March 20, 1971"After all, any given moment has its value; it can be questioned in the light of after events ... but the moment of beauty was there." -- F. Scott Fitzgerald
This is where I was, 40 years ago, and it was a good place to be. A warm, sunny day in Denver, the first day of spring and it felt like the end of a winter. It was John and Yoko's second anniversary, but we weren't aiming for that. It was simply a Saturday that worked for everyone, but it was a simply beautiful Saturday.
We'd thought about getting married on a mountaintop, specifically, the top of Mount Evans, because that was fashionable, at least in theory, and perhaps practical for marriages that neither family was going to attend anyway. But after driving up there and falling in love with the view, we realized that, given that our families did intend to show up, it would be asking a whole lot of our grandparents and several un-acclimated flatlanders to drag them up to a spot over 14,000 feet above sea level.
Instead, my soon-to-be brother-in-law set us up with a nice Episcopal Church in Denver where the father of his roommate at CU was not only rector, but enough of a social activist and mensch that he was willing to let us use the church and the parish hall, and to even sign the marriage license although the actual marriage was being performed by an ex-priest who had, as I understand it, left the Catholic clergy in a quarrel over his active support of the farmworkers.
Not that Craig had a lot to do. We had not only written our vows and chosen our readings, but we had written the ceremony itself, and Craig was more of an emcee than a celebrant. But, since he was a friend of Kathy's family, he was able to say some nice things about marriage and drop in a few relevant specifics in his monologue, or preface or whatever it was. As I recall, in the write-up for the ceremony, it just said, "Craig" at that point, which left him a fair amount of latitude.
We wanted something that would express who we were, and that would reflect the culture of Boulder in which we had met, but we wanted something that looked like a wedding, too, and it did.
Our readings were from Psalms -- I think 128 -- and Kahlil Gibran, and we included a poem that was familiar to all our Boulder friends but new to everyone else, and then we were horrified a few months later when it was set to music, recorded by Les Crane and released in the Top 40, where it became one of the great cringe-inducing cliches of the era. Well, it was fresh when we served it.
We were at the church well before anyone else. Kathy actually got there quite a bit before I did, setting up the reception in the parish hall with her aunt, while I was meeting the band in Boulder and leading them down to Denver and the church. "Magic Music" was a CSN-type group who lived in a pair of school buses up over Ward, which is at about 9,450 feet. I had made the original deal with them at one of their gigs in Boulder but then had to go find them to finalize it, and that involved a lot of driving around and asking people. But it was worth it; they were one of the area's, and the era's, great treasures.
Then, before the wedding, we went out front and greeted people. We all stood and talked until we decided it was time to shoo people in so we could make our entrance and get things rolling. Oh, and while everyone was socializing, we ducked inside with Craig, my older brother Rick, who was my best man, and our ushers, our roommate Dean, and Kathy's little brother Bill, and Kathy's maid of honor, Marcie, so we could have a quick rehearsal. Then my little sisters Lois and Martha handed everyone a carnation as they entered and we got married.
The wedding reception had only the necessary formalities -- the cutting of the cake and the tossing of the bouquet. The rest of the time, people stood around and talked, and it was a great, amicable mingling of people who would have never met in real life. The pictures here, by the way, were a wedding gift by a friend of Kathy's from the Colorado Springs Sun, where she had done two internships and had made friends, and most of what happened that day, except for the band, the cake and the wine, was a gift. That's also how things were, there and then.
It was a beautiful day, and one that went off with no visible hitches, that itself being a tribute to the era, because we all assumed it would work out and we didn't sweat the details.
We had hidden our car a few blocks away, and Dean gave us a ride over there, whence we left for a one-night honeymoon before returning to Boulder and home.
The rest of the story? Well, we made it for 13 years and we produced a pair of really good kids, and we still get along just fine when fate and family obligations throw us together.
And we had a great wedding on a beautiful day, 40 years ago. The moment of beauty was there, for sure.