Getting Married

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It was a “do it yourself” marriage ceremony on Saturday afternoon at Beaver Creek near the ranger station at Rimrock, Arizona. It wasn’t covered by TV crews and no circling helicopters were heard. The attire was modest, “Sedona Chic”, as Grace calls it. There were no invited guests, only the participants and local family members. In other words, it was the kind of marriage which maximizes satisfaction while minimizing the fuss.

So, for the second time in my life, I am a married man. I had intended only one, but that was not in accordance with the “Plan.” Paul Simon possibly stated it best in Slip-Slidin’ Away:

God only knows. God makes his plan.
The information’s unavailable to the mortal man.

I say this not to revisit or show a morbid regret for the past, but to celebrate and proclaim my happiness and gratitude for my present blessings. My plan was not the plan of my maker. It took me a long time to stop seeing that as a tragedy. My life has been transformed by some wonderful second chances. All of the love and hard work that Eunie put into molding me into a better man now benefit me even more than in my former life. I have opportunities now to care more, do things better and be aware of and sensitive to things which formerly escaped my attention. I am going to make the best of it, for Grace and for myself.

On Friday afternoon we went to the Safeway store in Sedona to get flowers, a cake and some ice cream for Saturday’s event. We spent most of the evening arranging the flowers into the appropriate bouquets for each of the ladies of the marriage party. I was not, of course, competent to make up the arrangements, but my fingers are nimble enough to wrap the stems with ribbon and tie the knots. We sat them outside to keep them cool overnight. It’s beginning to get very chilly at night here in the high desert:

Grace chose this quiet spot at Beaver Creek for our marriage because it has long been a place of solace and comfort for her. When I saw it first I was also captured by its beauty and simplicity. Next to Grace is Dodie, who stood with Grace during the ceremony. I have no pictures of the marriage itself, because I was rather busy being the groom:

To my right is Verle, Dodies’ husband.

Here is Charity, Grace, me and Pastor Scott of the Montezuma Chapel church near Rimrock. Believe it or not, it’s located on Rusty Spurs Road:

The ceremony was very traditional. Grace and I wrote our vows, which were simple and to-the-point. Pastor Scott covered the usual ground eloquently. I appreciated the low-key tone of our marriage from the planning stage through the ceremony on Sunday. It was a marriage suited to a man’s tender nerves. I had only a couple of days of pre-marriage jitters. This will make it much easier on me when we plan and carry out our “wedding” in April of next year.

Little Tana, Grace’s granddaughter, is on the left. She did not care much for the camera. Next to Grace is Diana, her daughter-in-law. Next to me is Jay, Grace’s son, who stood with me:

It was all over in about an hour. We had swimmers in the background for most of the time, but they kindly removed themselves when they noted that we were taking pictures.

We had a very small reception back at home with Grace and I, Jay, Diana and Tana. We could not find any wedding theme decorations for the cake, so we settled for Minnie Mouse lounging on a sugary beach while watching Mickey hanging ten on a frosting wave:

We gave all of the flowers to Diana and Jay to take to their church the next morning. We took that remaining ice cream and cake to church with us on Sunday. We don’t allow such deadly dietary items to remain in our home.

Finally, we have the obligatory “hands with rings” shot:

I can’t escape the notion that I ought to be writing a great deal more about this life-changing event for Grace and I. However, words escape me for the time being. It seems as if nothing more need be said. Our decision to marry came as naturally as a warm summer rain. Our decades-long friendship serves us well. Disagreements are few, usually trivial and easily settled. We share a comfort with life as it happens that comes with maturity, no small amount of wisdom, deep love and some very hard knocks.

Life can be perfect, if you squint your eyes a little. I like the way Grace puts it, we are “Perfecting the perfection.”

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14 Responses to “Getting Married”

  1. CarolBeth Says:

    CONGRATULATIONS! You DID it! May you both be blessed by many splendid years together!

  2. Sue Fletcher Says:

    Congratulations! May you both continue to be richly blessed.

  3. kristy Says:

    Everyone looks lovely and it looks like it was a beautiful day!! Congratulations!!

  4. DogsDontPurr Says:

    Awww. I can feel the love and the happiness in the photos. Major congrats. Cheers!!

  5. Georgi Says:

    Congratulations, Jan!

    May you and everyone around you be blessed for all eternity to remember what brought you together and cherish that.

    With most sincere, best wishes,


  6. Mari Says:

    Congratulations Jan and Grace!

    You’ve written about it so eloquently – I am so moved by your account of the cosy ceremony. I wish you both the best in your journey together. I am so happy for your both.

    Best wishes and hugs,

  7. Madcap Says:

    I’d been thinking lately “I wonder what Jan’s been up to this summer” [because I’ve seldom been on FB, MPBM, etc., to keep up w/friends for most of the summer/fall]. A notification prompted a look-see, and I’d say you’d been up to something, all right! Your face tells the wonders, and I could not be more pleased for you. As autumn leaves begin to turn, two friends choose to say I do, a shared promise to love, to laugh, to live, to learn. As Shakespear saith, “With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.” God’s best to you, Mr. Hair-on-Fire!

  8. Jan (Arny) Messersmith Says:

    It seems a little strange to leave a comment on my own site, but I’m a little busy now being married, so I’ll say thanks to all of the friends who left their congratulations here.

  9. Steve Bennett Says:

    Wowee, I turn my head away for a few months busy in my own small world and only tonight check out your awesome blog for the first time in forever… to find out such wonderful news. Congratulations MadDog!

  10. MadDog Says:

    Steve, life has done a 180 on me over a period of a year. A year ago I was sincerely wishing I was dead. Now I’m very glad that did not happen.

  11. Paul Reinbara Says:

    MadDog, here’s to you and your new path, may it be filled with thrills and challenges like Madang is…. I wonder if you planning on coming back, I havent seen you on Facebook in a long while and dont know what your plans are. Need to read your blog backwards to catchup..

  12. MadDog Says:

    Thanks for you good wishes, Paul. I’m coming back to Madang for a few weeks to finish up there. I’ve been keeping a low profile.

  13. Dorothy Tsang Says:

    Jan & Grace

    Wow! what a lovely wedding celebration with not much fuss and hassel of complicated arrangment.
    I’m deeply happy for you Jan to find Eunice’s childhood friend and you knew each other so well beforehand.
    May God bless you as you journey your life together through trials and tribulations.
    Dorothy (for Jackson)

  14. MadDog Says:

    Dorothy, thanks for your kind comment. There were a lot of lessons in the last two years. I am happy that I stayed around to learn them.