We’re standing on the courthouse steps where it all began 19 years ago, and we’re being swarmed by paparazzi.
We exchanged our wedding vows at this spot in 2002 give or take a couple of days, because Mo was freaked out during 2001 (remember the good old days when that seemed like the worst thing that could ever happen?) So we said our vows here on a sunny day with a very kind judge and a perfect best person. And now, here we are again.
We’re taking our annual anniversary selfie when on a whim I ask a guy sitting nearby if he would mind shooting our photo. I worry about that sort of thing these days with the latest round of virus frenzy, touching a stranger’s camera and all, but he seems OK with it. If OK means pointing to his wife and assuring us she’d love to do it.
They’re in a small group, maybe mid-20s, with a pack of kids, sitting in the grass and basking in the warm day. I explain to her that it’s our anniversary (OK, it’s actually next week but it works out to today because of the time difference caused by the Olympics in Tokyo) and this is where we got hitched a couple decades ago. Her face lights up, excited to be a part of it (girls are weird) and she enthusiastically grabs my phone.
She lines us up and starts shooting, and shooting, and shooting, but the lighting isn’t quite right. She asks her sister, who seems to be the family expert, how to adjust the phone camera. The sister shows her how to tap on a certain spot. And then she grabs HER phone and joins in the event. It’s now a contest.
They shoot close. They shoot far away. They turn the phones upside-down to shoot upward. They’re down on their stomachs shooting directly up. I wait for the drone to fly over and the makeup person to powder my nose.
They compare photos, critiquing each other. They laugh a lot. So do we. We tell them it would make a better photo if we were shooting photos of them instead of the other way around, because they’re so animated, and we’re just standing here.
The photo op lasts longer than the original wedding, which consisted mostly of the judging asking Mo “Do you take this guy as your husband,” Mo responding yes, and the judge asking the obvious follow-up: “Why?”
The photographer finally says she has the perfect shot, and sure enough, it’s great. Her sister shows Mo her photos and gets Mo’s phone number so she can send them to her. We thank them for the millionth time and go back to the Tour de Flagstaff. They settle back in to their party in the grass, the kids oblivious to the frenzy. Another happy ending in a life blessed to have so many.
19 years. Seems like only a year ago it was 18 years. Time flees.
There’s so much craziness on the planet these days, so much worrying. Every now and then it’s nice to have a reminder that behind the masks and the craziness, people are inherently good, that they’re happy to help, that they love joining in a celebration.
And lordy, they love taking a photo.
Here’s to another 19 years.
But maybe we’ll just use the timer next year.