Their penchant for boating created a sea of ​​love


The first time I saw my future spouse:

She says, “I thought he was cute.”

He said, “I thought she was beautiful.”

Our wedding day:

She says, “I was just excited.”

He says, “I was hoping everyone at the pool would stay quiet.”

My advice for a long, happy marriage:

She says, “Laughing together.”

He says, “Never go to bed angry.”

Todd Murphy pulled a short straw and had to travel from Texas to Arkansas for work in 2001. That short straw was the equivalent of a winning lottery ticket. He met Laura McBeth on this trip.

Laura and Todd celebrated their 19th birthday on April 17.

“I always tell people that we didn’t meet online,” says Laura, who grew up in Arkadelphia. “We met in the data center. We just skipped the middleman.”

Laura works for Acxiom, and Todd at the time worked for Hewlitt-Packard in his hometown of Dallas.

Todd and his colleagues negotiated weekly to see which of them should come to Conway to help their company with an ongoing project at Acxiom.

“Every week, someone pulled the short straw and had to spend a week in Conway from Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston…”, he says. “It was my week. So I was working on this project, and I said to my guys, ‘We have to find a way for me to meet her.'”

Todd had technically met Laura – she was the project manager.

“You know, I was at work and I needed to find a way to move into a more personal discussion, as opposed to this material that will or will not fit this material,” he says. “She was responsible and she is very task-oriented.”

His luck came when they both ended up joining colleagues for dinner after work while he was in town for the weekend.

“When we started talking and getting to know each other, we found out that we both had boats, and that’s really what started our relationship — that we had that in common,” Todd says. “We just sort of hit it off.”

After that weekend, Todd volunteered to go whenever someone was needed in Conway.

“It wasn’t every week, but we got to the point where it was like every three or four weeks when someone had to go and I was like, ‘I’m going,'” he says. .

Laura also started visiting him in Dallas and, of course, they spent time on lakes in both states.

“During the summer, she would come to Dallas and we would pack up and hang out with friends by my lake,” he says. “There were a few islands of sandy beach and we were hanging out on them.”

Both also enjoy snow skiing, so it has become their winter activity together.

They had been together for two years when they got engaged.

“This was all before 9/11. We were dating when it happened, and of course I was in Dallas at the time. It does cause a bit of introspection,” Todd says. “In 2002 I had time to think about it and decided that I had made enough mistakes in my life and that I shouldn’t lose Laura to another mistake I made. committed.”

He asked one of Laura’s friends to help him figure out what kind of engagement ring to choose, and her friend hesitated, suggesting he just ask Laura.

“I went to ask her parents for her hand and they graciously accepted,” he says. “I said, ‘It’s not going to be right away.’ Turns out Thanksgiving was the right time, so her mom had to keep it a secret for three months, which was about to drive her crazy.”

They were at a family gathering when he quietly informed his mother that he was about to pop the question, and his mother ushered all the guests into the dining room. It was unusual behavior – and it didn’t escape Laura.

“My mom wasn’t very energetic, and out of the blue, she said to me, ‘Everyone has to go to the dining room,'” says Laura. family wedding and I thought she was just going to discuss this trip to Disney that they had planned for everyone.”

Still, she followed her loved ones into the room as instructed without asking questions.

“And then all of a sudden, Todd got down on his knees in front of the whole extended family and asked me to marry him,” she says. “I think I was shocked and excited and I think he said I never responded.”

At her father’s request, she said yes.

They exchanged vows on April 17, 2003.

“We ran away to Antigua and got married alone on the beach, then came back and had a big party at the Chenal Country Club for all of our friends and family,” she says.

“I can strongly advise that over having a wedding,” Todd says.

They flew from Antigua to Florida to meet Laura’s family at Disney World for her parents’ already planned birthday celebration.

“I always remember my parents and I being exactly 50 years apart on our anniversary,” she says.

Todd and Laura still spend time together on the lake, and they’ve also developed other common interests along the way.

“We both exercise a lot,” Todd says. “I don’t remember if we did it back then, but now we run half marathons.”

If you have an interesting story about our encounter or know someone who does, please call (501) 425-7228 or email:

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