Trips Into Pair-asdise

George Ellerman is the perfect mate. And Kathleen, his wife of 34 years, was willing to put it in writing. As a result, while the rest of us are raking leaves in November, the Cincinnati couple will be spending a week on Cayo Espanto, a private island off the coast of Belize. There they’ll bask in the Caribbean sun and suffer the pampering of a private staff accustomed to catering to the whims of celebrities like Tiger Woods.

Kathleen set all this in motion last September by submitting a poem about George, who earned a Bachelor of Science in 1969 and a Master of Education in 1975, to Coffee-mate’s “Escape with Your Perfect Mate” contest. Opening with the memorable lines, “He doesn’t have Gates’ money/or the looks of Brad Pitt/His hair is graying/and he sags a little bit,” the poem caught the attention of contest organizers and was selected as one of five finalists. It was then submitted for popular vote on the sponsor’s web site.

The Ellermans immediately mobilized and attempted to drum up votes by appearing on several local news programs and scoring an article in a daily paper. Apparently it worked. When the cyber-smoke cleared, Kathleen’s poem had won.

While the Ellermans were surprised, their friends probably weren’t. Kathleen always enters contests, and since 1990 she’s won a Walt Disney World trip for their family of four, a cruise to the Bahamas, a family trip to Sea World in Florida, two tickets for a week anywhere in Europe (they chose Germany), a weeklong trip to Los Angeles to attend an American Movie Classics auction and a three-day weekend in Denver.

The secret, Kathleen says, is that she has to be excited about the contest. She insists, for example, that George really is the perfect mate.

“Although,” she says, “if he’s the perfect mate, then I must be, too.”

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