LEWISTON – Lori Cloutier noticed Ray Moreau’s buzz cut as soon as he walked into the bar. She claims she can always spot a military man.

She has a thing for them.

Moreau noticed her, too. His mom and a few friends took him to the Toucan Lounge last December to celebrate his return from Iraq, where he had been stationed as part of the Army’s 10th Mountain Division. They chose a table in the corner, right next to where Cloutier was sitting.

“I kept staring at her, then I would look away as soon as she looked at me,” Moreau said.

Cloutier made the first move. She got Moreau’s name from one of his friends, then she asked him to play pool.

Keeping his head down because he was too nervous to look at her, Moreau said yes to pool. Then to dancing. Then to her question: “Do you want my phone number?”

Moreau, 22, wasn’t sure what to think when Cloutier slipped the piece of paper in his pocket.

“It was just weird,” he said. “That’s never happened to me before.”

A tall woman with curly red hair, Cloutier, 32, expected Moreau to call the next day. It took five before he had the courage. He called on New Year’s Eve. The message is still saved on Cloutier’s cellular telephone.

“I figured I’d call to wish you a merry … a merry, I mean, a happy New Year,” he muttered.

They talked the next day and made a plan to see each other that weekend. The weekend after that, Moreau took Cloutier to Jay to meet his mother. He knew he was in love when he didn’t want her to go back to Lewiston without him.

Weeks later, Moreau turned to Cloutier while they were watching television and said, “If I could marry you, I would.”

Her response: “Well, where’s the ring?”

Cloutier took Moreau to Wal-Mart that same week to buy an engagement ring. In the middle of the toy aisle at Kmart, where they went after Wal-Mart to buy a bicycle, he got on his knees and whispered, “Will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?”



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