A hot plate of poutine from Dayton’s finer diner and a demon steed helped Brad Roediger and Karen Maner find love.
“It's... true-esque? In the sense that it really captures our essence,” Karen said of the tongue-in-cheek horse story she shares in detail below.
This Saturday, Oct. 26, the Celina native and Dayton native will tie the knot in Wapakoneta.
First we are pronouncing them Daytonians of the Week.
>>RELATED: What's in it for you to give back to Dayton?
We asked the creative and community-minded McPherson Town Historic District residents to answer a few tough questions before their big day.
Some of the answers are really creative. 😜
What do you do?
BRAD: I am the Community Relations Manager for CareSource.
KAREN: I write creative nonfiction, I raid tombs for ancient artifacts, and I manage grant and scholarship programs in the arts for Culture Works.
What makes your partner so great?
BRAD: Karen is great because she is absolutely brilliant, and reminds me of that when we are in an argument. She doesn’t do it actively. I just come to the realization on my own that there is no way to beat her in an argument.
KAREN: Before we were dating, something that struck me about Brad every time I saw him at a professional event — or even jogging on the bike path — was that when he saw people he knew, he'd smile, wave, and then move toward them like he hadn't seen them in years and couldn't wait to give them a hug. He's a uniquely approachable and generous human being. But the thing I've come to respect and appreciate most about him over the past four years is that he's constantly evolving. Everyone wants to say that they're open-minded and adaptable, but in reality, it's rare that people live up to that. Brad really listens to what people say, and even if it isn't always obvious in the moment, when he encounters an idea or a perspective different from his own, he takes it home and spends time reflecting on it. He's taught me a lot.
How did you fall in love?
BRAD: I was in the forest chopping wood when she came galloping by on a runaway horse. I immediately calmed the horse down and then we went on a walk. After hours of conversing in the forest, we fell in love.
>> Dating in Dayton? Here’s some Date night suggestions?
KAREN: I really don't care for horses. I don't wish them any harm, but don't they look kind of satanic? They're just sweaty masses of rippling muscle with death-anvil feet. Anyway, I'm glad my car broke down that day and my only option was to ride my neighbor's demon steed to the bank. Otherwise, Brad and I might never have met.
What is your secret superpower?
BRAD: I have an almost unending supply of energy.
KAREN: I can send nearly any mammal into a deep slumber with my voice.
What is your partner’s secret power?
BRAD: Her secret power is treasure hunting.
KAREN: He's trained a small flock of birds and a family of squirrels to wake him up at dawn and prepare his breakfast. This way he has more time to whistle at the horizon and clear the clouds away each day. I mean, it's cool, but I kind of miss sleeping in until noon on the weekends.
What is the one word people would use to describe your partner?
What do you love about life in Dayton?
BRAD: I love that Dayton has a small-town feel with big-city amenities.
KAREN: I love that there are so many different kinds of arts activities. That when I hang out downtown I hear "Hey!" and "How are you?" from so many friends and familiar strangers it's kind of like living on Sesame Street sometimes. That we have so many gorgeous hiking and biking trails. That the other day I drove past a yard filled with UFOs and alien statues and could discern no reason for the decor.
What would you do on a perfect date in Dayton?
BRAD: Our first date. We walked to Corner Kitchen for a wonderful dinner, then walked to a rooftop party. Finishing with a night cap at Century Bar and some great conversation on the walk back home.
KAREN: That's definitely a good one. Poutine (french fries and cheese topped with a brown gravy) and macaroni at Corner Kitchen is always my first pick for date night.
RELATED: Where to find poutine in Dayton
What would you change about Dayton?
BRAD: I would add more activities near the river.
KAREN: I'm all about getting a roller rink downtown again.
What should people know about Dayton?
BRAD: You won’t find a better place to live anywhere in the state.
KAREN: I think it's very special how Daytonians, especially in my generation, go out of their way to help make each other's projects happen and create opportunities for their peers.
What is your favorite hidden gem in the Dayton area?
BRAD: Siam Pad Thai
KAREN: Please come back to us soon, SPT! Not sure this really counts as "hidden," but Wegerzyn Garden is one of my favorite places on Earth. My dad had a plot in the community garden area when I was growing up, and sometimes, while he was doing all the hard work, I'd explore the rose garden or watch the remote-controlled planes flying over the field nearby. Once, there was an archaeological dig happening, and the researchers let me peer into their big pit. It's a magical place.
Why did you decide to put down roots in the Dayton area?
BRAD: It was really by chance but then I grew to love Dayton in the early 2000’s even though it was going through some really tough times. I could tell that there was a lot of opportunity here.
KAREN: I was born here, and I lived in a few other places for a while, but I missed Dayton for all of the reasons in the answers above.
What’s your guilty pleasure?
BRAD: Rye Whiskey and O.C. reruns.
KAREN: I try not to feel guilty about things that bring me joy, but sometimes I do like to play eight straight hours of video games while eating golf-ball sized dollops of sour cream on tortilla chips. I think that's...probably not the healthiest.