Thoughts from the Publisher

By Neena Strichart

Steve and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on Wednesday of last week. Our original plan (Plan A) was to take off for Las Vegas for a few days, find a little chapel and renew our vows, play the nickel slots and maybe see a show.
Rethinking the matter, we decided to instead go for Plan B and head for Disneyland for the day, have local wedding officiate extraordinaire Alan Katz or one of his associates assist us with renewing our vows, spend the night at a local hotel and then head for home the next morning.

Neena (center) with longtime friends Steve Smigla and Deborah Drake

Neena (center) with longtime friends Steve Smigla and Deborah Drake


Fidel Schmidt, who escorted Neena's mom Marjorie Grommé (center), with Caroline Leal, officiant of the ceremony

Fidel Schmidt, who escorted Neena's mom Marjorie Grommé (center), with Caroline Leal, officiant of the ceremony


Steve with gal pals Shari Blackwell (left) and Barbie Ellisen

Steve with gal pals Shari Blackwell (left) and Barbie Ellisen


Steve's kids, Tracy Cooper and Jeff Strichart, with Steve and Neena's grandson, Carson Cooper

Steve's kids, Tracy Cooper and Jeff Strichart, with Steve and Neena's grandson, Carson Cooper

About 10 days before the event, Steve injured his back. The pain was miserable, and we just knew that walking around Disneyland would be prohibitive. Now what?
We waited patiently, hoping the injury was temporary. Time was ticking by, and we were separately contemplating Plan C. Maybe we could have the ceremony at Hilltop Park or Discovery Well Park with a few friends? Nope. Rain was predicted. How about postponing the whole thing? Not an option with Steve. Why? Well, Steve claims he is on a 10-year cycle. He was married the first time in 1970, divorced in 1980, married me in 1990, we renewed our vows in Maui in 2000, and, in Steve’s words, “I have to either get married or divorced on April 21, 2010.”
Divorce is also not an option for us. We are staying together for the sake of the dogs. So, now what in the heck are we going to do? Like a bolt of lightning that hit us at the same time, we looked at each other 48 hours before the big day and simultaneously exclaimed, “Delius!” Knowing that owners Dave and Louise have a private dining room that might be available on short notice, we quickly gave them a call to see if they could accommodate us for a short ceremony and appetizers for less than two dozen friends and family members. “No problem,” was their collective response. Fast as I could, I contacted those closest to us and asked them to join us. We met with Alan Katz’s associate Carolyn Leal to go over renewal vows, I called Signal Hill Florist to arrange for a bouquet for me and a corsage for my matron of honor, Deborah Drake (Deb stood up for me at our original wedding, and I stood up for her months later at her wedding to Steve Smigla).
Wednesday afternoon I left work early. I went home and had a glass or two of champagne supplied by my buddy Deborah. I rested for a few minutes while listening to Elvis music before I started getting dressed. Turning the music on even louder, I dealt with hair, makeup, and other girly preparations and, before I knew it, I was ready to go. Steve and his son Jeff met me at the front door in their casual wedding attire and we headed for Delius.
Arriving on time, we greeted our guests, including Steve’s daughter Tracy and our little grandson Carson, as well as my dear mother, who was wearing the dress she had worn at our wedding 20 years earlier. After a sweet ceremony conducted by Carolyn, we all indulged in rather yummy appetizers while glancing through some of our original wedding pictures.
Making a short evening of it all, folks parted and the two of us joined Deb and her Steve for a nice, quiet dinner right there at Delius. What a treat.
I want to thank everyone who participated in our special day, especially Dave and Louise for accommodating us all on short notice. We love and appreciate you all.

Thoughts From The Publisher

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