless. We truly were meant to be.

Submitted by Eva Cannon, Founder/VP Marketing of Siren Rock Brewing Company.


David and Sylvia Kidd

Book of Love

In so many ways, luck played a role when David and I met in San Antonio.  I had just moved into my new apartment, and David was walking his Great Dane.  Many of my friends knew him, and they stopped to talk with him. Me, I was not impressed and wanted to move on! However, we repeatedly ran into each other over the coming weeks. Shortly thereafter, he asked me if I wanted to go to dinner to celebrate my 21st birthday.  Well, who doesn’t want to go to a fancy dinner to celebrate their 21st birthday?

When we met that evening, I noticed he had a book in his bookcase that housed a book that I was currently reading, Nicholas and Alexandria by Robert K. Massie.  Who reads Russian history?!  The story is of the Romanov Family, and Nicholas was the last Russian Tsar. I love history, and finding someone with the same interest as me was truly wonderful.  One of David’s degrees is in History. David had traveled to many parts of the world, and we began discussing the different books we had read and how similar our taste in books was.

The rest is history…we had so much in common! We had a military wedding at Fort Sam Houston.  Shortly thereafter, we were transferred to Bamberg, Germany, and I was an Army Captain’s bride. That was 45 years ago! We still read a lot and discuss what we’ve learned. So, to say that I am thoroughly impressed by David Kidd is an understatement!

Submitted by Rockwall resident Sylvia Kidd with Ebby Halliday.


Marcy and Alidor Lefere

Restaurant Romance

Marcy actually saw me at church with my kids. This woman (now my wife) then started coming to the bar [Zanata] for her spinach and gorgonzola with salmon entrée. She asked the bartender if I was dating anyone. So I went up to say hi, as I hadn’t seen her in years, to see how she was doing. She started talking about this camp where her kids go each summer and suggested my kids may like to go there. I listened to her talking about this camp, thinking she was beautiful, so didn’t really pay attention to what she was saying.

Well, later that evening, she messaged me, an essay, on Facebook about that camp, even sent me a link. I replied thank you and remembered how beautiful she was that night. She continued to visit the bar and we talked more there and again via Messenger. Then, during one of our lunch visits at the bar, it clicked. I should ask her out to get to know her better.

Don’t forget I’m a man; it took me a minute to figure out what was happening. I’m lucky that I went to church that day to be married to this beautiful woman who was determined. I proposed to her at the restaurant and my kids are going to that camp this summer.

Alidor Lefere owns Zanata in Downtown Rockwall. 


Lissa and Steve Robertson

Love’s a Funny Thing  

Many years ago – 45 to be exact, in a land far, far away, in Sioux City, Iowa, (well, it seems far when you’re driving the 14 hours to get there from Dallas), there lived a young girl who worked as an inventory clerk at an automotive warehouse. Her responsibility was to keep track of what came in and out of the warehouse. Something a computer does now. Her name was Lissa. Yes, there are 2 s’s. It’s Melissa without the m-e.

Lissa became friends with Pam in accounts receivable. Pam had a brother named Steve she wanted Lissa to meet. Pam kept saying, “You need to meet my brother; he’s crazy just like you.” What did she mean by that? So the meeting got pushed back – by Lissa. No need to rush into meeting someone who was “crazy”.

On Tuesday, September 27, 1977 Pam took matters into her own hands. She and Lissa were headed out for lunch. Driving her Ford Pinto, Pam said she had to make a stop. She pulls up in front of this carwash and out walks this good-looking dude. He was tall, had broad shoulders, muscular arms, beautiful sandy colored, wavy hair down to his shoulders with a smile and walk that told you, this guy was fun. You guessed it – Steve.

After quick introductions they headed for Scottie’s Restaurant where they talked, laughed and ate chili dogs. Not only was this guy fun, he was also funny. Lissa remembered her mom saying “make sure you marry a guy with a good sense of humor, it makes the hard times in life a little easier.”

Marrying Steve wasn’t on her mind right then, but seeing him again sure was. So they made plans to meet that evening at Rudy’s, a little bar on the west side of Sioux City. There Lissa discovered Steve was also a good dancer, in a ‘70’s sort of way.

On Wednesday they talked on the phone for hours. Lissa could not believe there was a guy that could carry on a conversation for that long and not sound bored or be boring. They made plans to meet at Rudy’s again.

At the time, Steve shared a place in North Sioux City, South Dakota with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend. They were looking to move to Sioux City, Iowa before winter set in. He was telling Lissa this while at Rudy’s on Thursday when all of a sudden she says, “Why don’t you just move in with me?” She wasn’t sure why she said that, but she did. And he did.

Yes, they moved in together two days after they met. Five months later they were married. And yes, her mother was right, being married to someone with a good sense of humor does make the hard times in life a little easier.

Submitted by Lissa Robertson, who works as Activities Director at Highland Meadows Health & Rehab in Rockwall.