Let’s call this one “Paradise by the Cell Phone light.”
Back in the days of the Bulletin Board scene (for you young people out there, computer bulletin boards where the ancient equivalent of Facebook), I was known as the Padre. I was quite well known in the 414 area code, and often was asked to perform the wedding ceremonies of many people who I had come to know online.
One young couple had a burning desire to have their wedding take place at Devil’s Lake State Park, about an hour from the church I was serving. Their favorite location at Devil’s Lake was a gorge, at the end of which was a lovely waterfall that fed into the lake. Well, I had no problem at all agreeing to this location, but the only issue was we could not get there until later in the day, as the grooms best man could not get off of work. Now, this was in the fall when the days were getting shorter. But as long as we got to the park by 6pm or so, we should have had plenty of time to walk down the gorge, perform the service, and get back to the cars.
Unfortunately, the best man, being a bit of an airhead, decided that before he could come and meet us after he left work and drive out to the park, needed to go home, shower, and et supper. Because of this, we did not leave for the part until after 5pm.
It was already getting dark when we arrived at Devils Lake. We briefly discussed doing the ceremony in another location, but the bride and groom had their hearts set on having the wedding by the little waterfall, so down into the gorge we went.
Darker and darker it got as we trudged on to our destination. Finally, we arrive at the location of their dream, but it was so dark, I couldn’t read the ceremony. No one had thought to bring along a flashlight. At first, we tried using the flame from some pocket lighters, but it was breezy and they kept blowing out.
Finally, one of my young friends had a bright (no pun intended) idea. He took out his brand new cell phone, something that was still relatively new in the late 90’s, and by the light of the phone, I was just barely able to read the service, and my two young friends were joined in wedded bliss.
Of course, the real fun was the walk back to the cars. Trying to see our way out of the dark gorge was quite an adventure, especially when the best man tripped and twisted his ankle. And so, the person who caused our little adventure had to be practically carried out of the park.