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At day's end, I felt I had celebrated from afar and shared in the love and happiness that I knew was present.

On Aug. 20 I gave myself a personal holiday. I did not attend the Saturday morning Writers in the Woods meeting, nor did I play bridge in our afternoon foursome. I wanted the day free to let my mind and heart be with all my family in Crane Lake, Minnesota celebrating the marriage of granddaughter Natalie and Daniel. And why, you may ask, was I not also present at this momentous occasion?

The date and place of the wedding was announced a year in advance and flights, car rentals and cabin reservations were being made shortly after, so I needed to make a decision on whether or not to go. At this stage of life, making plans six months in advance of anything is not doable — six weeks is doubtful, and sometimes six days can be iffy. Thoughts of a long flight with a plane change and navigating two airports, two nights in Minneapolis before a four-hour road trip to Crane Lake, four days of planned activities with nights in a shared cabin, and traversing unfamiliar surroundings, confirmed my decision. All of this would have sounded adventurous and fun a few years ago; but now, approaching age 92, even packing a bag to go anywhere seems an overwhelming task.COURTESY PHOTO: JO ANN PARSONS - Jottings writer Jo Ann Parsons celebrated the wedding of her granddaughter, pictured here, from afar.

The venue for the wedding, Nelson Resort at Crane Lake, is special for both Natalie and Daniel as they have spent many weekends at his parents' cabin near there. Daniel has wonderful memories of times at his grandparents' cabin, and his parents were also wed in this area.

The wedding had a sunflower theme with Natalie carrying a bouquet of them, the nine bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girl and ringbearer carried or wore them, as did many guests. They were everywhere — in the cabins and the resort, adorning the reception and dinner tables, even Hallie the dog was wearing a sunflower kerchief. The day before the wedding I received a beautiful sunflower arrangement which made me feel lovingly included in the festivities.

Minnesota weather was at its best that week with guests enjoying boating, beach time and hiking on the days before the wedding, and perfect for an outdoor ceremony on the 20th. It was a pleasant day here also, and on my walk I reflected on Natalie's life and how proud I am of this beautiful young woman who is my only granddaughter. She has accomplished much in her 28 years of living and I am so happy she has found true love and happiness with Daniel. I suspected he was special early on as his name always appeared in capital letters in her texts, emails and letters. And I knew for sure he was, when I first met him three years ago.

As I rested on a bench by the bubbling fountain on the Marylhurst campus, I imagined everyone getting dressed for the wedding, Natalie in her mother's wedding dress and Daniel wearing her father's wedding suit. I was also thinking how emotional it must be for Carrie, Natalie's mother, to see them wearing what she and my son, John, wore 33 years ago.

I had received texts and photos from my family throughout the trip and the ones sent on this day helped me envision the wedding, happy hour, dinner and dancing. At day's end, I felt I had celebrated from afar and shared in the love and happiness that I knew was present. This was confirmed later as I watched the video grandson Aaron did of the ceremony and followed by a phone conversation with Natalie before she and Daniel left for their honeymoon trip.

I was not the only one who celebrated in absentia. I know the spirits of her father, John, her grandfathers, Harold and Dick, her grandmother, Bev, and her uncle Jay, were also rejoicing and surrounding them with love.

May they live happily ever after.

Jo Ann Parsons is a member of the Jottings Group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.

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