We’ll be going to a wedding in a few weeks. I’m sure it will be the most awesome wedding I’ve ever attended. The location will be over the top, but let me tell you about a genuinely happy couple.
They met in Jackson, Wyoming, far from their birthplaces and parents, and both adventuring forward in their lives. From solid, stable homes they sallied forth into the world.
Clarissa and James are both from the east but they met out west. Holding what we’d call liberal ideas, he’s from a fine Massachusetts family that rakes Cape Cod oysters for their holiday gatherings. She, on the other hand, grew up in the warm embrace of Ingleside Baptist Church. Her family gatherings centered on Thanksgiving turkey hunts and tailgating outside Sanford Stadium with 92,746 of their closest friends.
He grew up on the rocky coastline and cold water of the Down-easter’s. Her family soaked in the warm salt water and sandy beaches of Hilton Head Island. When he talks about skiing, he doesn’t mean what we mean. Everybody knows the joy of skiing at Lake Sinclair or Lake Oconee. No, he has to say water skiing the way we have to say snow skiing.
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Both had fine college experiences with friends, Greek life, dating and all the right gowns and tuxes, but neither of them ever found that special other the way one expects to during those years.
Somehow, life found them both working in Jackson, Wyoming, more commonly referred to as Jackson Hole, a plain at 6,000 feet with the Tetons towering above it. It was a long circuitous route that brought them there, but as the force of love would have it, they met at the waters’ edge.
She worked in marketing, representing outdoor products of clothing and gear. He had structured his life to guide on the Snake River in the summers and ski in the winters. They met when she also was hired to guide raft trips on the Snake. She thought he was hot, he asked her to lunch, and the rest is history -- at least so far.
A strong young woman of exceptional beauty, intellect and drive, no young man had been able to capture her heart. Maybe it was the stories from the time he went hiking in New Zealand that caught her ear, maybe it was his passion for mixing business with adventure.
Strangely, he won her heart after her precious Ward the Ford got attacked. She was away on business when her Escape got randomly battered and bruised. He knew just what to do. He met her at the airport with a shotgun, some skeet and a few cold ones. They took his F250 out on the prairie and let off some steam. She had been violated and his cool hand steadied her beating heart.
Who can understand love? Sand and rocks, mountains and piedmont, rivers and oceans -- all so different and so obviously connected. Love is real and yet ethereal. Love happens in such definite ways but can hardly be defined.
The happy nuptials will happen on the Bison and Elk plains of Jackson Hole with the Tetons standing watch. I can’t wait.
Bruce Conn is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and practices as a group therapist.