Friday will be the 10th anniversary for my Uncle R and his wife C!
If you know me in person, you probably know that I had two major influences (from each side of the family): Ricky and 'R'. R is often referred to as my Beatles Uncle.
Many readers also know that, despite being happily single, I quite enjoy stories about weddings: particularly the proposal, the choice of wedding song, and other traditions such as the tactic used to get the bride and groom to kiss at the reception.
Well, Uncle R and C have a dandy story. A Hall of Famer. I hope I haven't written it before... I'm getting old and this is an old blog.
Here we go...
Both of the families have a long history with our local volunteer fire department. C's father and my father (R's brother) were in the department for many years. Many of us grew up around the 'fire hall'. We were often at the station on weekends; there was a major summertime competition between rival departments, where the firemen/women would display their skills; and, of course, our fathers would rouse themselves from bed in the dead of winter to fight a barn or a house fire. (See the quote by John Godfrey Saxe).
Ever since she was young, C wanted to ride on a fire truck at her wedding. She was often told, despite the sense of community, firemen do not -- cannot! -- use equipment for such things. For years, she was told "it's not gonna happen".
Many years later she met my uncle and the courting commenced. A couple of years later, I was living in Cincinnati and I received the call: he popped the question. I was asked to be best man.
And so on a sunny day in April 1999 there was a lovely ceremony in a small church back home. Though I nearly killed poor R by pinning a corsage into his chest, everything else went swimmingly. (Some other time, I'll write about weddings in small churches. They are wonderful.)
The couple walked down the aisle together, smiling, and received people at the back of the church. We all filed past them, going outside to blow bubbles (in lieu of throwing rice) on the happy newly-weds.
Imagine the look on C's face, as she stood at top of the church steps, when she gazed upon the Fire Engine No. 1, below. Fresh from a wash, its classic red paint glistened majestically in the mid-day sun. Four firemen from the department stood by her, dressed in their formal blues. Giddy with delight, C and R climbed aboard, off to the reception, held at the very same fire hall where we played as children.
When a father and an uncle put in years of good work, and want to surprise good people, things happen.
And dreams come true.