Wow, what a way to begin a marriage! Things went from bad to a little worse. The fire was contained in the kitchen area, but it got into the gas line. No, the place didn’t blow up, but the poor bride was about to. One can imagine. The day she’d planned for, spent time, energy, efforts, dreams and money toward coming to fruition was theoretically “going up in smoke.” There was no smoke pouring from the building, but the beautiful gazebo, complete with decorated upper and lower decks at the Officers’ Club at Moody Field Air Force Base in Valdosta, Georgia was abandoned.
The forecast had been 80% chance of rain for the late afternoon. The ceremony was scheduled to begin at 6:00. God stopped the rain, but the Devil sent the fire! It was definitely one of those never-factored-this-into-the-equation moments for a bride. It was a typical hot and humid mid-August day in the South, and the breeze from the expected rainstorm was more than welcome.
I mingled with the guests of whom I had never met. I had driven 12 hours to be a witness to this grand occasion. I kidnapped my sister to take pictures to post them on my website. (Be looking for them. It was a significant wedding.) As I talked with the pastor and his wife, aunts and cousins, grandmother and attendants, the common remark was, “This wedding has to happen.” These people had invested in praying for this couple long before I had.
I met Kari at a library festival where I was guest author/speaker in August the prior year. I was promoting my first book, Keeping His Pants On Until He Gets Home. A reporter for the Valdosta Daily Times, Kari interviewed me. She took a book home with her that day at my insistence. She read it. In January, Kari contacted me and spoke of how the book had impacted her life. She would not make a New Year’s resolution but a life transformation. She and Joseph, her live-in, now understood commitment, and she invited me to their wedding. I wouldn’t have missed it for the world! I had been praying for Kari since I’d met her. It was a happening for me, as well.
Sweat-soaked brows did not deter people’s determination to stay the course and watch these two celebrate victory. Two and a half hours later, wedding attendants and guests were escorted to a chapel on Base. I felt like part of the family as Joseph took his rightful place. The couple’s adorable twin girls proudly sprinkled petals preparing for the Bride’s entrance. The town crier, too timid to say it aloud, alerted the guests it was time for the bride to seal the marital covenant. Kari was stunning! Tall and sinuous, trimly filling a most unique gown. Her trademark eyes revealed exhaustion and disappointment from the day’s events, yet she marched with a steady and graceful gait. With head held high and anxiousness on her breath, Kari was ready to pursue a new beginning in the heat of passion.