Tim Taylor didn't ask Leslie Welch what was cooking the first time he met her. What he said was that he needed a new recipe he could use to cook dinner for a girl he had asked for a date.
Leslie thought he was nice -- and cute, to boot.
The first time I saw my future spouse:
She says: “I thought he was really sweet and cute.”
He says: “I saw her in a house ad for the Gazette and she was just so beautiful. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I just want to meet her.’”
On our wedding day:
She says: “I knew I was taking the right step. I knew this was the man I was supposed to spend the rest of my life with, I really did.”
He says: “I was so worried I was going to mess up or do something wrong because I just wanted it to be perfect for her. I wanted it to be exactly what she wanted. I was almost late getting there and I can’t remember why exactly.”
My advice for a long happy marriage:
She says: “Be friends first. And think before you speak, really. Pick your battles.”
He says: “Listen. You need to listen to what they’re saying, not just hear it, and take it to heart.”
"I really was not interested in a relationship at all, but I just thought, 'Well, isn't that some lucky girl that he's going to go cook dinner for,'" Leslie says.
There was no girl, though. The recipe was a ruse. Tim was a copy editor at the Arkansas Gazette in September 1989. He had seen a picture of Leslie, the society editor, in a newspaper ad and decided he just had to meet her.
"Really, we just didn't see each other because the news side would work and do stuff, and features didn't really hang out with us," says Tim, explaining why he hadn't made her acquaintance before that. The news staff sat on one side of the newsroom and the features section was all the way on the other side.
Leslie had just arrived in the newsroom after covering a party when Tim wandered over under the guise of looking through the food editor's cookbooks in search of a recipe.
"I just thought that was really sweet and we talked for a little bit and then he left, allegedly with his recipe," she says.
That was enough to break the ice, though, and Tim made his way back to the features section of the newsroom on a regular basis after that.
"He would come over and just say hi and kind of check on me and we just got to talking and got to be friends," Leslie says.
Their first date was about a month later -- dinner at Bennigan's, followed by a movie, Sea of Love.
"I remember our first date vividly. And then the very next day I wrecked my car," Tim says. "We were going on a second date and I wrecked my car in the parking lot of her apartment complex. I was just so nervous. It was just because she was so attractive and I was so surprised that she would even go out with me."
Leslie drove on their dates for a while, even after Tim had his car repaired.
"I was more than willing to let her drive, yes," Tim says.
Tim tagged along with Leslie when she covered parties and events on weekends, and they did the typical movie and dinner dates, too.
He had a son from a previous marriage -- Daniel was 4 at the time.
"He is a really good dad and until he was sure it was going to be a long-term relationship he didn't just introduce people to his son, so it was a few months before I met Daniel," Leslie says.
And after she was introduced to Daniel, she joined him and Tim for weekend festivals and trips to the park.
Tim's last day at the Arkansas Gazette happened to be the Gazette's last day. He was there for the paper's last publication, Oct. 18, 1991, and left that night preparing to start a new job at Arkansas Business.
"In December 1992, Daniel asked me -- on Tim's behalf, too -- but he said, 'Leslie, will you marry us?' And then Tim pulled out a ring and of course I said yes. It's kind of hard to tell a 7-year-old no," Leslie says. "But then I would have told Tim yes, too."
Tim and Leslie exchanged their vows on May 27, 1994, in the chapel at Pulaski Heights United Methodist Church.
"Daniel not only popped the question, he was the best man when we got married in 1994," Leslie says.
Tim and Leslie also have two daughters, Shelby and Jordan, both of Little Rock.
"In 1998 we became parents twice through adoption -- they're biological siblings -- through the Gladney Center in Fort Worth," Leslie says. "Shelby was almost 2 and Jordan was 4 days old."
Daniel, too, lives in Little Rock and he has a son, Brooks, 8.
Leslie and Tim enjoy traveling -- they took a trip together to New York to celebrate Tim's birthday in July -- but they also don't mind staying home.
"We just like to hang out. We really just like being with each other, really," she says.
They worked together for a while at Alltel -- he in the banking software side and she on the phone side -- in the years after they left the Gazette, and now both work at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Tim is the communications manager for the Psychiatric Research Institute and Leslie is vice chancellor of communications and marketing.
"It's very rare that we get to see each other during the work day. We hardly ever talk about work once we get home in the evenings because we usually either talk it out on the way to work or on the way home," Tim says. "We've been together almost 30 years and we've been married for 25. I've never done anything that long in my whole life. That's a tribute to her. She's my best friend."
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Leslie and Tim Taylor were married May 27, 1994, with the Rev. Vic Nixon (left) officiating. They met when she was society editor at the Arkansas Gazette and he was a copy editor. He pretended he was looking for a recipe he could make for a date. “I thought the girl who he was supposed to be making dinner for was really lucky, but I still wasn’t thinking of me as dating him,” Leslie says.
High Profile on 12/16/2018
Print Headline: He cooked up a successful plan to get to know her