Tuesday, May 18, 2004

vThe Dope on Elopement

I wish it were six months from now. I find that I am like a gold prospector. The silt, mud, and excess water drain away as I pan. I am left with gold nuggets. My story stripped of all the unnecessary.

I-75 South. It was lit up in the afternoon sunlight. Things took on an intensity that became slightly surreal to my senses. The farm land and horse country gave way to rolling hills. They gave way to the dense forests of Daniel Boone National Forest. Then, the majestic beginning of the Smoky Mountains. The sun was low in the West when we crossed the state line giving the world a magical glow It was magical that evening.

We drove up and down the two streets of Jellico looking for what I assumed would be the chapel of love! Jellico is renown for elopements. Famous actually. Did I expect a Las Vegas, Brittney Spears experience? I don't know what I expected, whatever it was I could not find it.

I spotted the police station and pulled in. I spoke to a handsome young officer and was informed that we needed to go to the County Clerks office in the morning and purchase a marriage license. They would call the chapel and set up the ceremony. The officer was so sweet. “When do you expect to get married?” “Tonight! I have him tied up in the back seat. Ready to go!“

It did not happen until the next morning. It was a miracle it happened then. In our haste to leave neither of us took any cash! We barely had enough with the help of the ATM machine. The chapel took a check, thank God. I was determined. There was no way I was leaving the state still a Miss. I was going to present the most heartfelt persuasion ever delivered in that mountain town. That was not necessary.

We were married at 1130am on May 13th. I wore my Nana’s watch. Jake, the director of tourism for Jellico was our best man and witness. Uncle Sam was the preacher. He did a fine job. If I were asked if I wanted anything in particular read, I would have requested 1Corinthians 13. I was not to be disappointed. He read it at the very end.

We were the 77th couple to be married in the chapel since its resurrection in January 2003. Our first task together as a married couple was to ring the church bell together seven times.

That, my friends, was music to my ears.

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