CADILLAC - At the top of Cass Street where it meets Division, just at the curve, there's a big house with a fountain in the front yard. You can't help but notice it.

Last Thursday people driving by did a double take - not for the fountain, but to cheer on the homeowners - who were enjoying an elegant night out in the front yard, complete with a gourmet meal, wine and dessert.

Horns honked, people cheered and there were plenty of thumbs up.

After months at home with their blended family of four children, it was time to dress up, get out and have some fun.

Jessica Hawkins is a Hospice and home health care social worker.

"This is a precarious time," she said. "I've been doing phone calls, trying to talk with people to meet their needs over the phone, coordinating from there."

Ulrich, a psychologist, took over home-schooling duties. He set up a classroom for their children ages six and nine plus two 13-year-olds.

"I switched to Mr. Mom mode, being the teacher," he said. "My job was to keep things stable at home. I have a much greater respect for grade school teachers now. I respect them immensely."

Ulrich didn't want the challenges of being home 24/7 to harm their relationship. So he decided they needed a date night.

"He told me we were going on a date, that we were going to get dressed up and that I couldn't come downstairs until he told me to," Hawkins said.

He met her at the car in a suit and tie, opened her door and began driving away.

"We have a really long driveway," she said. "We get down the drive and he reverses about 20 feet and stopped the car. He opened the door and I looked out in the front yard and there's a table set up...so sweet, so super sweet."

"After months of being home in jeans and T-shirts, this was the first time we had been out," he said. "It was nice to wear a tie and she dressed up...I wanted to find a way to keep our romance alive during a worldwide pandemic. I think it's relevant. It's hard on relationships, you have to keep it fresh."

Although the last few months have been challenging, the couple said it has also been a time to count their blessings.

"It's been a time to take a deep breath and look at the big picture," Ulrich said. "It definitely reminds you of what you should be thankful for..."

Cadillac News