The Wedding Planner

Tuesday was Pioneer Day, which is an LDS holiday. Most of Utah was shut down for it.

I had trouble getting an Uber or Lyft ride the first few times I tried. The car was a good half hour away from my hotel but there weren’t any available drivers.

I tried a third time and was informed that Stella would be there with a Toyota Camry in 24 minutes.

Oh, thank God.

Sheila was 75 years old and had a little trouble staying in her lane, bless her heart. She was going to sign off duty and go to lunch with some friends but she said she had this instinct that someone was stranded because of the town being shut down for the holiday and needed a ride so she accepted it.

Yeah well, accurate.

We shared a lot on the drive. She talked about her addict son who passed away from HIV 20 years ago, and she had some funny stories about his addict behavior and the aliases he’d disappear for years at a shot under. He’d claim to be the illegitimate son of Anthony Hopkins. He’d get loans for cars that got repossessed two weeks later. It wasn’t a funny story, yet it was, because I just know it’s like.

I tried not to tear up when she talked about the end of his life.

I told her I was positive as well.

Stella is a wedding planner, “licensed officiant & ordained minister” according to her business card for Affordable Alternative Marriages by Stella.

I asked her if she was, by any chance, ordained by the Universal Life Church.

She said “Yes.”

I said “Me too.”

She looked surprised.

I told her about some of my life’s work.

I asked her if she gets emails from the Rev. Amy Long.

“Yes, I do!”

“Isn’t she amazing?”

I took her card. You never know, maybe someone I know will need some help with that whole marrying thing.

She said she does Grand Canyon weddings and other landmarks and parks and whatnot.

She was a doll.

It was such a lovely conversation, she was glad she picked me up after all.

I certainly was glad she picked me up. There was just this kinship and incredible connection between us.

When she dropped me off she said “I just have to give you a hug, okay?”


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