Welcoming a New Member to the Family

After the ceremony with the happy couple


In my blog last month I talked about an important wedding in Alaska that had caused us to delay our annual mud-season road trip south. In the six weeks since, we did complete our road trip as planned, touring Harper’s Ferry, northern Georgia, Hot Springs, AR, The Land Between The Lakes, and Ohiophyle and Fallingwaters. Save for a creepy final campground (that was described on-line as a family friendly place with clean restrooms and a long distinguished history but turned out to be a past-it’s-prime waystation for fracking field workers), it was a wonderful adventure. We witnessed the arrival of spring in the south, saw lots of birds and animals (many with new offspring), visited several historic places that we always wanted to explore (Fallingwaters, Hot Springs National Park, and Harper’s Ferry did not disappoint). We arrived back in Maine just after the snow had all melted, the bulk of the mud had dried, and the daffodils and crocuses were beginning to push their way through the dirt. The past four weeks have been filled with the usual spring chores of getting the yard, gardens, and waterfront ready for the summer season.  With that job complete, I felt like it was time to get back to my computer and put a few of my thoughts to the page.

The important wedding in Alaska that I alluded to was one that caught us a bit off-guard. Just a few weeks earlier, our son Josh had called from Kodiak. For the better part of the conversation it felt a lot like the usual semi-weekly call he made to let us know all was well and what he had been up to of late. When I asked how Anna,his girlfriend and housemate since moving to Alaska was, he said “she’s fine”. Smith men are not known to be wordy, so I thought little of it, and began to wrap up the conversation. As I was getting ready to thank him for calling and hang up the phone he paused briefly and said, “I guess we’re engaged.” That caught me off-guard, mostly because he had always maintained that he had no plans of ever getting married. And I suppose to others it may sound like a tepid announcement for such a significant life event, but I knew that it was the most significant decision he had made in his life. I knew he sincerely wanted to make Anna his wife and that there were no obstacles that would prevent us from attending the ceremony. As soon as they set a date (which turned out to be less than a month away), I was online making the necessary arrangements.

He and Anna had dated off and on for nearly five years since the two met in California where he had been assigned at the time. She moved with him to the remote Alaskan island in the summer of 2015. Don and I had visited them in Kodiak the previous summer and had even shared a few Martini Fridays with them in California. She seemed a good complement for his thoughtful, if somewhat introverted, personality. They both love nature and adventure, games (video and board), micro brews and ciders, and are laid-back in their lifestyle.  Their wedding was a reflection of their personalities and in some ways not all that different from our own short-notice, backyard wedding nearly 35 years ago. Their ceremony and reception was in a small, rustic ski chalet on the Coast Guard Base. Anna and Josh paid for everything and did all the planning on their own.With the short notice and long travel requirements, both sets of parents and the bride and grooms childhood best friends were the only guests from away. Dress was casual and there was even a surprise flyover by some of our son’s fellow coasties. A good time was had by all.

Now with warm memories of the wedding, we look forward to spending more time with our son and his wife when they move back to the “Lower 48” this summer. We know she is a warm, artistic and lovely young woman, our son loves her and they are both old enough to know what they want out of life. We are happy to welcome Anna to our family. May God bless them both, and may they be as happy in their marriage as we are in ours.



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