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MARRIAGE: LAS VEGAS
How are you going to get married, civil or church?  Where will you get married?  Are we invited? Is there going to be a party?  What is the wedding date?  Can I bring a friend?  Does RSVP really mean I have to tell you now?  Are you registered?  Are you reserving rooms for out-of-town guests?  Are you paying for them? What will the bride wear?  The groom?  Will alcohol be served?  What caterers shall we use?  Where we will print the invitations? How many people can we invite?  What do we do with the (you name them) who don't like the (you name them). 

WHEW!  All of these thoughts and a lot more ran through conversations that Linda and I had about getting married.  It did not take long for us to decide that we would not plan a wedding, not invite guests, nor hold a reception and above all, we would not give anyone a clue to where it would happen, how or in what state. 

First, we investigated eloping to Hawaii.  But upon inquiry it became apparent that Hawaiian weddings are designed for wedding parties, and we did not need to pay prices for people who would not be there.  But we did want to elope.  Where then could we get married on short order, in a timely way and enjoy ourselves with entertainment and anonymity.  Where else?  LAS VEGAS, NEVADA! 

Fly?  No.  Drive?  Yes.  Carry our own luggage?  Yes! Tell anyone when we were leaving?  No.  To have some fun with this wedding date, we informed a lot of the family and friends of a Guess the Date contest, which Linda supervised.  People were invited to send her the date that they thought that we would get married, and we would give the winner a special prize (not an all-expense paid trip to the wedding).

Approximately 30 people sent in their guesses which goes to prove I think that everyone likes to have a chance to win something.  The two most popular choices were January 1, 2003 and February 14, 2003. 

While we did not have a specific date set when the contest began, Linda kept all of the entries and when the time came to pin down the precise day, she asked me to do it, so that the contest would be fairly conducted.

We did have a few parameters during which time we felt that we would  elope to Las Vegas.  It had to be after January 1, 2003 for tax purposes.  It had to be before we went to Hawaii on February 3, 2003.  It could not be before the January 18, Elton John Concert in Centennial Gardens, Bakersfield, to which we had tickets.  But it needed to be before January 28 when my car insurance expired and we wanted to get combined policies for our two little run-abouts. 

So, keeping in mind all of those factors, Linda asked me when I wanted to get married in Las Vegas and I selected January 21, 2003.

And so we began to prepare.  Called the Candlelight Wedding Chapel which offered us a package of service, including limo transport from and back to the Flamingo Hotel where we planned to stay.  We got a time reserved "just for us," :-) at 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday, January 21, 2003. 

Then, we made reservations at the Flamingo for our room (two nights) and for the evening show on our wedding day, Gladys Knight and Her Pip.  We went shopping for her wedding ring to complent the engagement ring that I gave her in Vancouver.  We had to select my wedding ring.  We had fun doing these things, and then it was time to find a tux and a dress.

Renting a tux was easy, and Saba Mens Store on Baker Street, in Bakersfield introduced us to good, solid, old fashioned kind of clothier who measured me precisely, complimented me profusely and served us unfailingly. 

Finding a dress for Linda was a little more complicated.  We visited about half a dozen stores, and she walked a few more when I was not along.  We could not seem to find the kind of dress and color that seemed appropriate to the day and our stage in life.  Then, one day, just walking through the "softer side of Sears," we tried on a really nice, flattering navy blue dress and agreed that it was the one!  I loved the way she looked in it, and she was comfortable in it, although not too happy with the shoes that she had to buy to go with it. 

Nonetheless, we were now ready for a wedding.  By this time, all we had to do was enjoy Elton John and then pack while we watched the NFL playoffs and then we would be on our way.  Elton John was WONDERFUL!  He walked onto the stage at 8:00 p.m. when he was scheduled to begin, and he sat down and he started to play and sing.  No opening act.  No fitful delays.  No childish behavior.  No broken guitars or antics.  He just played and sang with this band, and he was GREAT! 

He performed for three hours, without interruption, to more than 10,000 people and the songs just kept rolling out of his mouth and off his fingertips. After 2 hours 15 minutes of this, given the volume of sound and the fact that he had performed every song we thought we wanted to hear, we left.  Got home about 11:00 p.m., relaxed to get ready for bed, went to bed. 

After not being able to sleep for about 2 hours, I found myself listening to my pulse in my ears.  Hmmmmmmm.  Irregular beat.  Hmmmmmmm.   Am I in A-Fib  again?  Hmmmmmmm.  Yes.  So, Linda and I went to Mercy Hospital and spent the next 8 hours getting processed, treated, and then when I did not convert, calling a cardiologist to do electro cardio-conversion on me.  While I was on the table, awaiting the little "go to sleep," shot, I converted, and we got up and went home.  Long night, no sleep, and I was pretty tired.  But we watched and slept through the Super Bowl, and on Monday, we left for Las Vegas, right on schedule. 

Everything about this trip was a treat.  The drive was without complications, and I enjoyed the scenery as we shared the driving.  The Flamingo treated us well, and since their dining rooms are undergoing renovation, we ate elsewhere and found especially good food at Bally's.  They have just re-done their dining room, and we each had 5 course meals that left us full and happy. 

Gladys Knight and her Pip were outstanding.  Her brother, "Bubba" continues to perform with her, adding energy and athleticism to the dancing and background antics of her support group.  But Gladys is really the show, as she has always been, and her voice was in excellent form, as was her humor.  We had seats at the front row, and one of the ladies we were sharing the table with, called out that we were married that day, and Gladys asked us some
questions: If you just got married, what are you doing here? Answer: We are old enough to know better.   Thank goodness she did not ask us to sing anything, not even a note....whew.  If she would have asked us what song she could sing for us, I would have answered, "Skylark."

Oh, yes, there was a wedding, and rather than try to describe it here, let me just show you how it went.  Pictures, pictures, pictures.  

AND.....THE WINNER OF THE CONTEST TO SELECT THE DAY (he chose January 21! ) OF THE WEDDING WAS.....GARRETT!


Garrett is Linda's grandson, and we were happy to purchase him a DVD player which will enhance his television viewing.  Garrett is seventeen years of age.

We are married.  We are happy.  We are at home in Bakersfield, and while my heart may go pitter-pat everytime I see Linda, it stays in rythym.....:-)
PICK A DATE, ANY DATE
BAGS ARE PACKED, ONE EACH
TUX IS READY, LET'S GO!
BEFORE DOING ANYTHING IMPORTANT IN LIFE....TAKE A NAP.
I THOUGHT THESE THINGS WERE ALREADY TIED! 
CHECK THE CROSSWORD PUZZLE, THEN PLAN THE DAY
FIRST, THE FOUNDATION....
THEN THE SHOES...
GOING TO THE CHAPEL...
MEET YOU AT THE LIMO...
OUR LIMO DRIVER BILL AND THE HAPPY COUPLE
I DO........I DO
WE ARE HAVING A REALLY GOOD TIME!
WHERE DID BILL GO?
BILL'S BACK TAKING PICTURES ....SO WHOSE DRIVING?
IT'S OFFICIAL!
BILL!  START DRIVING!
FLOWERS OF THE DAY
PART ONE: SHARED EXPERIENCES
PART TWO: OUT THERE ON THE RIVER OF LIFE
PART THREE: ENGAGEMENT
RETURN TO DIRECTORY
RETURN TO DIRECTORY
CLICK HERE FOR PICTURES THAT DID NOT MAKE THIS ESSAY.