Back in March when Mom was still here, David and I thought we’d get married in a small ceremony and Mom could stand up with me. I loved the idea, and Mom was more than excited to be a part of it. We talked about it back and forth trying to figure out the where and the who, et cetera. Then COVID shut us down. Literally. The clerk offices were closed, and we were unable to get a license for who knew how long. Mom went back to Michigan mid May, and that plan fizzled.
Near the end of June, I learned the courts were re-opening. We made tracks to the clerk’s office and picked up our marriage license telling ourselves we’d figure out the logistics later. We had something like three months to use it.
I love the saying, “Make a plan, and God laughs.” Well, this time, I think He really was happy about it! We talked over our idea with friends Donna and Mark. They encouraged us to ‘just do it!’ We decided we’d have to keep is very small but we had absolutely no idea where. Our clubhouse is closed, we knew of no open churches, chapels, or the like. We thought about the courthouse, but maybe as a last resort.
Around the 25th of June I saw a NextDoor notice about an upcoming ribbon cutting ceremony at a newly renovated (2.5 million dollars’ worth) beachside park just north of us. I drove up to see it but was unable to get in as they were still working on the finishing touches. The ribbon cutting was scheduled for the following Thursday, July 2nd. I told David about it, thinking it might just be the perfect place. Viewing only a distant photo of it, he was in.
I told Meg our plans, that it was going to be just a small ceremony, that I didn’t even have someone to officiate yet but that we were shooting for the 3rd of July, just about a week away. She booked a flight. I texted my friend and fellow Irishman Larry, a chaplain with Hospice, asking him to officiate but never dreaming he’d drive the hour+ from DeLand. He said yes! I ordered a banner, talked to a restaurant about a brunch, downloaded some music, and made a very short list of invitees.
It all seemed a bit surreal. I frankly didn’t care what I wore; it was beach casual. I put together a nice little bouquet with flowers from Hobby Lobby. Unbeknownst to us, Meg and her two brothers ordered a professional photographer. She also ordered me eight different dresses to try on! With a phone call, the banner I’d ordered arrived three days before their quoted delivery time. Everything was falling into place in just a matter of days as if it was all meant to be.
The early morning of Friday the 3rd found everyone at the upstairs pavilion of the beautiful new park where the sea breeze kept us cool and comfortable. Larry performed a lovely ceremony, marrying us in front of loved ones, including the Oklahoma contingent via Skype, half dressed up in their finery! Afterward, everyone donned their swimsuits, and we took the plunge again, in an atypically calm ocean, exclaiming over and over again what a perfect morning it was, and what a perfect way to begin the rest of our lives together.