”Love each other, or perish.”
Those words were penned by a longtime colleague of mine — Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press. He penned those words writing the best-selling book Tuesdays with Morrie, and on Saturday, those words came home to roost with me.
The occasion was the wedding of Danny Yaws and Beth Whitworth. They were married near a massive Texas oak tree just south of Smiley on the ranch of my good friends Kenneth and Terri Stewart. For some reason known only to the participants, the future and now-present Mr. and Mrs. Yaws decided they wanted yours truly to be their wedding photographer.
Whatever possessed them to make such a dangerous decision on the biggest day of their lives together, only God and the angels will know. Yet there I was, all primed and ready in my Hawaiian shirt and shorts to shoot pictures at the solemn ceremony. Well, I guess I cannot say I was primed and ready.
I was terrified.
In my entire journalism career spanning almost 35 years, I have never been asked to take the official wedding photographs of anyone, let alone two friends. I was sure that someone had to be taking a wee nip at the bottle to entrust such a solemn and sacred task to such a novice as myself at the altar of love.
I felt the honor of the moment and wanted to do my best for the happy couple. I was just praying I didn’t screw it up. Compounding the situation was the weather, which was alternating between cloudy, windy, rainy, and eventual peek at the sun.
I was concerned about lighting. I was concerned about not getting in the way of the ceremony. I was concerned about capturing all the big moments. I was hoping I would not fall down!
Yet as the magical moment arrived around 3:30 p.m., experience took over and I went on auto-drive. The camera was turned on, the shutter snapped on cue, and the beautiful service took place. Now there are no longer two separate individuals, but only one Mr. and Mrs. Danny Yaws. Don’t tell anyone, but yes, I teared up as they exchanged their vows. If those pictures turn out blurry it is because the tears of happiness blinded my ability to focus.
After the ceremony the clouds cleared, the sun came out and a rainbow appeared on the eastern horizon. The thought hit me that the weather was a perfect metaphor for what a marriage is. Like a marriage, the day started with great hope, love and promise. The weather turned cloudy, and a strong storm blew through. But like any good marriage, everyone persevered and resolved that getting through the weather was more important. In the end, the sun came out and a rainbow ascended over the heavens. A perfect scenario of any marriage.
It was a fun day, a happy day, and one I won’t forget. Spending time on a Texas ranch for a wedding and a barbecue (cooked by the great BBQ-er Conti) is something Texans do better than anyone. On a weekend when I rejoined the ranks of the single and eligible bachelors, it was wonderful to see the hope, happiness and love that a great relationship can bring to a couple.
So, to my friends Danny and Beth Yaws, I offer this message from Nicholas Sparks from the Notebook: “I’ve loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.”
May it be so for you as well. God Bless, and all the best in your new lives together.