On April 21, 1978, snow fell on Panguitch, Utah. I remember this little bit of trivia because we arrived in that little town the day before, in my future in-law's big, mustard yellow Suburban. The radiator had cracked and the mechanic promised he could have the repairs done by noon...the next day. Have you ever tried to find enough motel rooms at the last minute, in a tiny town, for 7 single, young adults? My fiance assured me that we would have plenty of time to get to Phoenix and obtain our wedding license so that we could still get married the 22nd. We called our parents and they, too, assured us that as long as we left by noon, we would be fine.
The feathery snowflakes that Friday morning made everything seem magical. I bundled up and faced the new day with a sense of adventure. Hot cocoa warmed my belly, frost tickled my nose, and the eager anticipation of becoming Mrs. Douglas F. Pike radiated in my heart. But it turned stone cold when Doug returned from the auto shop with the news that that very morning, the town of Panguitch saw their first fire in twenty years, and our mechanic was also the fire chief. The Suburban would not be ready until three o'clock. I sobbed into the phone as I called my parents to give them the news. Dad said not to worry. All we had to do was get across the border to the courthouse in Page, Arizona, by 5:00pm. We could get a license there. I took a deep breath, blew my nose, and waited.
Several volunteer firemen sat around the garage swapping tales when Doug arrived to pick up the Suburban. They teased and bantered, telling Doug that he really didn't want to get married anyway, so he didn't need to hurry. But 3:00pm found us on the road, sailing towards Arizona and our future as a married couple. Sort of. About thirty miles north of Page the Suburban sputtered, stalled for a moment, then jerked back into life. A few minutes later, another stall. Then again. And again. Our speed diminished to a crawling thirty miles per hour. At 5:o5pm, we came to a shuddering halt in a gas station parking lot in Page. The fuel filter had clogged. I found a pay phone and cried.
I have the most resourceful parents ever. When our bedraggled wedding party arrived at the house in Phoenix about 10pm, my Dad asked Doug if he had a twenty and said, "You'll need it." Then he shooed us into his waiting car and drove us down the street to the home of a clerk of the Maricopa County Superior Court. Twenty minutes later, and minus the cash, we returned to my childhood home, wedding license in hand.
Thirty two years ago today, I became Mrs. Douglas F. Pike. It began as an adventure and just gets grander all the time. It hasn't been easy. It has been totally worth it.
It snowed in Highland, Utah today. I wonder what the weather is like in Panguitch.