So, I am going to try and finish the story of Talya’s Wedding Day, but there may be a part 4. It was a day full of interesting goings on as you can imagine. I think we have gotten to the point where I was waiting outside the Main Lodge building at the YMCA of the Rockies there in Estes Park. I was waiting for my daughter and her mother to show up. I had sent my wife on to the outdoor Chapel and was trying to hitch a ride up with somebody. At the time, I had no idea whether Jojo (Talya’s mother, my first wife) would have any room in her car or not. So, they get there, the car is full, but I crammed in the Grand Prix in the back and 6 of us rode up together to the Chapel.
It was a good thing that the Chapel is only about 1/2 mile away from the Main Lodge building. We got to the parking lot of the Chapel, and had to wait there for a bit. We did not know where Michael and his dad were when we got there. Talya was talking to him on the phone, and they were still getting dressed apparently. We were a bit ahead of schedule, according to what I had originally predicted. I had thought we would be about 1/2 hour late (2:30p) or so before we even got started, but when we got to the Chapel, it was about 2:15p. So, we had the Chapel reserved from 2p to 4p and we’re only about 15 minutes late, about 15 minutes ahead of my original schedule!
I just had never dreamed that we would be able to get everyone ready, get all the guests seated and so forth and get it all done and so on and be within a 1/2 hour of the 2p start time. As it was, I had no idea how many people were there, how many had actually showed up that is. I knew that some were there, we had quite a number of vehicles (about 20) in the parking lot. So, we are there, the girls went on up to get seated, and Talya and her mother and I are sitting there, actually standing there, except Talya who was still sitting in the car in the front seat with the AC blowing full blast on her to keep her cool. Talya is always warm – I think my daughter is the only person I know who drives around in the car with the AC on when it’s 50 degrees (f) outside.
We finally found out that Michael and his dad were on their way to the Chapel. So, my original estimate of 2:30p was holding up. No surprise, eh? Then, something a bit strange happened. Talya’s Uncle Martin, Pamela’s husband comes out to the parking lot and proceeds to tear through his car (a rental car) looking for his wallet. He could not find it. We all looked, we searched for about 10 minutes and could not find it. By that point, Martin is starting to get pretty agitated. What can you do?
Michael and his dad finally got there, they were in their Navy dress blues – looking quite sharp! I actually didn’t even see them get there, but Talya was talking to Michael and told us we could start now. All of a sudden Martin found his wallet, it was in another pocket in his jacket! So, we were ready to start – finally! Talya got out of the car, we got her veil on, her mother kissed her and she walked on up ahead of us. Talya was ready, and it was just me and her now. She was a gorgeous bride, her dress, the outdoors, something about that whole thing made it quite overwhelming. No, I didn’t cry, just inwardly I suppose. Yes, I was very proud of my daughter, and I still am.
The funny thing was, and perhaps this kept us both from being so nervous, was that Tally had on these ridiculous platform sandals. They were just go-ahead style, but they were about 5 inches wide, and about 4 inches tall! They are just the silliest shoes you ever saw! But, with the long dress, nobody else ever knew they were that type of silly looking shoe, totally inappropriate for a wedding dress, but perfect for walking in that bulky gown up the rocky path and down the aisle in the outdoor Chapel.
So, we walked up to the top of the hill, which sort of defined the top or back “boundary” of the Chapel, You can think of that as the entrance. We waited for everyone to be ready, they queued the music, and everyone stood up as we walked – slowly – down the hill to the altar at the bottom of the little bowl-like amphitheater that is the Chapel itself. We have some good pictures, and you can see those on my Flickr site if you like:
Talya was pretty quiet, I just kept her holding onto my arm tight so, even with those wide platform shoes, I did not want her to fall or become unsteady. I kept my eyes both on her and on the ground, since it was rocky dirt, and we had to walk down the path about 200 feet to the altar down at the “base” of the chapel. We got there and I put her next to Michael and turned around and started the ceremony. Yes, for those who weren’t there, I was in the ceremony and in fact I “officiated” the ceremony.
Since Talya and Michael already had their “legal in the eyes of the state” marriage license, we really wanted to make this ceremony a celebration. Talya told me I could say anything I wanted though, and believe you me, at my daughter’s wedding I was going to quote from my favorite book: _The Bible_! I actually opened the ceremony with a closely guarded secret. I had to keep it secret because to reveal it ahead of time would have ruined the surprise. I pulled up a page of quotes from children about marriage and love. Here are some of those questions and answers that I used to “open” our celebration:
– How do you decide who to marry?
* “You got to find somebody who likes the same stuff. Like if you like sports, she should like it that you like sports, and she should keep the chips and dip coming.” Alan, age 10
* “No person really decides before they grow up who they’re going to marry. God decides it all way before, and you get to find out later who you’re stuck with.” Kirsten, age 10
– What is the right age to get married?
* “Twenty-three is the best age because you know the person FOREVER by then.” Camille, age 10
* “No age is good to get married at. You got to be a fool to get married.” Freddie, age 6
– How can a stranger tell if two people are married?
* “Married people usually look happy to talk to other people.” Eddie, age 6
* “You might have to guess, based on whether they seem to be yelling at the same kids.” Derrick, age 8
– What do you think your Mom and Dad have in common?
* “Both don’t want no more kids.” Lori, age 8
– What do most people do on a date?
* “Dates are for having fun, and people should use them to get to know each other. Even boys have something to say if you listen long enough.” Lynnette, age 8
* “On the first date, they just tell each other lies, and that usually gets them interested enough to go for a second date.” Martin, age 10
– When is it OK to kiss someone?
* “When they’re rich.” Pam, age 7
* “The law says you have to be eighteen, so I wouldn’t want to mess with that.” Curt, age 7
* “The rule goes like this: if you kiss someone, then you should marry them and have kids with them. It’s the right thing to do”. Howard, age 8
So, there you have it. I wanted a real tension breaker and it worked very well. Then, I went on to read a short bit on what we believe about marriage, about what The Bible says about marriage. It’s all pretty much traditional stuff. There’s the part about how God created woman to be man’s helper, how it is not good for man to be alone. I went on to talk about how man is completed by a woman, and of course this is all stuff that Cheryl and I believe, and I think we passed that on to Talya. I’m sure Michael believes all that too, we had discussed much of it with them in the weeks prior to the wedding, so it seemed appropriate to have all this “traditional” stuff in there, even if we were not getting married in a real “church” and even if I am not an ordained minister.
My favorite reading I put in next in the ceremony, I read from chapter 3 of Ecclesiastes in The Bible. That was written by Solomon about 3,000 years ago, but it’s as accurate today as it was then. It’s the chapter that reads “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under Heaven.” (NIV) It’s probably my favorite chapter in the Old Testament, if not the entire Bible. Solomon was just a man, but one who was given the opportunity to try _everything_ that there was to try back then. He tried it all and reported: “It’s all vanity – chasing after the wind.” I won’t try to explain it, it just makes perfect sense to me is all.
We then went on to talk about “Seasons” in life. I talked about how Talya and Michael were just starting out their lives together, literally! The kicker was that the day after the wedding, they had to have the car all packed with the dog and everything and jump in and drive to Maryland. I talked about what it might be like starting off together in today’s world, a changing world, one that moves at a fast pace and where you don’t always feel you have time to work on your relationship with one another. I cautioned them to be sure they make the time to work on that relationship, because all of us there celebrating their marriage understood that and how important it is to keep the priorities straight.
Since the guests were there for them, I determined that it was important to all of us to show our agreement not only with the union of Talya and Michael, but that we would be there anytime in the future that they needed help. Even though we may not be in the same town, we are all just a phone call or an email away. We can be there, and in fact we all agreed that we would be there for them both. Marriages are about the tough times as well as the good I told them. I let them both know there would be many changes down the road, though nobody can foresee exactly what those changes might look like. It’s imperative that we all of us keep an open mind, and an open heart and not wall off or try to pretend everything is OK when it’s really not.
That was about as far as my cautions went. From there on, since we wanted to keep the ceremony short, and we’re now about 20 minutes into it, I thought we best get on with the vows. Michael and Talya both wrote their vows down and supposedly memorized them and were prepared to recite them to one another. But here we are standing there looking at each other, actually, I’m not sure if they heard a word I said, they never took their eyes off each other. =) Anyhow, I asked them if they were ready to recite their vows to one another and they both got this “Deer in the headlights” look on their faces and said “What vows?”
Oh my! The one misstep of the entire thing and I had no idea what to do, but thinking quickly I said: “How about I ask you some questions then?” They both agreed. I don’t even remember the questions I asked them either! I know they were related to the marriage ceremony, and what we always say we’ll vow to do for one another, without the usual stuff that people have objections to, such as women obeying their husbands and so on. It’s not that I don’t want to be chauvinistic (or anti-chauvinistic) it’s just less important these days than saying you’re committed to one another through thick and thin, to learn and grow together, and to find ways to rekindle the spark of romance regularly.
Now, let me take a moment or two to describe what I saw during the ceremony. I was looking back at the audience most of the time, but I did take a quick glance at Tally and Michael every so often. I didn’t want either of them to faint or anything, Michael with his dress blues on, and Talya with that enormous dress out there in the hot sun. It was about 72f degrees I’d say, sun out, but still cloudy. Oh, there’s actually some pix on Cheryl’s camera that show the storm that happened the morning of the wedding day, how it was coming down hard less than a mile away, how it was icing on us while we were setting up and such. Anyhow, the weather held all through the ceremony, and the audience all agreed when I asked if they would support Michael and Talya.
There were quite a number of times when I looked at Talya when she had big crocodile tears coming down her cheeks. I was a very proud dad I can tell you to stand up there with my daughter, for my daughter, and for my new son-in-law both, I’m very proud of them both. Michael is following in his dad’s and grandfather’s footsteps being in the Navy, and Talya is very proud to be a Navy wife. I just cannot tell you how proud I am of them both! In spite of all that, I didn’t lose it completely up there in front of all those people. The only thing I can say is that Jesus got me through it all. I was definitely more worried about my mom and the other guests coming from Sea-level to the Chapel at over 8,000 feet elevation! The sun, the altitude, the dryness, many things can impact you at that altitude and I was relieved beyond belief that we got through it all without “losing” anybody.
Anyhow, I had to stop a couple times during the ceremony when I saw the tears on Talya’s face, and give her a big squeeze and tell her how much I loved her. Michael just never stopped smiling the entire ceremony. I’m pretty sure that’s a big OK from him, he’s a quiet fellow anyhow most of the time. I know he’ll change and get more vocal as he grows up and becomes a man in the Navy. They’ll turn him into a man the right way, he’ll be a good leader of men too if I’m any judge of character.
So, we’ve had some humor, some readings, some blessings, some cautions, and finally the vows. I had my checklist so I didn’t forget anything. I’m terribly forgetful you know, so it was very important for me to not miss any steps in the ceremony. We only partially blew it on a few things, but they’re really not worth mentioning. It was fun, but now it was time to end it and send the couple off – married in the eyes of their friends and loved ones! I made Michael wait for it just a bit, teased him a little. I think he was ready to kiss and be off after the readings, but I made him at least answer the questions I asked before letting him kiss the bride and scoot!
So I finally told him that he could kiss his wife and we all clapped when I presented the married couple: Mr. and Mrs. Michael Theodore Effler! And no, I didn’t forget his middle name because I had that written down on my cheat sheet too! Wowee! The music was queued and they walked up the aisle in the Chapel to the top of the hill where they quietly turned around and came back because now it was time for pictures. We started taking pictures and were still taking them an hour later when the weather finally deteriorated to the point where it was important we all get outta there or we were gonna get “a wetting.”
There’s lots of pictures that Cheryl and I took during that “photoshoot” on our Flickr page (see the link above), so please enjoy.
We all piled in cars and drove over to the LakeShore Lodge. And I will leave _that_ for part 4. Some day, I will finish this – I promise Talya!
(to be continued)