He had been calling me for weeks and now the car was pulling up in front of the house. A half hour before he had called AGAIN stating that he could not find Highland Lane on his GPS.
No, it's not Highland Lane.
We had been through this before. I gave him the address and waited while he programmed his GPS before I hung up. He was nervous. That was obvious.
He needs me to be gentle with him.
I cannot come across as terse or irritated or it will only compound the anxiety.
Yes, he required a deft touch.
Seeing the car, I went out to meet him and put him at ease. I could tell from our phone conversations that he was older. What I didn't expect is that she would be as well. But there they were, out near the swan mailbox, shaking my hand and saying that they finally found the house and how arduous the trip had been up from Florida and how the weather up here was a lot chillier. Pleasantries all around. I hoped he was finally feeling more comfortable. After all, he was here, they had their license. All was well.
What I love about being a Justice of the Peace is hearing what brought two people together. I have seen all types of couples. Older man, younger woman. Same sex couples. Interracial couples. Fourth time brides. Foreign brides. Blended families. Bridezillas. Groomzillas.
Yes, even a cougar bride. But here before me was truly a first. Two senior citizens. Very much senior citizens. Like well into their 80's senior citizens. And they wanted to get married. And so nervous and excited about their Big Day. I was utterly charmed.
And this nondescript elderly couple was about to underscore one of life's little truisms: never underestimate anyone and never assume anything either.
So tell me how you met?
Well, we knew each other growing up in Hawaii.
Yes, we lived across the street from each other.
They then proceeded to tell me that for one reason or another they went on to marry other people, have kids and go on with their lives in different parts of the country no less.
So now you've reconnected?
They could tell I wanted the backstory.
And my unlikely bride proceed to share with me the following story...
Well, a guy I was working with said that he could find anyone's number on the Internet and so I told him, "Find this person." So he got me his number and I called it. But who I actually got was his adult son who has his same name. So he gave me his father's number and I called it.
The shy prospective groom was sitting next to her on the couch smiling. He filled me in on how happy he was to hear from her after all these years. It was all so tender and heart-warming. I loved every detail.
Lea, what he's NOT telling you is that when I called his then-wife and son were sitting there at the table with him.
She had the most delightful twinkle in her eye when she said it. She relished the twist in the story. She loved the fact that she had, indeed, shocked me.
I moved on to asking questions about the alligator that lives in their backyard in Florida and if it is true that you need to have your house exterminated every month if you live down there. Those sorts of things. I was still a bit flummoxed.
And all the while I was thinking, here is this kindly-looking grandmother who had the gumption to go out and get what she wanted. She knew they were right for each other all along and no one was going to stand in her way. And to pull it all off while still looking like all you do is bake cookies. How utterly fabulous.
I asked if their children all got along.
We don't know. They haven't met each other yet. They're coming in from all over the country and will meet at the wedding.
Before they left, the bride said that she always tells her nervous groom that this is a wedding that has been 55 years in the making.
The wedding is scheduled for 11:30. Brides are rarely - if ever - on-time. Something tells me that this one will be.