Matrimonial Vows………..#244 (the 90’s)

Robert and Opal Willson

The 92’ Buick again journeying north to Wichita,  Gary and Jan’s separation being congenial the couple and their daughter Sandra traveling together arriving  at Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport,  the family having  convened for a second a flight to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airdrome.   The Willson’s returning to the Illinois  Great Lakes Training Center for their son Robert’s Wedding, the navy seaman about to board the ship of matrimony.   Gary  as usual enjoying the flight, especially  into the busiest Airport in America,  the approach requiring the  United Airlines  737 to venture far out over lake Michigan,  the lakes white wave tips giving it motion,  bringing the resting lake waters to life.    The inbound flight joining  a variety of aircraft lined up for their airborne descent into O’Hare,  an airliner landing every 45 seconds.  Gary procuring the  rental transportation,  Sandra in the navigator’s seat studying the map,  Dad being guided by her directions,  traveling the tri-state tollways north before the eastward journey towards Lake Michigan and the reception Hostel just outside of the entrance gates of Great Lakes RTC.

Terminal C – O”hare International

Wedding Location Illinois Beach State Park

Toasting each other

Checking in to hotel,  Jan and Sandra having  joint provision,  Gary remaining solitary,  Robert’s navy friends conjugating down the hall to commemorate his last night of bachelorhood.   Jan and Sandra spending time with Opal, the newest and future member of the Willson hierarchy.   An early morning breakfast,  the anticipation building for the outdoor Illinois  Beach State Park Lake Michigan ceremony.   Gary and the family adhering to the direction to the park that Robert had provided,  arriving early,  but soon finding a host of activity.   Robert’s grandparents Bud and Helen Murrow from Kiowa whom had journeyed to Jan’s Uncle Mel and Aunt Leona Weyneth farm in Metamora a small farming community just outside of Peoria about a 2 1/2 hour drive from the wedding location.   Gary a very much admirer of Mel,  a world war II veteran like his father,  Mel serving in the European theatre,  an artilleryman in Patton’s 3rd Army division and like his father and many other world war II veterans very reluctant to convey their experiences.   Also in attendance for the naval chaplain officiated ceremony was Jeremy Birzer,  the weddings Best Man, also Roberts closes friend.  Surprising and unexpected was Jan’s sister Gayle from Overland Park Kansas flying  from Kansas City and without a doubt adding to the fray was the continuity of his Navy compatriots.

Mom looking on

Mom incognito looking on

Helen Murrow, Uncle Melvin and Aunt Leona Weyneth

Best Fiend Jeremy looking on

Gary was impressed w the wedding ceremony service being dictated on the shores of Lake Michigan,  the setting displaying a welding of nature’s life,  not inhibited by the confines of a chapel but in the open air macrocosm of God’s natural wonderment.   The bride and groom both components of the United State Navy,  Opal Marie Ray and Robert Garald Willson accepting the matrimonial vows of a lifelong commitment,  the Chaplain endowing the two before God and mankind as Man and Wife.   The groom’s father a front row witness to the ceremony,  affording a tear felt emotion,  recalling a heartfelt time in Wichita Falls Texas  twenty years earlier,  a dream fulfilled,  but as in John Milton’s epic Paradise Lost,  the intervention of Manichaeism evolved and acceptance that was bequeathed him.   The Illinois Beach celebratory event completed, Gary instead of walking directly to the car ventured to the lakefront,  touching the water before leaving, and when asked why, not desiring to assert his action as a memory keepsake of the meaningful event,  his reply not exactly veracious,  “because it was there”.   Returning to their hotel abode the evening commemorations  beginning, Robert and Opal hosting the presentations of the matrimonial gifts appreciating the show of love from  family and friends.

The morning finding Gary, Jan, Sandra, readying for a return to O’Hare  for a departure to Wichita,  but accompanied with an added person.   Jan’s sister Gayle having flown into Midway International requesting a ride for her return flight to Kansas City,  Gary more than happy to oblige her, appreciative that she had come, recognizing that her wedding appearance was meaningful to Robert.   At O’Hare, the three boarding their Boeing 737 for Wichita,  Gary of course partaking of a Chicago Dog before leaving,  looking forward to air travel experience home.   Reflecting on Robert’s Marriage,  noting in his mind the difficulties that were in store for the newlywed couple,  with both abiding in the Navy, and the liabilities of different duty stations,  but knowing one thing,  indubitable love if given can conquer all obstacles.


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