The Wedding Officiant

On November 26, Captain Father John of the Church of Blue Heaven Unorthodox conducted the fifth wedding ceremony of his career as a wedding officiant. My cousin Scott Simons married his best friend Selena Sweeney. The ceremony was held in the tower suite in the Washington House hotel in Sellersville, Pennsylvania. Their wedding invitation headlined “She decided to make an honest man out of him?”

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The happy couple Scott and Selena with Captain Father John.

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The “Cake” moment.

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It has been a whirlwind experience since we got off the boat after the Great Loop trip. We spent three weeks in Lake Villa visiting our granddaughter Eleanor, then three weeks in Florida including the sailboat cruise to Key West and the Dry Tortugas. We returned to Lake Villa for three weeks, one of which I spent in St Petersburg, Russia. We attended three yacht club events – Waukegan, Lake Bluff and Anchorage, decorated two Christmas trees, and enjoyed a Thanksgiving dinner with a BBQ smoked turkey that was delicious. We then drove 800 miles from Lake Villa to Perkasie, PA on the Friday after Thanksgiving. If you have a long drive, the best day to go is the day after Thanksgiving. We had the highways to ourselves most of the way and no delays.

We arrived at Scott’s house in Perkasie, PA at 9:00 pm on Friday night. It has been 42 years since I last visited my Pennsylvania relatives. When I graduated from Northeastern University in Boston in May, 1974, two friends ( Jay Ferriter and Barry Palmer ) and I decided to skip graduation and take a three month road trip across the USA. Our first stop was to visit my aunt Anna, uncle Bill and cousins Scott and Kathy Simons. They welcomed us with open arms, allowed us to sleep in their basement, fed us, gave us some food for the road and wished us safe travels. We proceeded to visit and mooch off relatives and acquaintances we knew all the way across the USA and back. However 42 years slipped away and Scott and Selena had visited us in Lake Bluff and then again at Staten Island during our Loop trip. When they mentioned they planned to get married in November and asked if I would be the wedding officiant, I instantly accepted.

The Simons family is rooted in Pennsylvania. Every generation since the mid 1700’s have lived there. My father joined the Coast Guard and was the only Simons to move out of the state. The family history that I have been told ( but have not verified ) is that the first Simons to land in the new world from Europe was a Hessian ( German ) mercenary hired by the British to fight the rebellious Americans. He was camped with the British forces in Trenton, New Jersey in December 1776. Corporal Simons became a sympathizer for the American revolutionary cause and deserted the British army. He found Washington encamped with his army near McKonkey’s Ferry, NJ.  The legend claims that Corporal Simons provided vital information that convinced General Washington to plan his crossing of the Delaware River on December 25 and 26. The attack was successful. Only three Americans were killed and six wounded, while 22 Hessians were killed with 98 wounded. The Americans captured 1,000 prisoners and seized muskets, powder, and artillery. So began the first generation of Simons in the new world.

Could that be Corporal Simons on the bow pushing the ice flow away?

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During our visit to Pennsylvania we visited Scott and Selena’s cabin in the Poconos.  Scott purchased a chestnut log cabin that had been a hunting camp and converted it into a year round a vacation home on Bushkill Creek near the Delaware Water Gap.

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The remainder of December will be busy too. We will drive from Pennsylvania to Framingham, MA to visit our daughter Alison, her husband Oscar and grandson Jackson. We will visit my bother Bill and his wife Joanne in New Hampshire and be back in Framingham for Jackson’s first birthday party. We will spend Christmas in Framingham, celebrate Alison’s birthday on December 26 and start driving to Florida on December 27 ( weather permittin.). We will spend New Years at our condo in Stuart, Florida and begin our new life there as “snow birds” from January thru April.

The Simons family was famous enough to get a road named in their honor even if it was misspelled.

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Bonus photo – The blue whale – Blue Heaven safely tucked away for the winter.image