Day 28 From the Log Files of Hanna Parker
Jules and I were sitting down taking a short break from the Inn’s stage one completion when Bart and Janie ambled through the door and walked over to our table. We knew they had come back from the Mayflower yesterday and saw the shuttle’s touch down as they brought her in, but hadn‘t had a chance yet to speak with either of them. “Umm. Hi Hanna.” Bart said looking at me with an unusual expression on his face, “It’s good to see you but we came in to ask Jules a favor, kinda in private I guess, if you don’t mind?”
Jules, looking at me and offered, “Then how about sitting down, young man, and you too Janie…. Hanna could you keep yourself busy in the kitchen for a while? This sounds serious.”
While Bart sat himself on one side of Jules and Janie on the other, I said, “Certainly Dear. This does sound serious.” And with a grin and small chuckle I stood up in preparation for heading to the rear of the building.
Then Bart stopped me by saying, “No, don’t leave Hanna. It’s probably best if you hear this now anyway. It won’t be secrete for long.” I sat back down again and he continued speaking mostly to Jules, “I’ve noticed that you both seem uhh– contented – after how many years?”
Blushing slightly, I beamed as Jules replied, “44 years this coming… ,” he squinched a bit considering the Alchibah calendar and said, “Well soon.”
Then Bart just blurted out, “Maybe it’ll be same for me and Janie. Uhhh - sir, would you marry us?”
A smile splitting his face from ear to ear and placing his arm around Bart’s shoulder, Jules said, “Bart, I’d be honored” then he leaned over and kissed Janie’s cheek, saying “Congratulations, young lady! We wish you every happiness.”
Janie said, “It would mean so much to have a real wedding.” Then she laughed, “Not exactly like the one I’d dreamed of, but certainly a special occasion to remember and cherish.” I could tell they were deeply in love, and I hoped that would sustain them through life’s challenges here.
“Oh Janie that’s wonderful,” I said, giving each of them a hug. “Congratulations Again! Explain to us just exactly how you’d like to set it up and how soon? And another thing, Jules and I must host the party to celebrate.” I added.
Janie spoke first. “We want a small,” Bart broke in saying very small, “private ceremony and we will write our own vows.”
“Hadn’t even considered a party.” Bart muttered shaking his head and frankly looking a bit overwhelmed. “But in so far as when, the sooner the better.” He said with certainty.
Looking to Bart for agreement, Janie said, “Yes, as soon as we can make the arrangements, but shouldn’t we at least ask Joe, Eugene and the Stuarts to be there. I’d like Kara as my maid of honor.” And teasingly she said, “I know you’re your own ‘best man’ Bart, but unless you let Joe stand with you I can’t see you remaining in one piece after word gets out.” Then looking at me and Jules she said, “And yes, a reception would be fine, but please, keep it simple. Very simple!”
Bart was obviously uncomfortable but still smitten, and even as he could see the idea of a small private wedding unraveling nodded agreement.
“So, it’s settled then. A wedding there will be! And a party!”
At that moment, Arra and Aya, who had been playing on the porch outside, came careening towards us chasing a mechanical bouncing bunny, and overhearing our last few words they exclaimed in unison, “A wedding! A wedding! A Party! We want to come!”
Karyn, hearing the shouting, toddled over and said, “Flowers. I’ll bring pretty flowers.”
A couple days later, two hours after noon, with about a hundred and twenty of our closest friends gathered near and standing at the river’s edge in front of the First Inn; we would have had it at the church if it had been completed but it was still many weeks away, Jules presided over the ceremony. “We are gathered together here today to celebrate the union of William Prescott Bartlett and Veronica Jane Cantarubias in holy matrimony….”
It was a glorious spring day, actually early summer now, with a warm sun, gentle breeze, and wispy clouds in the sky. As they repeated their vows, I marveled at the young couple. They’ll be stronger as a couple, I though to myself, than if single. It had all worked out pretty well: Karyn picked a bouquet of wild flowers, Janie had a beautiful lavender silk sash draped over her shoulder, Jules read from my Bible.
To everyone’s surprise, as William finished saying his vows he slipped a simple gold band out from his pocket onto Janie’s finger. “My Mother would have wanted you to have this.” Then they tenderly kissed, and everyone clapped.
As we all walked back toward the Inn, the kids were gathered along the path, cheering, and throwing pod grass seeds at the wedding party; they were the closest thing to rice, though no one would want to eat them. Bart and Janie stopped at the door and greeted everyone coming inside.
A nice treat after dinner was a delicious cake that Emily and Linda had baked, artfully decorated by Liza. The best man, Joe Fortson, proposed a toast. Then my darling Jules stood, and clearing his throat said, “I usually keep my singing private in the shower or if public only at church. However, in celebration of Alchibah’s first newlyweds, I’d like to dedicate this song to them. And, looking more at me than at the happy couple, in his warm baritone Jules began singing the song he had written for me on our first day on the planet. The one that ended, “And I will never leave you love…no I will never leave you.”