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Dave Olson, Published December 26 2012

'When I'm around him, I have no fear': Woman nominates boyfriend as person of year

FARGO – She had battled cancer and weathered a painful divorce. So, by the time 2012 rolled around, Mary Morro was looking for fun and maybe a little adventure.

Much to her surprise, she found both on an online dating site.

“I went kicking and screaming onto that site,” said the 51-year-old West Fargo woman, who believes God “absolutely” had a hand in why she gave online dating a try seven months ago.

In her Match.com profile, Morro included her newly minted mantra – “Life is happening right now.”

The line is what caught Carl Smith’s eye.

Well, that and Morro’s photo.

“I saw her picture and I thought she was just an interesting person,” Smith recalled.

“Then, when I started talking to her, she had this motto, ‘Life is happening now.’ It seemed like it would be a good match for the stuff I did,” said Smith, 57, of Fargo.

Smith reached out to Morro via email and ever since the two have experienced one happening after another, from airplane and helicopter rides to a trail ride in the Black Hills of South Dakota.

All of that, even though Morro has a profound fear of heights and had not been on a horse since one tried bucking her off 30 years ago.

“It’s the weirdest thing,” Morro said of Smith. “When I’m around him, I have no fear.”

Smith said he was surprised when Morro told him she had nominated him for The Forum’s “Person of Your Year” series.

Morro said she and her boyfriend continue to discover things about each other. They both have been married twice, with one marriage ending in divorce and the other through the death of a spouse.

Morro learned Smith’s path to North Dakota was roundabout and that he was born in Trinidad and moved to Long Island, N.Y., as a teen.

After high school, he joined the U.S. Air Force and was stationed in Grand Forks.

Having lived in Dunseith, N.D., for a time, Smith said he decided to invite Morro to join him on a visit there shortly after they started dating.

“Everybody I met told me the same thing,” Morro recalled.

“Ninety percent of the time it would be: ‘Carl is such a good guy.’ Maybe 10 percent of the time they’d say, ‘Carl is a nice guy,’ ’’ Morro said, adding that her own experience confirms the testimonials.

Now, she said, when Smith suggests they try a new adventure, like zip-lining in Florida (an activity that uses a harness and cable to zip people above gullies and trees), she always says yes, though she sometimes needs to be reminded of her mantra, according to Smith, who credits his mother for instilling in him an enjoy-it-while-you-can approach to life.

He said his mother would often say to him: If you keep waiting for something to happen, you’ll never get it done.

“So, I would just go ahead and do it,” Smith said. “If somebody wanted to join me,” he added, “that would be fine. And then I met Mary.”

Smith and Morro say they are looking forward to sharing more thrills in the coming year, with skydiving high on their list.

“The adventures have been amazing, but they are not the most important thing about Carl,” Morro said in her nomination email.

“He is a man with a heart of kindness,” added Morro, who listed her boyfriend’s many strengths.

“He teaches scuba diving. He has a black belt in Tae Kwon Do. He’s working on his pilot license.

“That’s just his nature,” Morro said.

“And that is the kind of nature I want to have,” she added. “Life is short. It really is.”


Readers can reach Forum reporter Dave Olson at (701) 241-5555


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