It’s a time I’ll never forget. My life and the world changed. It was also the only time I’ve ever worn a sword in public. Seriously, a real renaissance style blade. It matched my pumpkin pants and hat with the feather.
It was a time of transition. During the spring I had asked Heather to marry me and to my surprise and delight, she agreed. We knew we wanted to have the wedding outdoors and found a local park that had a grove of redwood trees with an area that was rented out for weddings. Next to it was a group picnic area. After a little discussion we also decided on a renaissance theme for the ceremony. Heather made her dress and I found a place on-line to order the pants, doublet, shirt and hat. A friend who I played D&D with had a sword to lend.
We took our pastor to the costume shop and rented her an appropriate renaissance style dress. It didn’t take much to talk her into it. In fact all of our friends and family went fully into the spirit of the thing and showed up in costume. One friend even found a heraldic trumpet group and the wedding march wasn’t the typical wedding march, but rather a full trumpet fanfare that any renaissance noble would envy.
That September 30th was a magical day under the redwoods with our band of merry makers.
Such happy memories are sadly mixed with grief. In June of that year, my father fell ill and I had to check him into the VA hospital. He went downhill rapidly and died in August.
I ended up in a surreal place where one day I am planning a fun wedding and the next I am planning a memorial service and hiring a boat to scatter Father’s ashes at sea.
One day I am opening a box with a velvet doublet and another I am bringing Father’s flag home.
In the mist of this extreme happiness and sadness, the unthinkable happened. I recall checking email early on the 11th and seeing a news report I couldn’t believe. The TV had the same news. I emailed Heather at her work and she’d seen it too. Arriving at the office, I found most of the staff in the employee lounge watching the reports of the towers collapsing, the Pentagon, and reports of flight 93. The execs were asking if any of our people were in New York that day and after an hour or so, we were sent home.
I was shocked that anyone could even imagine doing something like that. Actually doing it was and is beyond my comprehension. I don’t understand violence. Terrorism makes no sense.
Heather’s sister was scheduled to fly out from England and be part of the wedding. Hazel was planning on coming out for a couple of weeks before the wedding to help prepare and be a part of the fun. By the end of day, we learned that was on hold and it was now uncertain if she’d get a flight in time or at all.
Each day we checked and each day we learned more about the horrible events of 9/11.
I know we had to adjust plans and somethings changed, but I don’t recall us ever asking if we should delay the wedding. We just hoped that before the 30th, the airlines would be allowed to fly and Hazel would be able to enter the country.
We just moved forward and adapted to the changing world. I said goodbye to my father, mourned the loss of fellow Americans, and entered into the happiness of married life with my best friend.
When I think of this day, I am always conflicted as it was a day of great sadness, but it was shortly followed by a day of my greatest happiness.
I wonder if my pumpkin pants still fit…
Till next week,