Native Plants, Habitat Restoration, and Other Science Snippets from Athens, Georgia

Thursday: 9 January 2014

Adventures in Getting Married  -  @ 12:09:26
Last week, around 1pm on Thursday, January 2, Glenn and I got married in Washington, DC, after 35 years together.

We could talk about the reasoning and the limitations that moved our choice of venue, but we'd be here for hours. I may have some thoughts on those matters later. I love Georgia for many reasons, but not for the social and political ones. Georgia, sadly, was for those reasons out of the picture. Maybe some day, but not now. We are not spring chickens, and we really couldn't wait any more. Suffice it to say that we made our choice, and chose Washington, DC as our state of celebration.

A lot of people have asked why we didn't stay longer in DC, and again there were a lot of reasons, but mostly I convinced Glenn that it would be fun to fly there and back on the same day. He choreographed all the timing brilliantly, even though neither of us could have figured in at the time that the Arctic blast that we've seen in the last few days would be developing in the midwest.

Here's what our day was like.

We left home around 2:30 am last Thursday, and got back at 8:30pm that night, two hours after expected. Flights were all delayed since they originated in snow storm country. But because of that we were never late for either of the two flights, although we spent a lot of time waiting in the Atlanta and DC National airports.

Because of our long time firefighting association, we chose to wear emergency responder dress uniforms, identical, and they're all black - black pants, black shirt, black jackets, black ties. Those who follow this blog might know that we've fulfilled that role for the last ten or twenty years, so for us this was an appropriate salute. We got plenty of quick looks, and I'm sure they wondered what religious group we were members of. Not Mormons, surely, no white shirts, and besides aren't they drinking coffee and Heinekens? The only person who verbalized notice was the captain on the flight from Atlanta. As we boarded, he said to Glenn, who was ahead of me, "Don't look now but there's a guy behind you dressed exactly the same way." Glenn said, "I know, he's been following me all morning." There is only the tiniest minuscule chance that that pilot will ever see this, but other than the other thing, he made my day.

The only two points where the late arrival made a difference included the wedding ceremony itself. It had been originally scheduled in the Reverend Starlene Joyner Burns's conference room on Pennsylvania Avenue at 11:45. That's actually when the plane arrived. During the flight we were able, through circuitous SMS routes, to get word to Rev. Burns and she made a few executive decisions. She had a 1 o'clock ceremony conducting another wedding, and suggested we meet her at the church at 12:30. We got there by taxi a little after noon, and she married us in the library a little before 1pm. The practicing violinists for the following ceremony asked us if we'd like for them to play the wedding march, and then they did.



That's the very handsome stone built National Swedenborgian Church of the Holy City, on 1611 16th Street. The only time we had for taking photos turned out to be in airports, so I found this one taken by michiel1972, on panoramio. The church was completed around 1912 (the first one was destroyed by fire). It's English Perpendicular Gothic, which emphasizes overall asymmetry, which seems oddly appropriate. In some ways, the 18th Century founder, Emanuel Swedenborg, turned out to be also oddly appropriate for us, as did the church's mission statement.

The church is actually in Dupont Circle. For me, the coincidence closed a little circle that I had no idea had been spun up in college, when a couple of friends and I drove up from Tallahassee to DC during spring break. Dupont Circle had been one of our targets of interest. We may have actually driven or walked by the church, not guessing that Glenn and I would again visit it almost 40 years later. There will be those who can figure out the other significances of Dupont Circle.

We had thought we might not make the 2pm flight back home, but it too had been delayed an hour. We'd still have just made it anyway, because of security and wheelchair superstatus, but in the end got to sit, relax, laugh about the events, and kill four celebratory Heinekens before boarding.

It was mostly whiteout clouds all the way back but a couple of hundred miles before Atlanta had cleared enough to reveal most incredibly colored cloud formations in half a dozen strata right around sunset. It was pretty bumpy in all the wind and I think the pilot bounced the plane at least once on landing. Though I have flying anxieties, it was a great and bumpy ride, and I told the flight crew that. Might have had something to do with the Heinekens.

The only thing we actually did miss was our transport back to Athens, since the plane landed in Atlanta just around that time. But we did squeeze onto the next limo and that got us to the Georgia Center. We got home eighteen hours after we left, just in time to feed the cats. It felt like we'd been gone a week, but all's well that ends well.

Finally!

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