'I know he's older, but he still has it'

Ed and Mary Moynagh's relationship started with a simple question: "How's your day going?"

Less than six months later they tied the knot.

There was no time for cruising in the slow lane for Ed, 83, and Mary, 63, who won the Huntington Beach Business Improvement District's "Love in the HB" contest by sharing the story of how they met at the Huntington Beach Pier.

"(At) my age, you have to make these decisions without fooling around," Ed said. "You have to really want to do this. And there was just something about her that clicked, and that's all that it took for me."

The Huntington Beach couple, who will celebrate their one-year anniversary Thursday and their second Valentine's Day on Friday, won a free night at the Hilton Waterfront and a dinner for two at Sandy's Beach Grill, which coincidentally is where they had their first date.

The couple fell in love when they first met at the pier in August 2012.

Mary, who had been married for 25 years and was then single for more than 20 years, had just finished biking along Pacific Coast Highway one morning. She sat near the grassy area at Pier Plaza, eating a yogurt and minding her own business.

"I had a baseball cap on, no makeup, and had all this sunscreen on my face," she said. "I looked horrible, but I was on a bike ride. Who's going to dress up to ride their bike?"

"Your inner beauty radiated beyond all that," Ed quickly replied.

Mary had noticed Ed reclining on concrete steps near his bike, one leg crossed over the other, hands behind his head.

Mary said that something within gave her the courage to break the ice.

"I asked him, 'How's your day going' or something like that, and he said, 'Well, fine now,'" she said.

The two shared tidbits about each other's lives. As they were about to bike their separate ways, Mary and Ed each revealed personal details.

Ed told her that he was 81 and that his wife of more than 50 years had died six years earlier. Mary told him that she was 62 and that her children had died, one recently.

They left the pier not knowing whether they'd meet again. But they did know they were drawn to each other.

Mary was impressed with Ed's confidence and calm.

"He had a real upbeat attitude — everything was positive — and I liked his blue eyes and his smile," Mary said. "He has a swagger to him. I know he's older, but he still has it."

Ed was upset with himself that he didn't get her number, and swore he wouldn't make the same mistake if he saw her again.

"If she's interested in me, I'm going to get contact information, if she'll give it to me," he said. "If she's really interested, I'll find out one way or another."

A few days passed, and the strangers found themselves face to face at the pier again.

This time they exchanged numbers.

They went on bicycle rides and dates. In October 2012, Ed proposed at the spot where they met. On Feb. 13, 2013, the day before Valentine's Day, the two married in a Laguna Niguel courtroom.

"The year just flew by," Mary said. "We've driven up and down the coast and stayed at different places, and we enjoy doing that. We do have a lot of fun together."


Lesson learned

Neither of them were looking for a new spouse. They just happened to bump into one another and fall in love.

Mary's outlook on dating changed when she met Ed. She would tell her friends and daughter to take relationships slowly and really know the other person.

"My tips now are just to go to social events and be active," she said. "Don't stay home. No one's going to come knocking on your door."

Ed said men should take risks for love.

"You only get maybe one or two chances in life to have something that all comes together at one time, and if you hesitate or don't follow up, it'll just pass you by," he said. "If you really see someone that you like, just go for it."

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