An exciting weekend of weddings is approaching, and I am thrilled to death! Most all weddings are exciting affairs, but these two have blessings written all across them. Two beautiful people, one a minister with grown children, and grandchildren, and the other a retired school teacher with grown children and grandchildren, will begin new chapters.
I first met Rev. Alice Kay Hoover around 2003 when her daughter, Amy, began taking voice and piano lessons with me. I immediately fell in love with these two and have so enjoyed, and appreciated their friendship these past ten years. Alice, now the presiding minister at North Bend United Methodist Church in Southwest Ohio, was reunited with a dear friend, David, last fall. Alice is terribly creative, and talented, has a deep passion for music (all kinds, actually), and the arts. This passion she lovingly shared with Amy who, as a skilled high school photographer, took photographs of my cat and dog that I cherish.
Nearly forty years ago, a beautiful family our next door neighbors in Elwood, Indiana. Don & Susan Fortner, their young son, Jason, and their expected child, daughter, Laura. I don’t think anyone could know a lovelier couple, truly devoted to God. Don was the printing teacher at the high school, and one of the most delightful personalities and witty. Susan, though tiny, and seemingly frail from her near life-long battle with lupus, was anything but frail – she was a dynamo of energy, possessing one of the greatest capacities to love and be of service to others, and a powerhouse of courage, strength, and determination. Sadly, August 2012, the frail body could continue no longer. Don was a deeply devoted husband and father, was loving care-giver to Susan. Don was also my role model, and whether intended or not, a surrogate father for me. For many years, until my driving days began, I rode to school with Don, and always had entertaining, or thought-provoking conversations. I was nicknamed, “Toot” since I played the saxophone. However, when I began playing the much larger baritone saxophone, I was aptly dubbed, “Super Toot.” Don has been friends with a beautiful lady, Sharon, for 40 years; both were caregivers to their spouses.
I am completely happy for both Alice and Don. I normally do not get terribly excited over weddings, but these two, like the most recent one of a former student, will be special moments. Although I’ll not be sharing in Don & Sharon’s private ceremony, I will certainly be celebrating with them in spirit, and sending much love. Sunday morning, I will travel to North Bend, Ohio, the former site of President William Henry Harrison’s plantation, and location of his family tomb. I will sing with a choir to celebrate this wedding, and am delighted to share this experience.
Don & Sharon, Alice & David, may I offer each of you my heartfelt congratulations, wishing all of you the most beautiful blessings.