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Happily Ever After

In the world of writing romance, those words are our stock in trade. Happily Ever After. This weekend, I got to see it in real life.

The DH and I ditched the kids with Jessica, and flew over to Walla Walla, Washington to go to a wedding. I haven’t been to a wedding in ages. I think it was my brother-in-law’s first wedding was the last one I went to. So yes, it’s been a while.

Let me first tell you that when the DH said we were going to Walla Walla, I was like Huh?! They are getting married there? How Come? You see to me, Walla Walla is the home of the state pen, and a whole lot of nothing. I remember driving through Walla Walla as a kid because there was really never a reason to stop. But that was before the grapes. You hear that a lot from the locals. “Before they put in the grapes.” Because you see, grapes and wine making have transformed the valley into a winery mecca. And with the wineries comes restaurants and shops and now the Walla Walla I remember as a kid is just that, a memory.

So while the weekend sort of revolved around the wedding and the assorted wedding events, the DH and I got to do some lazy, adult things. It is amazing how laid back and quiet a weekend can be when you have no kids. No Kids. We haven’t been away from the kids, together, for more than one night in over 6 years. And that was only because we had to go to a funeral, so that doesn’t count. So basically, this was the most alone time we’ve had since the little darlings arrived.

We went and got coffee. And sat. No rushed affair through Starbucks saying for the thousandth time, “It’s a hot chocolate OR a cookie, NOT both.” No, we had coffee at The Patisserie. Which is a fancy French way of saying, No kids. At least that was our translation. We loved it so much, we went twice. We ate at restaurants were there wasn’t a single nugget on the menu. We ate olives and antipasto, and beautiful salads and steaks (T Maccarone’s) and didn’t care how long our food took to get to the table. No one was melting down.

The best part of the weekend was seeing the bride’s face as she turned to come down the aisle. Friends and family standing up to welcome her and as she said Friday night at a gathering, “I have all my peeps around me. I couldn’t be happier.” I had thought that was funny Friday night, but on Saturday afternoon at two o’clock in the afternoon as this first time bride walked down the aisle, I understood down to my toes why that had been so important to her.

You see, this wasn’t some young couple starting their lives together in their dewy twenties, this is a couple who met in their 40s and have spent 12 years together. As the best man pointed out in his toast, they could have just continued living together, but they chose to get married because they knew after nearly a lifetime apart, together was so very right.

Here is Janet the Bride with my husband. They’ve worked together for years and he was thrilled to see “the cougar get caged,” as he teasingly likes to call her. Isn’t her dress glorious?  The bodice is a vintage tank bodice by Yves St. Laurent, then a friend of hers attached the tussah silk skirt onto the bodice. Just perfect.

And the day couldn’t have been prettier–great weather, lovely setting. Here is Basel Cellar Winery where the reception was held, . We dined and wined and danced under the stars–and of course in Walla Walla, far from the urban blight of lights that is Seattle, you could see the stars and the Milky Way and there were falling stars. Oh, it was so very romantic.

Now I’ve gotten a lot of email from people about Memoirs of a Scandalous Red Dress and they all seem to be split in two camps–I have dubbed them Camp Under 40: Dash and Pippin had to wait too long for their romance and their lives at that point were technically over, and the other camp, Camp Over 40 who adored the idea of a second time around romance. Since I wrote the story, you know which camp I belong to. But to all the naysayers and disbelievers, I wish I could have brought you this past weekend to the wedding I attended. Would have done a lot of people some good to see that life does not end once you turn 40. For this couple, their life was just beginning in so many ways and they were, shall we say, well past 40.

What struck me about the wedding and the reception was the sheer joy that seemed to permeate the entire day. Here are two people who spent a good portion of their entire adult lives single–you see neither the bride or groom had ever been married before, and then found each other. If that isn’t Happily Ever After, then I don’t know what is.

6 comments to “Happily Ever After”

  1. Karen Reece
    Comment
    1
      · September 16th, 2009 at 11:13 am · Link

    Just because you have turned 40 does not mean that your life is over. My sweetest friend is my sister Laura who is not married and is turning 40 this year. She often wonders if she will find someone special and I keep telling that she will.



    • Elizabeth
      Comment
      1.1
        · September 16th, 2009 at 11:23 am · Link

      Karen, I couldn’t agree with you more! Send your sister this story because Janet and Jerry didn’t meet until Janet was in her mid 40s. She’s got time!



  2. Diane
    Comment
    2
      · September 16th, 2009 at 5:44 pm · Link

    OMG your DH has grey hair! He looks good, and I realize I haven’t seen him in person or in a photo since your own wedding. He still looks like himself, but it was weird to see his hair that color. Your wedding would have been in 1993? Where does the time go? Glad you two could have some romantic time away from the kids.

    As I get older, I still enjoy the “sweet young thing” romances, but I do enjoy stories about a “more mature woman” too. As I get closer to 50 (next year) those stories give me hope.



  3. terri
    Comment
    3
      · September 16th, 2009 at 6:10 pm · Link

    Lovely story and yes, life is still vibrant after 40 & 50 & 60… There are different priorities and expectations at each decade of life that you don’t really understand until you get there.

    I’ve seen it is true, like you beautifully stated in the Pippin-Dash story, there is a different attitude toward love and being together. The under 40’s are in for a pleasant surprise, when they get there.



  4. J Prince
    Comment
    4
      · October 2nd, 2009 at 6:17 am · Link

    I have known my husband since 5th grade. We never dated. Then when we were 18/19 we told each other that if we weren’t married by the time we were 35 that we would marry each other(good friends, joking around). We were late :) I married him when I was 36. I looked up at him oneday and thought he was better than a book and that if he didn’t go home it was okay. I never settled. I grew up and married the man of my dreams.



  5. Karen H
    Comment
    5
      · October 22nd, 2009 at 6:39 pm · Link

    I’m partially in both camps on Dash and Pippin–I was sad they had to wait so long for their romance but do not believe their lives were over. And I’m over 40–okay, I just turned 60–so was happy to see an older couple get together (I am getting very tired of 17-19 year olds and prefer a heroine at least in her mid to late 20s–is that how old I am inside?). However, I was a little unhappy because Dash was in such bad shape (and then there was the revelation that he was either still married or only just barely widowed when he was originally romancing Pippin which was creepy–heroes are supposed to be faithful). I know that sort of thing is more realistic but I don’t really read romance for that kind of gritty realism. I hope your friends enjoy every minute they have together (well, and you and your husband, too, of course).





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