To say that David is a professional photographer is a disservice. He's an artist. And the few shots he took were amazing. He put them together in a beautiful album, which was his and James' wedding gift to us.
So when we were asked to join them at their wedding, and they hadn't hired a photographer, I made David give me his camera. So there do exist some shots of the wedding, but they're in David's camera. And they will in no way capture the lovely moments were for fortunate the share with them.
It was small ceremony in a church built on Monhegan Island, Maine, in the 1800s. There were just 11 of us, not including the minister, who was on a two-week rotation that he and a bunch of other men and women of faith take part in so there's an official at the church. They're all sorts of denominations and I think their tours of ministerial duty are a great expression of how godly people ought to act. They just take their turn and respect the other. How cool is that?
The ceremony was short. The words were lovely, but I remember mostly a phrase that was something like, "marriage isn't the pursuit of a great partner; it's being a great partner."
It was totally and wholly wonderful and I feel blessed to have witnessed it.
Also a blessing was when Peter saved us all when he noticed a candle had lit up one of the blooms on the table. It became a great momento/corsage.
We met David's friend Frances Kornbluth, who was a wedding guest and was once a cover girl for National Geographic. She's in her 90s now but she still paints in her studio, which is in her summer island home, which is one house away from Jamie Wyeth's home, which is a few hundreds rocks away from the Atlantic Ocean.
We visited her studio on Sunday morning as part of our island exploration. I found a print of brilliant reds and orange and blues and kept asking people where I'd seen it before. Was it on a print? A tee-shirt?
Not looking up from where she was looking for something for David, Frances said, "You've looked out over the water on Monhegan at sunset. That's where you saw it."
It was a short but great visit. The place is just soaked in serenity where every dirt path can lead you to new kind of inspiration. Jen and Peter probably covered the most ground, though I think we all made it to the lighthouse and the rock that proclaims John Smith (Yes that John Smith) was there before you.
The Monhegan House, where we all stayed is at least as old as the church. All but one of the bathrooms are on the second floor. None of the rooms have keys. They all have windows that open to the breeze.
After the wedding supper, I was wiped out. I went upstairs for a minute and made the mistake of laying down. Two hours later, I wandered downstairs again where most of the wedding party was yukking it up. We ended up on the porch and James found an open bottle of wine.
Ever the gentleman, he asked if I wanted to share. I declined, saying, "I said I'd never drink again on Thursday night."
From the dark reaches of the porch came this Eastern drawl: "But it's Sahtidday night now."
Early Sunday morning, I came out of our room to meet David's brother, Steven, as he emerged from his and John's. We gushed about the beautiful light that was streaming in.
He couldn't wait to get downstairs to walk about. I was just as enthusiastic and we struggled for a moment to describe it.
"It's like, it's like, it's like I've just put on my glasses," he said. "I have to get out there. Plus. I've gotta pee."
It's a very practical place, Monhegan. They tolerate the tourists. Ali and I had walked down to the beach to check if the tide had left more sea glass. As we left, two older ladies stopped us to remark on our hair and said just the previous week they'd had redheads too. So unusual. What brought us to the island?
"Oh the wedding!" they said. Of course they knew about the wedding. James and David have been visiting for years and there are only a few families that live there year round. There's a sign somewhere that says "If you can't stand the winter, you don't deserve the summer."
I don't deserve the summer. But I'm glad I got to experience it and to meet a few of the people there.