The son of friends was married last weekend. But it goes beyond that. Jacob Woodworth and our late son, Jake, were best friends during their grade school and middle school years. I have many memories of Jacob at our house, Jake at his house, his mother, Joyce, calling to see if her son was at my house, and my calling her to ask if our son was at her house. I had an affection for Jacob then, and it continues to this day.
After John died, I wondered if I could go to the wedding. It just seemed too emotional. But then I decided to just do it, and I’m glad I did.
All my dilly-dallying around before getting a place to stay in Longville, Minnesota, where the wedding was held at Camp Olson, left me with a single room over a bar. Oh, well. But then the groom’s mother told me that some other rooms had opened up at a resort near the Camp, so I gave them a call. The only thing available was a cabin that sleeps 8. The price was a little steep for one person, but then I thought I could make it into a family vacation at the same time I attended the wedding.
So last Friday, Morgan and I and her two little girls drove up to Longville. We made it in 6 hours with a stop for lunch that was a little longer than it would have been with adults, if you understand what I’m saying. We got there about 5:30 p.m., unpacked the car, went grocery shopping, and had dinner in Longville. When we arrived back at the cabin, we met up with Cassidy, Angie, and their son, and Morgan’s husband, Dan. They reported seeing snow in the air near Mille Lacs.
We had big plans for fishing and playing, but Saturday dawned cold and rainy. We made a big breakfast, and then Cassidy and I went in search of warmer clothes for me. I had forgotten gloves, and thought I had better get a warm hat, too. In spite of the vast array of T-shirts and baseball caps in the local stores, we were able to get what I needed. I took my things back to the cabin, where everyone else was champing at the bit to get out and see something. Dan and Angie had tried unsuccessfully for fish. They were told nothing was biting but walleye, and they were way out in the deep water. Besides, it was really cold, and not ice fishing weather yet!
I wanted to get a hot shower in before the wedding, and knew there would be a run on the single bath, so arranged to meet them for lunch. We had pizza, which we followed with ice cream, for which it is apparently never too cold. After lunch, they went over to camp to show the little kids where they could go for a fun-filled couple of weeks when they are old enough. My girls were faithful Camp Olson campers, and enjoyed seeing the updates since their days there, and showing their families where they had stayed as young girls.
By then, it was time for Morgan and me to get ready for the 4:30 p.m. wedding. The others stayed home and played with their toys, watched videos, and after supper made a bonfire and s’mores.
The ceremony was held on the shores of Little Boy Lake. Colton Altobel, who is from this area, and now a staff member at Camp, made a pergola from birch branches, and it was decorated with fall flowers. The guests sat looking out over the lake, which now was sparkling like diamonds, as the sun had come out to warm the day a bit.
A string player set the mood. The wedding officiant, the groom’s sister, Lindsey, stood under the pergola waiting for the wedding party.
Jacob’s parents walked him to the pergola, where they embraced him, and he waited with his sister. The bridesmaids were in long gowns of either moss green or biscuit, and the groomsmen were in tuxes. I recognized some of them from Winona: the groom’s best man—his brother Nathan—and Thomas Shepard from the old neighborhood.
After they had assembled themselves on either side of the pergola, the ring bearer, dressed in a tiny white suit, and a flower girl in wedding finery, came down the aisle, carried by their fathers. The flower girl wanted to eat the rose petals, not throw them on the ground!
Then Nora, the bride, appeared in a beautiful cream gown, walking down the aisle with her parents. The ceremony was simple and touching, as Lindsey described the couple and their commitment to each other, and the couple exchanged heartfelt vows they had written. The ceremony included a handfasting, the tying together of the couple’s hands. Lindsey explained to us that it is an ancient Celtic ceremony signifying the binding of the two together in one life. It is to be performed near sunset, when the moon and the sun both appear in the sky. And sure enough, there was the sun setting behind us, and the half moon rising in front of us.
The recessional was music from Star Wars—the Throne Room theme song, I think, although I am not sure. But everyone laughed. The newlyweds then rode off on a camp utility vehicle, not usually used to haul such elegant cargo. It was decorated with pink crepe paper, and trailing behind were cans tied to the bumper. But the cans were the big huge ones used in commercial kitchens. Nora is in charge of the kitchen at Camp Olson. The sign on the back said, “JST MARRIED!”
From there we walked to an enormous tent set up for the occasion, with heaters inside. (Everyone breathed a sigh of relief. It was nice out, but still quite chilly). We mingled with friends from Winona, enjoyed a great meal, and then Morgan took me home because she wanted me to babysit the kids while she and Dan went back to party some more. There were many, many people at the wedding that Morgan and Cassidy knew from their camping and counselor days, so I agreed, reluctantly.
The next day was, of course, gorgeous—no rain, no snow in the air. We went back to camp for brunch and to say goodbye, and drove home through the most beautiful fall foliage. This time we made it in five hours. We learned our lesson; we made sandwiches in the car and kept driving. Then the kids could take as long as they wanted to eat.
We couldn’t help but think that Jacob and Nora are the perfect couple, and have the perfect life in the perfect place to live happily ever after.