By PAM HARBAUGH
A Sunday lunch is always a treat. Add a couple of lovebirds and it turns into pure delight.
That’s what I experienced Sunday when I went to Pineda Crossing to meet with Benjamin Cox and Dwight Welch — the most recent theatrical couple to get engaged. They are such a charming couple, oozing with tenderness, fondness and terrific support of each other.
Quietly intense, Benjamin is the marketing artist at Cocoa Village Playhouse and, with that jewel-tone voice of his, has grown into one of CVP’s brightest stage stars. Optimistically sunny, Dwight is a sales associate at a jewelry store, goes to Eastern Florida State College and who, in his spare time, works on inventions in the backyard of their Merritt Island home.
Benjamin says his fiance’s singing voice is beautiful (Dwight loves Michael Buble) and that he is a genius with inventions — he’s made an electric scooter and has turned his backyard workshop into a solar energy collector.
At lunch, they fretted a bit about what to order. They’re both getting in shape to attend a sci-fi convention in September — the Atlanta Dragon Con — where Benjamin will be marching as one of the “300 Spartan.”
“We’re geeks,” Dwight said, beaming.
Fittingly, this theatrical couple met at the Cocoa Village Playhouse. Benjamin was starring in “Little Shop of Horrors” and Dwight was rehearsing for his first ever stage role as the Coroner Munchkin in “Wizard of Oz.” The two went out for coffee. Two weeks later, they announced they were a couple.
“When you know, you know,” Benjamin said.
Asked to tell us something about his fiance that people don’t know, Dwight said “People who don’t know him tend to find him intimidating and hard to approach; he’s actually one of the sweetest people I know.”
“But we don’t want people to know that,” Benjamin said.
They have been together for four years and have seen each other through good times and bad. Three years ago, Dwight was there when Benjamin lost his beloved sister, Elizabeth Dara Cox, to cancer. Then, three months later, when Dwight lost his cherished grandmother, Anna Ruth Welch, who helped raise him, Benjamin was there for him.
Last month, Dwight decided it was time to pop the question. And, being a conservative, old-fashioned type, he went to Benjamin’s father for permission. Yes, he gave his permission.
Dwight found a couple of “Elfish” looking rings (remember, they’re self-proclaimed “geeks”), took Benjamin hiking in Virginia, got down on one knee and proposed. Dwight’s mother was there for the moment to take the photo, but was apparently so excited the photo didn’t turn out.
The wedding, they said, will be a creative one. Maybe Celtic inspired.
“Since gay marriage is so unorthodox, we’re not tied to traditional stuff,” Benjamin said.
One thing is for sure: add the geek-factor and theater to invention and song…it will be a fantastic way to celebrate love.