Bob Haug met Angela Barnes in May 2007 on a bus ride to Tunica, Miss.
“This was a Lacefield music store trip for their three stores,” said Bob, 82, of Fairview Heights. “I wasn’t part of this group, but a couple that I knew was. They invited me to come along. My wife (Pat) of 50 years had died, and this was their way of cheering me up. I like to gamble and it was easy to say ‘yes’.”
The bus made its first pickup in Fairview Heights. Angela boarded on its second stop in St. Charles, Mo., and took a seat next to Bob.
“I really, really do not like sitting in the back of a bus,” said Angela, 65. “His friends were making a deal out of me sitting with him. After everyone was on the bus, I noticed there was another option for seats and asked if he’d rather have his own seat. He said no, he’d rather talk with me.”
By then, they were getting to know each other.
Bob grew up in Granite City and built his home in 1956. He was a carpenter, worked for the highway department and later worked at the racetrack. He is the father of three, grandfather of three and great-grandfather of three.
Angela, who has two daughters, worked for the YMCA in Missouri, in real estate and had a consulting business. She also likes to travel.
“I’d just returned from one and was leaving for India in September,” she said. “Oh, the reason I was on the bus — a woman friend didn’t want to pay single supplement for a room, so I agreed to go as a last-minute fill-in if she couldn’t find someone else.
“I’m not sure there would have ever been any other way to meet. He went to casinos. I didn’t. I lived in (Hazelwood,) Missouri, and had never been to Fairview Heights.”
During that night’s dinner and show, Bob’s friends noticed Angela looking in his direction. That led Bob to take a gamble and ask Angela if she’d like to gamble with him. He later offered her some fudge and asked for her phone number.
“The gambling for me is unusual,” said Angela. “I had a roommate and wasn’t ready to go up to my room yet. Bob says his winning in Tunica was the biggest he ever won — me, and this was after I told him if he was girl shopping to shop somewhere else. He learned to email. He made every effort to find and do things with me I’d enjoy and he made it easy.”
They married in July 2008.
“Pretty fast,” said Angela.
“Pretty slow,” said Bob.
“He told the whole world he was going to marry me,” she said.
Because Angela was a big talker and Bob wasn’t, she had him write a book about himself. He called it “Bamboozled and Outmaneuvered: He Says, She Says.” They recorded conversations they had while on road trips.
“The book wasn’t per se the requirement,” said Angela. “I just wanted a man to actually finish something he said he’d do. Bob did. I learned a lot — probably more than couples married for years would know. We talked — he talked more in the book, and even today people tell us we live what they wish they had in their life. We have another book later titled ‘Love, Laughter and Happily Ever After.’”
On a trip to Branson, Mo., Bob wrote Angela a love letter — something he continues to do.
“After she re-read all the email’s I sent her, she said we could get married,” said Bob. We drove over to Arkansas with my brother Jack and his wife Betty as witnesses.”
Six years later, Angela and Bob are both happy. They get together with friends to play dominoes. They play a game called Sequence at home. They cook together. Angela writes poetry.
Their wedding rings remind them of their courtship.
“Inside my wedding ring, it reads: ‘Whatever it takes. Love, Bob,’” said Angela. “Bob’s ring: ‘Nobody quits. Love, Angela.’”