On Tuesday, the 7th of February 2006, Elizabeth & I were married!
It was the 7th day of the 7th month of the 7th year since we first met. Therefore, we figured that several rituals were necessary to complete the whole experience…
On the 6th, we went down to Pala Resort and Casino near Temecula. Our theory was that the 7-7-7 mojo made it imperative that we throw seven dollars into a one-armed bandit. The morning of the 7th dawned auspiciously, a fine, hot, Santa-Anna-ish day. The Trickster, in the guise of a big ol’ high-desert crow, looked in the bathroom window at me, and uttered something that I can only imagine was along the lines of “Cawwwwwn grats” before flying off (I’m not an expert at beak-reading).
So we went down into the Casino proper, and scouted around ’til we found a dollar slot machine named “Double Diamond 7s.” Earlier, Elizabeth had put aside the seven dollars for the ritual, which, through some mysterious string of events, had grown to eight dollars. We forged boldly ahead, casting our wealth into the Bill-Validator of Fate, and ended up winning a total of $16. We resisted The Trickster’s tempting plan to have us lose it all in one grand roulette bet or something, and cashed out. So we doubled our fortune — a promising metaphor, if not Profound Omen.
Leaving Temecula, we stopped by a local Trader Joe’s to stock up on flowers, and had The Wedding Breakfast of Champions, i.e., cold pizza from the night before, along with some heart-shaped cookies and hot beverages. Then, we faced the traffic to Norwalk.
We actually got to Norwalk early, though, and sat in the Marriage Mobile and fixed up Elizabeth’s bouquet and a basketful of flowers for Elizabeth’s colleagues at County.
Then, the Moment was almost upon us. We entered, and waited in the green line, where we paid for our ceremony. They were able to take us immediately, but the news traveled like lightning, and we were greeted by smiling and congratulating throngs of Elizabeth’s colleagues. While Elizabeth handed out flowers, I was told at least a dozen times how lucky I was (a terrible understatement, of course, but I agreed anyway).
Maricela performed the ceremony, which was short and sweet, and exactly what I had wanted. Beforehand, I thought I might be nervous, but I was not. Ever since deciding to ask Elizabeth to marry me, I’ve been experiencing a better-than-caffeine clarity.
Well, here it was. We’re official! Did it feel different? Being married? Yes. Yes and no. As I’ve blunderingly said for a long time now, I’ve known that I plan to spend my life with Elizabeth. But there’s no question that a solemnization transforms that feeling into something else. Something deeper, more tangible. I suspect that when we have our public celebration, surrounded by family and friends, it will transform into something deeper still.
From Norwalk, we made our way towards Malibu. We made a brief and disappointing stop at the Ashes and Snow exhibit at Santa Monica pier, and an equally brief but much more satisfactory cappuccino stop at Marmalade Cafe. Then we drove out onto Point Dume, and walked up the trail to the top of the point. It was clear and warm, with only a light breeze. At the lookout point, Elizabeth quickly created a magical chapel.
In this chapel, surrounded by the beauty of the coast, we had our own ceremony. With occasional tears of joy, we proclaimed our vows to one another, tied a symbolic shawl around us, rang out bells, and had a chocolate or two.
We wiped our eyes, and wandered down the trail to an outlook deck. The view was spectacular: we could see the whole sweep of Santa Monica bay, Catalina Island, the elusive San Nicholas Island, and the Channel Islands to the north. We watched porpoises leaping in the distance, along with graceful strings of pelicans and surging sea lions. And we watched the sun slowly set.
As the drama was playing out in the sky, we headed down the hill to an excellent dinner at The Sunset, before returning home. To paraphrase Steinbeck, it was a day like other days and yet perfect among days.
(you can view larger versions of the pictures above by clicking on them)