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3/2/2022 | Kathryn Kaufmann, 'Til Promo Do Us Part

Growing up in Columbus, Ohio, Kim Reinecker was as much of a Buckeye fan as the players themselves. In fact, she says, “If you cut me right now, I would bleed scarlet and gray.”

Six months after graduating from Ohio State University, Kim wanted to explore different territory so she left her native Columbus home and moved to California, but she certainly didn’t leave her Buckeye spirit behind. It’s mobile! 

Starting out at a temporary agency in the Golden State, Kim eventually landed a job with a little gourmet foods company that was dabbling in the promotional products industry. They sent her to what was then SAAI Dallas. On the bus traveling back and forth to the show, Kim met some guys from Sheaffer Pen Company. 

One of the guys said, “Hey! We have positions available and you need to interview for them.”

“I interviewed for one, and they filled it. Then I interviewed for another one, and they filled that position, too. Finally, I kind of gave up on it,” Kim says. “The very next year, they told me that the Texas position was open. So I interviewed for it. I got it. And they moved me to Dallas.” 

Unsure about life at the age of twenty-four, Patrick Reinecker tried working with his mom, a distributor, in his native home of Houston, Texas. “I might have sold two orders in six months,” he recalls. The struggle with sales and the uncertainties of life at that time propelled him to spread his wings. Around 1993, he uprooted to St. Louis, Missouri. There he began working as a multi-line rep with Brooks Bradford, a Veteran of the promo industry. 

Kim became fast friends with a woman named Carolyn, who was a big-time producer in the industry and quite the social butterfly. She would take her customers out on late afternoon/early evening sailboat jaunts in the bay and frequently invited Kim to join them. Occasionally, Mike—Carolyn’s husband—would tag along, too. “Both great people,” Kim smiles and says.

In the mid-Nineties, Kim was working for a supplier, who had assigned Kansas and Missouri as her territory. When she’d attended a tradeshow, she crossed paths with Patrick and they became friends. 

“Every time I would travel to Kansas City, I would let him know I was coming. Another one of my girlfriends would go with me so we would all get together at night, drink beer, eat barbecue and watch Friends, our favorite sitcom back in the day, Kim shares. “And that’s when Patrick asked me out the first time. Well, I should say…the only time he asked me out.”

Patrick pipes up, “Well, because she blew me off. I was a slow learner, but I wasn’t that slow. We were good friends before we started dating.” 

More on that shortly—with an eyewink! 

Four years later, the born and bred Houstonian, hungered for home so he returned to Texas, connecting with Larry Krause, another multi-line rep. 

“Larry kept me employed quite a few years before I broke out on my own,” Patrick says. “But he’s still a huge help for me, a guy who is truly my mentor,” he adds.

After an industry show in Houston that Kim and Patrick had attended, a group of reps got together at a home on Tiki Island outside of Galveston. With a group of fun creatives, it quickly turned into a drink-fest. 

Most everybody had had their fill of booze and had gone to bed—except for Kim and Patrick. Instead of turning in, they decided to go night fishing off of the dock. 

Kim says, “Patrick and I were sitting there—with our fishing poles in the water—just commiserating about how crappy dating was and that kind of stuff. Finally, I’d probably had just enough alcohol in me, that I told him I had a crush on him. And he turns around, shoots a look at me and goes, “What?” 

The secret was out. Kim confirmed it, “Yeah. I’ve had a crush on you!”

Patrick was confused and taken aback because the first time he’d asked Kim out, she blew him off. “I asked you out and you turned me down. What changed?” He asked.

“Seven months of therapy,” she explained.

Patrick didn’t say a word, yet it kind of caused concern. He thought to himself, That’s wonderful. On the upside, he thought, It took therapy for her to decide she had a thing for me? He quickly got over that!  

When asked what led her to counseling, Kim expressed, “Therapy is always good for everybody, right, you know. I was trying to figure out why I was still single and why I had all of these great opportunities, and I didn’t jump on them. 

“To be honest, I had a fear of commitment. But that was me. Therapy helped me overcome that. It was a short-lived therapy session. But it was just enough that I had the right person tell me that I had chased off every guy who really wanted to have anything to do with me.” 

And, really, who could disagree with Kim? “With a little bit of therapy, you go in, you find out, and then all of a sudden, you start looking at the real thing.”

Seeking to pinpoint the issue had definitely worked wonders for Kim because the previous day, while setting up for the show at an Embassy Suites hotel, Patrick walked into her room to say hi, and he hugged her. 

“And that hug—after that—I was like ‘Hmm, that felt kind of different,” Kim admits. “It started me thinking about Patrick more.”

“The next evening at the party, the alcohol gave me the courage to express my feelings. But the interesting thing is after I told Patrick I had a crush on him, we were walking across this little cul-de-sac back to the house and nothing was happening. I was just certain he’d kiss me or at the very least hold my hand—the one that I wasn’t carrying the fishing pole in.”

With Kim still full of bravery from her adult beverages, she stopped him in the middle of the cul-de-sac, looked him square in the eye and said, “Patrick, kiss me.” 

We both dropped our poles, embraced, and he laid a kiss on me.” 

So long story short, we dated for about six months. I was still living in Dallas, and one night, I had gone to Houston to visit for a weekend. Standing in the kitchen of his house, Patrick took my hand and said, “I think we’re going to be together for a very long time. Would you consider moving down here?” 

And I said, “I will, but there has to be an end in sight as far as an engagement, marriage or whatever before I uproot and move to Houston.” 

Six or seven months later, we were with Jim Maddox, TJ Garrett and Lori Ford (who sadly, is no longer with us)—all reps in the industry—on one of those riverboats that goes through downtown San Antonio on the Riverwalk. 

Kim remembers that occasion very well. The lady who was running the barge said, “Over here is Marriage Island, which has significance to couples like Kim and Patrick.”
“I look up at that lady. Patrick was over to my left. And in front of all these people on the barge who could probably care less, Patrick popped the question. Of course I said yes. And then I found out Jim, TJ and Lori had all helped Patrick pull off the proposal. 

Funny thing is: Patrick didn’t have possession of Kim’s ring.

He explains. “I was so nervous carrying a box with a ring in my pocket, that I ended up giving it to Jim Maddox for safekeeping and to not spoil the surprise because Kim—as a couple dating—might occasionally touch me here or there and whatever. And I didn’t want her to discover that little lump in my pocket was a ring box.”

Jim was as uneasy being responsible for the ring as Patrick was nervous Kim would find it. 

Earlier that evening, they’d all been to the Mexican restaurant so after a couple of shots of Tequila, Patrick said it made the marriage proposal easier. He laughs. “Kim did therapy. I shot Tequila. That’s how we handled things.” 

And so it was on April 28th, 2001, Kim and Patrick were married inside Sacred Heart, a beautiful cathedral in Galveston, Texas. Afterward, everybody headed four blocks down the street to Ashton Villa where the reception was held. The cool thing about Ashton Villa is it’s a mansion that survived the 1900 Galveston storm, which is still the largest natural tragedy that has occurred in the history of the United States. 

So what uncommon occurrence happened at the reception that was a first? 

Kim’s maid of honor stood up at the reception and said, “Now that Kim is married, all of you guys in the room need to turn in any leftover pieces of Kim’s clothing you may have collected.”
A line formed, and men walked to the front of the room and each dropped bras and panties into a bucket. 

When they were finished, my maid of honor flipped the script and announced, “If any of you ladies out there have the key to his house, you need to bring it up.”

In single file, each woman dropped their key to Patrick’s house into the bucket. But the very last person to turn in their key was wearing a very unhappy face, appearing downright miffed for having to surrender the key. 

“Everyone in the reception hall just flipping freaked out laughing because it was one of Kim and Patrick’s good male friends playing a joke. But his act was so dramatic, it was hilarious.” Kim chuckles when telling the story.

The “keys-in-a-bucket” joke was a wedding reception sensation. 

“About eight or ten years later, we passed those keys on to a woman who was going to be a maid of honor. And she said she used the keys at another wedding, but we don’t know whose that was. Hopefully, they’ve been used proudly since them a few more times,” Patrick laughs. 

Prior to the pandemic, if it wasn’t Kim traveling two to three days a week every other week, it was Patrick. “So I don’t know if you could ever call us full-time married,” Kim says. And then the pandemic hit, and we were both like, ‘Oh, my God! We have to quarantine for thirty days? Together?’ And here we are two years later…almost to the month.” 

“What came out of the pandemic for us? We realized that we really did like, love and enjoy each other’s company even more than we ever thought,” Kim smiles wide. “He is my soul mate. The love of my life!”

Patrick says, “As home based people, after seven days a week in your house during a pandemic, the walls start to close in on you. In the past, we rode Harley’s, but the highways aren’t as safe for bikers anymore; drivers aren’t paying attention. We figured we had put in a good eight or nine years of riding and if we survived that, we should count our blessings and get out, so we traded our motorcycles. All we had left was our boat, and we decided it was time to sell it, and we bought an RV.” 

“Almost every Friday during the pandemic, we would take off for a campground and meet up with other promo people who also needed a break from the house,” he says.

“It’s our stress reliever,” Kim adds. “Our favorite is a placed called Jamaica Beach. It has become home away from home. They have a pool and a lazy river. And we can cross the road and get on the beach.” 

During the summer months, the Reinecker’s motto is: “Each time we take a trip is to wake up on a different body of water.”

Speaking of a body of water, there is one final twist.  Carolyn—the woman Kim met and would sail with early in her career—is Patrick’s mother. WOW, right? Funny thing is: Kim hadn’t even met Patrick yet, but she was good gal pals with his mom, who is now Kim’s mother-in-law. 

And it was at the house party of Carolyn and Mike Reinecker—Patrick’s parents—where Kim finally admitted that she had a crush on their son while night fishing. 
The fun couple, whom Kim loved then, made even better in-laws for her later!

Kim Reinecker, a thirty-five year industry veteran, is Southwest Regional Manager for Starline and works directly with distributors in Texas, Oklahoma and Louisiana. 

Patrick Reinecker is celebrating his twenty-ninth year as a self-employed multi-line rep with seven lines in four surrounding states: Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas.

Kathryn Kaufmann is a freelance writer and the author of Marriages Meant to Be, Dating Daisy Fields and The Priest and the Princess. Her books can be found on Amazon, BN.com, and autographed copies can be purchased through www.BooksandSwag.com. She also owns Authentic Creations, an ASI Distributor located in Birmingham, Alabama.
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