A year or so after we met, the man who many thought would remain a bachelor forever (yours truly) got down on one knee and asked D.O.D. to be his wife. Amazingly, she agreed! We weren’t much for the traditional white church wedding scene, so we went to Sanibel Island and got married on the beach.
We booked an entire ‘resort’ for our family and friends – six 1950’s style bungalows on a quiet street that dead ends at the beach. We’d play in the sun and swim in the ocean all day. In the evening, we’d all gather to toast the sunset from a little wooden deck that overlooked the ocean.
The property owners couldn’t have been nicer. They decorated the wooden deck, arranged for a local minister to perform a sunset wedding ceremony, and prepared a huge wedding feast for us. We had a grand time! We still stay in touch with the owners and have visited several times since. We consider them our friends… and that leads to the story of the surprise letter.
When we saw the postmark, we knew it was from our Sanibel friends. We anticipated one of their usual “How ya doin’, here’s what’s up with us, when you comin’ down again?” letters, but when D.O.D. opened the letter she shrieked. “You have GOT to be freakin’ kidding me!!!”
Long story short – the minister who performed our ceremony on Sanibel was a phony! He bilked dozens of people out of thousands of dollars through various fraudulent schemes during his eight months on the island. Among other things, it was discovered that all the marriages he performed during that time weren’t legal. The marriage certificates looked authentic enough, but it turns out he printed them on his home computer and pocketed the marriage license fees. So… according to the letter (and the State of Florida) D.O.D. and I weren’t legally married!
In order to put the minds of our friends at ease, we made them a deal. They had been talking for years about visiting Las Vegas, so that Fall the four of us flew out, checked into Caesar’s Palace and we said our “I Do’s”…. again. Out friends served as the Maid of Honor and Best Man and we had an incredibly fun weekend. They wanted to pay for the ceremony and the marriage license, but D.O.D. insisted on taking care of the details herself. She said she wasn’t leaving anything to chance the second time around!
© Doug Fish, 2008