The sun came out this evening, after five or six days of gloom and/or rain. DF suggested we ride over to Kincaid Park and enjoy a view of the water, or at least a view of anything other than our own yard and our own four walls.
The parking lot at the Kincaid Chalet (actually a former bunker for nuclear-armed Nike missiles) was fairly crowded. Not unusual, since a lot of special events take place there.
“I think it’s a wedding,” DF reported when I returned from getting my sunglasses from the car.
The chalet is probably the number-one place for wedding receptions in Anchorage. You get a great view Mt. Susitna (aka “Sleeping Lady”), Fire Island and Cook Inlet, plus tons of trees and, sometimes, moose and bears.
We heard music and laughter and a DJ’s booming voice, and saw nicely dressed people milling around outside the chalet, whose doors were open. We intended to walk on by. But then Louis Armstrong’s voice arose, singing “What A Wonderful World.”
I pulled up short. “Let’s dance.”
Dressed in shabby gardening clothes and hair blowing every which way, we couldn’t have looked more out of place. Not that we were crashing the wedding, exactly, but we were borderline stalking it.
DF and I held each other close and swayed to Satchmo’s gravel-voiced love song, occasionally kissing and always smiling. You couldn’t call it dancing, exactly. But it worked for us.
A wedding wish
Not far away were a few dozen young men and women dressed in swanky and sometimes downright formal attire. That doesn’t happen very often here, since Anchorage is a city where you can wear corduroys to the opera and where spring breakup lasts a long time. Usually people dress for comfort, not for speed. But these youngsters were glamming it up.
Soon a woman in a long white dress and veil and a guy in a tux (a real one – not an Alaska tuxedo*) walked up a slight rise toward the chalet, causing a sensation among the waiting guests. A stout wind blew the bride’s veil almost off her head, but nothing could remove the smile from her face. Or from ours.
I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world
To the just-married couple: I don’t know if you could see the no-longer-young duo hijacking your DJ for some slow-motion spooning. I doubt it, because if things went as planned then you had eyes only for each other.
Maybe you did see us, and thought it was cute how those graying elders were hugging each other and then walking away hand in hand. Maybe you thought “eeewww.” Or maybe you thought, “We’ll never be that old.”
I wish you happiness and a life together that doesn’t include times that are unduly hard. I wish you hearts that grow both tougher and more tender when those hard times inevitably happen. I hope you’ll have the vision to see beauty in the everyday, and the wisdom never to take your partner for granted (even when they’re really asking for it).
I also hope one day that you are this old, and that you’ll still be looking at each other the way DF looks at me. And the way I look at him. What a wonderful world, indeed.
*Definitions vary, but I’ve heard “a matching set of Carhartt jacket and pants” and also an engineer’s jacket (rip-stop material with lots of pockets) and pants made of a similar material. This is not to be confused with an Alaska three-piece suit, which is an outfit composed of wool, fleece and fur.
- Midlife love rocks! (Ask me how I know)
- The opposite of obligation
- Midlife love STILL rocks
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