EAGAN, Minn. — This summer in Eagan, mosquitoes weren't the only thing buzzing.
“Makes my heart smile every time,” one resident posted on the Eagan Neighbors Facebook page.
“They're our favorite,” wrote another.
Page administrator Jennifer Peery watched as comment after comment landed on the site, and views reached the thousands.
“Eight-thousand views is a lot, I mean there’s only 12,000 people in the group,” Jennifer says.
All that attention, focused on this post:
To the sweet older couple who regularly walks their German Shephard while holding hands in the Town Centre area, thank you. For years I've noticed you while driving around Eagan and every time I do it fills my cup. #truelove #daymakers.
The post was written by Heather Erickson, who’s been driving past the mystery hand-holding couple for years
“I always wonder, what's their story? Who are they?” Heather told KARE 11. “Every time I see them, they're holding hands. Every time.”
Within hours of posting, Jennifer found her answer among the dozens of responses to her post.
The mystery walkers were Bob and Pat Klecker, who had no idea they were being watched – and admired – while on their daily walks.
“Well, we were kind of surprised,” Bob says.
“Because it just seems pretty ordinary to us,” Pat adds.
Despite the eyeballs being cast in their direction, Bob and Pat aren’t holding hands for attention.
“We both were walkers and we started dating, started walking, doing our walks, kind of always held hands,” Bob says.
Bob and Pat started dating in 1988, eight years after first meeting at a church choir practice.
Thrity-two years after tying the knot, they continue stitching together their fingers at every opportunity.
“I guess if you've been doing it all along, it never gets uncomfortable,” Bob says.
He mentions the word soulmate. “A lot of people talk about that, but you're really a lucky person if you actually find one,” he says.
So, with intertwining fingers, they walk, morning and afternoon, five miles a day — the same route for the past 28 years.
The only variable has been the German Shephard by their sides. Anya is their third.
“It's just like this steadfast togetherness that gives me that warm feeling when I see them,” Heather says.
“They have absolutely no idea the impact they're making on the community,” she says. “When I'm 70 or 80 years old, I want to still be that in love with my partner.”
Jennifer smiles, then adds, “I just love them, and I don't even know them.”
At that point, her KARE 11 visitors mention that they happen to know Bob and Pat’s route and walking schedule, which is how she happened to be giving them hugs that very day on their afternoon walk.
“You guys are like our couple of Eagan,” she tells them. “We love it.”
In that moment, as both Bob and Pat hugged Jennifer, their hands came apart.
But then, seconds later, right back together – where they belong.
Ten fingers, making their way through life, as one.
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