LEWISTON – Tim Pelletier, 41, has kept an old newspaper clipping in his truck for nine years.

It’s a valentine his now wife, Karen Bate Pelletier, 37, wrote after they started dating. It goes like this:

“During the ice storm of ’98,

Your blue eyes warmed me so,

We talked and talked for hours,

But you had me at hello.”

Many may not regard the ice storm of 1998 – all those hours, days or weeks without power – with fondness.

Karen and Tim Pelletier do. They credit the ice storm with bringing them together.

In January 1998 Karen’s best friend was, and still is, Tim’s sister, Amy.

“We were both single and used to pal around a lot,” Karen said. Karen’s family was small. Amy’s family was huge, something Karen longed for. “Knowing this, Amy used to invite me to all of the family gatherings.”

At the Pelletier household Karen saw Tim and thought he was cute. But she hardly knew him.

When the ice storm hit, he was going through a divorce and living with his sister, Karen’s best friend.

It was during the storm that Tim and Karen got to know each other.

“One night we sat at the table and played ‘Truth or Dare’ for hours,” Karen recalled. “It was like the third day into the ice storm and there was no power. We found out a lot about each other,” Karen said.

“We had a lot in common,” Tim said.

A chemistry developed.

During the storm’s outages Tim, a Lewiston firefighter, had to work long hours doing “well-person checks” at homes without power. Karen began worrying whether he was safe.

They had their first date after the power came back. Amy and Karen were going out for Chinese food. Amy asked Tim if he wanted to join them. He said yes and was there in a flash.

“I wasn’t going there to eat,” Tim said with a grin.

Like all girlfriends, Karen and Amy talked about the blooming romance. This girl talk was a little different.

“Amy would say stuff like, ‘So did you kiss him?'” Karen recalled.

“I said, ‘yeah, I did!’ She’d go ‘eewww! He’s my brother! I don’t want to hear that!’ … It was so awkward for a long time,” Karen said with a laugh.

By December, Tim and Karen were engaged. The following Aug. 28 they married in a big wedding.

Karen said she admires Tim’s career as a firefighter. “And one of the things I first noticed about Tim was how he was an amazing father” for his son, Aaron, now 15. They now also have a 5-year-old daughter, Jillian.

“Knowing I wanted a child someday, it was a great opportunity to have a preview,” she said. “You never know if you’re going to get stuck doing all the work yourself.”

Tim praised Karen for being giving, putting others first and being low maintenance. “You don’t have to wait an hour for her to get ready,” he said. “She’s an outdoors girl.” Even with her Common Ties Mental Health Coalition job, “she makes things easy around here. She pretty much does everything,” he said.

“You do a lot too, for a guy,” Karen said.

“For a guy?” Tim asked.

“You do,” she insisted. “He does laundry, cleans up after himself and doesn’t leave his dirty socks around.” He’s compatible, she said.

Both said they still have much in common, like camping with their children and the big extended family she always wanted.

“We have a blast,” Karen said.