Wedding Reflections: Thirty-two Years Later

Thirty-two years ago Doug and I got married on the East Coast; he’d moved to New York
City in January 1986 where not-quite-five-year-old Christopher and I joined him in June. Since all our family was ob the West Coast and our jobs were all-consuming, we decided on a small affair on Martha’s Vineyard, close enough for a few days escape. I envisioned us standing on a windswept hill with an historic lighthouse at the top of a hill overlooking the sound, Doug and I reciting simple vows before the local justice of the peace, Christopher standing between us holding our hands.

The day didn’t go as planned. We woke to pouring rain and heavy winds. The justice of the peace wasn’t willing to trudge up a steep hill in the pouring rain to satisfy my romantic notions of our ocean-view wedding. Christopher only wanted to play, digging sand castles, swinging on the wooden swing near our condo, picking up squishy sea creatures strewn along the sandy beaches. I was frantic until the justice offered his quaint Victorian house in the small town of West Tisbury for the ceremony. Given we had no guests or other plans to re-arrange, it worked. I suppose that simple ceremony with the last minute changes presaged much of the past over thirty years as we’ve savored adventures, grabbed opportunities, included our boys in most everything we’ve done, and continued forward together.

Several people asked Doug what we were going to do to celebrate this milestone. We reflected on the question, as we don’t plan big celebrations for ourselves. So it was not unusual that nothing special was planned for today; we did what we often do on early summer mornings. We hiked about 6 1/2 miles roundtrip from our house to 8100′ elevation at the Green Mountain summit, with spectacular views of Boulder to the east and the snow-covered Rockies to the west. The hike, amidst a deluge of wildflowers, tumbling streams, and pine-filled scent, was tough but rewarding.

Being able to walk out the door and immediately be immersed in nature, to contemplate and reflect on what is going on in the world, to remember friends and family, to share in our sons’ lives, to contemplate our “encore” lives post-retirement, to think about how we can give back to this community, this world that has given us so much, this is what we celebrated on the anniversary of that small wedding ceremony. It’s also what we cherish and celebrate every day of our lives. We are indeed fortunate.

Photo by five-year-old Christopher in our condo before the brief ceremony.

Photo by five-year-old Christopher in our condo before the brief ceremony.

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