PORTLAND, Ore. — As COVID-19 restrictions have eased over the last few weeks, one of the indoor entertainment spots that’s up and running again is the ice skating rink at Lloyd Center Mall.
It’s open 7 days a week with hourlong public sessions available throughout the day, and no more than 32 people allowed on the ice during a session.
But this story is not about the full crowd of 32 ice skaters.
Instead, we're highlighting two ice skaters who have been skating together for longer than I've been alive — Jerry and Tally Leonard.
Later this year, they’ll celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
But just last week they celebrated an even longer anniversary, their 54th skating anniversary!
“February 22nd, 54 years ago, is the first day we skated as a couple,” recalls Jerry.
What started back in February, 1967 has never really stopped.
Jerry and Tally have been absolute fixtures on the Lloyd Center ice for decades. Back in the late 60s and early 70s, they skated competitively. Today, they skate simply because it's what they love to do.
Although, it’s pretty clear, they still love to put on a show!
“It’s really nice when you have someone to perform for,” says Jerry, before Tally starts to laugh and quickly adds, “I just want to make sure I do it right, and don’t forget what move is coming next!”
Don Baldwin has been the General Manager of the Lloyd Center Skating Rink for 22 years. He says when he first arrived Jerry was still lifting Tally over his head.
“They don’t do that anymore, and I’m kind of glad,” Baldwin says with a chuckle, “because it’s against the rules here to drop Tally.”
The laughter and fun times have returned to the rink these days, but those things have been absent from the venue for most of the past year.
The ice sat empty, and Jerry and Tally were left without their favorite form of exercise.
“We missed it, but you have to be careful with what’s going on,” says Tally before Jerry jumps in and adds with a smile, “when you don’t get the work out, you gain weight!”
When you see Jerry on the ice, it’s clear that if he’s gained any weight during the pandemic, it can’t be very much at all. The man is skating into his early 70s in sensational shape.
But, he would rather see Tally get the praise in this story.
“The first time I skated with Tally it was like a little Heaven on Earth,” he says. “Now we’ve skated long enough that we can communicate through our hands. We just know what to do next.”
The good news for Jerry is that Tally seems 100% convinced that she also landed the perfect partner to skate through life with.
“You appreciate each other and you love each other,” she says, “and your love just grows.”