Those of you who read this blog regularly may know that I’m not a sentimental chap. Indeed, I’m more likely to described as curmudgeonly or grouchy than mawkish or misty-eyed.
However, the following story has managed to warm the cockles of my icy heart, featuring as it does a couple from either side of the Atlantic Ocean who found love thanks to the unlikely combination of Lieutenant Columbo and social media. I know, right?
Yes folks, thanks to a chance encounter on Twitter (all too often a hotbed for hatred, bigotry and dunderheaded keyboard warriors), New Mexico-based Suzanne Gabaldon made the acquaintance of Graham Harris, a Brit based in Essex. She was a divorcee, he a widower, and neither could have predicted love would come a-looking when Suzanne spotted an innocent tweet of Graham’s that said: “There’s nothing on Netflix, I think I’ll stick with Columbo.”
That fateful date was November 4th, 2019. Suzanne replied to the tweet to let Graham know that she, too, was a big fan of the Lieutenant – and things skyrocketed from there. The two struck up an instant rapport via DMs and swiftly upgraded to video conference chats as the relationship blossomed – despite a seven-hour time difference.
“We did a lot of talking about Columbo,” Suzanne recalls. “We laughed about the tumble down the hill in The Greenhouse Jungle. Graham told me his favorite episode was Any Old Port in a Storm and I told him how much I like How to Dial a Murder. We both knew that very day we wanted to be together.
“We watch Columbo together several times a week, texting each other about the episode. We both like Murder Under Glass, so we watch that quite often. We love hearing Columbo yell in Italian!”
Not unlike the scruffy Lieutenant plummeting down that hill in Greenhouse Jungle, Suzanne and Graham’s affections gathered pace fast. In December of 2019, Graham proposed having had an engagement ring delivered to Suzanne in the US. She accepted in a flash and put plans into place to travel to England to meet him in person for the first time.
“People do get surprised when we say we got together because of Columbo. We call Peter Falk our matchmaker.”
That trip took place in March of 2020 with the couple spending a blissful two weeks together, during which time they arranged to get married in May. There was a cloud on the horizon, though: a cloud in the shape of the COVID-19 global crisis.
“Unfortunately while I was in England, the pandemic was declared and countries’ borders were closing, making my return trip to the UK in May impossible,” Suzanne explains. “I barely made it home before they closed down travel between US and UK.
“However, even though the wedding had to be cancelled, we still consider ourselves married. We know we will be, because all we want is to be together. We are strong and know anything worthwhile is never easy. Both of us had been very lonely and we are so happy we found each other. We are kindred souls. Our connection is incredible.”
While the COVID crisis continues to cause delays and uncertainties as to precisely when they will tie the knot, the pair have filed a fiance visa application and the plan is for Graham to uproot permanently to the USA at the earliest opportunity. And you can bet that our mate Columbo will be a reassuring presence in the years to come.
“Graham has an eight-piece Columbo wall hanging, which we plan to hang up at our wedding,” says Suzanne. “We also want to say ‘Just one more thing… I do!‘ when we make our vows!
“People do get surprised when we say we got together because of Columbo, although fellow fans think it’s great. We call Peter Falk our matchmaker. Maybe when we’re finally settled we will even get a basset hound!”
So, there we have it, dear friends. Proof that publicly sharing one’s love of Columbo can open more doors that you’d ever think possible. On behalf of fans everywhere, I wish Suzanne and Graham the very best for the future – and a ‘fingers crossed’ that it won’t be too much longer before they’re finally wed.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go and dab my eyes with a kerchief at the thought that the humble Lieutenant has made love possible between two strangers who lived 5000 miles apart. I think Peter Falk would be absolutely delighted…
If you’ve got a heart-warming real-life story about how Columbo has positively impacted your life, do drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org