My friends think I'm a little crazy. Three days before the start of my school year, I headed to Maine to officiate the wedding ceremony of a couple who I had never met.
The bride is a fan of my novels. We met online a few years ago after she read Something Missing and reached out to tell me how much she liked book, and over the course of time, we got to know each other. She went on to read all three of my novels, and she got to know my family thanks to social media.
Yes, it’s true. I drove for more than 17 hours over the course of three days in order to reach my destination and return home.
Yes, it’s true. I arrived at a cabin filled with people who I had never met.
Yes, it’s true, all of this was happening in my last few days of summer vacation.
My friends couldn’t understand why I would sacrifice three precious days of vacation in order to spend a total of about 30 minutes marrying a couple who I had never met.
Some of them thought it crazy to drive into the woods of Maine to meet someone who could very well have been an ax murderer.
More than a few thought it ludicrous that I wasn’t charging this couple a hefty sum of money to officiate a wedding four states away.
I went to Maine to marry Charity and Brent because when life presents you with a unique and unusual experience, you take it. A fan of my fiction asked me to play a role in one of the most important days in her life.
How many authors are given that opportunity?
How many people are given that opportunity?
Despite the long drive and the time away from my family, I had an experience that I will never forget.
I stood on a rock beside a crystal clear lake and assisted as two people promised to spend the rest of their lives with each other.
I met some amazing people along the way, including Truc, who somehow managed to cook a five-course Vietnamese dinner for two dozen in a tiny cabin kitchen in a place where questions like, “Where is your ginger?” engendered responses from supermarket employees like, “I’ll need to get my manager.”
I met Shelly, her husband, and her sons, who run a second-generation boy’s camp by the lake that teaches young man how to build canoes from scratch and paddle them across open water.
I met Sahar, the fire-eating, sword swallowing circus performer who entertained us with a death-defying spectacle after the wedding.
I met a painter from San Francisco. Fire fighters from Wisconsin. Many more. People from every corner in the country gather in Maine for this celebration, and I was fortunate enough to be there with them.
Yes, the drive was difficult, and the traffic was horrendous.
Yes, I missed Elysha terribly.
Yes, it would’ve been great to have spent the time swimming and biking and golfing and playing with Charlie and Clara.
Yes, I had a book to finish and could’ve used the time to wrap it up.
Yes, I had a classroom to prepare and a garage to clean and a thousand other things to do at home, but never again will I be presented with an opportunity like the one I had in Maine last week.
Sometimes you say yes because the question will never be asked again.