Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dave and Stephanie’s Wedding, Part One of Two

I thought I had the rest of our summer all planned out. Normal stuff – Red Sox baseball game, class reunion, art show in the local park. It was all detailed in my summer planning spreadsheet. Then my friend Dave flew into town and, well, things got interesting.

I’ve written about Dave here before. But if you’re new to this blog, what’s important to know is that he’s my childhood best friend and has lived most of his adult life in Las Vegas. Although he earned an electrical engineering degree, he has made a name for himself in Vegas as a musician. Dave visits Maine most summers, making his way around the state to see as many people as he can.

He gave me a few weeks’ notice before flying to Maine in late July of this year. “We’ll just play it by ear when I got there,” he said. This was typical, and I expected no further commitment.

Dave and I met in first grade and immediately became best friends. Because I lived up on the hill and he lived down on the lake it took me five minutes to ride my bike to his house but fifteen minutes to get back home. He had a pool table in his basement and a lake in his backyard, so we stayed at his house more than mine, but he was no stranger to my family. His mom and dad, Gail and Wayne, became like second parents to me, and I still think of them that way.

Later, Gail and Wayne sold the lake house and bought an old farmhouse up on the hill, still a bike ride away. But soon enough we had our driver’s licenses. In high school, Dave’s interest in music began to dominate his free time. He tried to teach me the guitar, so I could jam with him and his friends, but he became frustrated with my apparent tone deafness. Thus ended my brief flirtation with playing in garage bands.

He spent more and more time with the musical types, but our friendship didn’t suffer. We still shared a special connection and found opportunities to hang out together – and get in trouble together. We were college roommates the first semester, and then fraternity brothers for the rest of our college years. Again, at the fraternity we gravitated toward different groups. Or I should say he spent most of his time with certain brothers, and I spent most of my time with Kim. But again, I wouldn’t characterize it as a weakening of our friendship.

Shortly after college he and his parents moved to Las Vegas. Our paths couldn’t have been more different. He led a single life as a musician in Sin City. I worked for corporations as an engineer, married my high school sweetheart, and lived in rural northern Maine, and later south coastal Maine. But, because of my visits to Las Vegas and his visits to Maine, and several phone calls throughout the year, we remained close. To this day, when we get together, we pick up where we left off, as if nothing ever changed. Of course, sometimes things have changed.

John was another good friend growing up, essentially the third leg of our stool. He lived halfway up the hill when we were kids, and today he and his wife Ann live only a few miles from Kim and me in South Portland. Below is a picture of me, John, and Dave after our last high school football game.

Until recently, Dave had been a lifelong bachelor, although he had a tendency toward serial monogamy. I grew close to several of his serious girlfriends, only to see them disappear, one after the other.

On this trip to Maine, Dave brought his live-in girlfriend of several years, Stephanie. Kim and I had met Stephanie both here and in Las Vegas, and we adored her. We tried to keep our emotional distance from Stephanie, with little success, because we knew we would lose her at some point down the road. When Dave and Stephanie arrived in Maine a few weeks ago, we had a little get together with about ten people at our house on Sunday night. At this party, Stephanie revealed that Dave had recently proposed to her, and that she had accepted. When we found out they had no specific wedding plans, and, in fact, doubted they would have a formal wedding, Kim and Ann went to work on Dave and Stephanie. Why not have a wedding, right here in our backyard, before you go home to Las Vegas?

Everyone loved the idea, but it was late at night, and more than a little alcohol had been consumed. I suggested to Stephanie that, in order to seal the deal, in order to make it so Dave couldn’t change his mind in the morning, she should call her two sisters and give them the good news. With Dave’s blessing, she did. Nevertheless, I was nervous the next morning until we heard from the couple that their wedding plans were still on.

During the planning party, I had offered up my brother, Tom, who is a notary public, to officiate the wedding. I confirmed with him on Monday morning that he was willing and able to do that. I called South Portland City Hall to find out the legalities of an out-of-state couple getting married by the end of the week. Turns out there was no waiting period, but because Stephanie was previously married she needed to produce an original, stamped divorce decree from the court that granted her divorce. She made a call and had the document Fedexed to me.

Dave and Stephanie set out the next morning, Monday, for a tour of the state, with plans to return on Friday in preparation for a Saturday wedding. Beginning Monday morning, Kim and Ann went to work on the wedding. It was a crazy week.

We are thankful to Dave and Stephanie for giving us this opportunity, to allow our little oasis in the city to be their wedding venue. Sometimes the impromptu events, the ideas conceived among friends over beers, turn out to be the best. Sometimes going “off spreadsheet” is justified, even inspired. This was one of those times.

Click here for part two.


  1. Sweet. Thanks for sharing, and taking some of us camping too. Getting around pretty well with SPMS I am pretty active. Since my diagnosis in 2012 I attend many MS events. About a year or so ago I ran into an old friend. She and I attended kindergarten through 9th grade at the same school. One building, same students, same teachers (well, for the most part) and a graduating class of about 30 kids. She was diagnosed with RRMS 15-20 yrs. ago. She is doing well, married, with children in their twenties. Come to find out, I was the first boy she kissed. wow. Thanks again Mitch. I have a truck driver friend who I used to travel many miles via motorcycle with and am trying to get him to take a load to Portland Maine. The chances of this happening are slim to none. He is from New Hampshire, a Hockey fan, and Red Sox lover.



  2. JE, thanks for commenting! Isn't it fun to reestablish those old connections, and isn't it strange the people you know who end up with MS?

  3. Awe - how special. This made my heart smile.


  4. This is really a wonderful post.