When I get really happy and excited, I clap my hands in quick little taps in front of my chest. I did a lot of that Tuesday evening--the surprise I planned for Lori and Russ' 20th anniversay came together beautifully!
I think the story is best told in Lori's own words, which she wrote yesterday on the plane back to Albany and emailed to me last night. So once again, I give you my sister, Lori Biker:
Our 20th Anniversary Surprise Celebration
Linda told us she had planned a surprise for us for Tuesday evening for our 20th anniversary. Russ was driving and she just gave him directions from the back seat. We didn’t know where we were going until we got there—the top of the Stratosphere!
The view was spectacular. You can see this place from anywhere in the Las Vegas valley and I always wanted to go there. (If you tell the security people at the bottom that you're going to the lounge, you don’t have to pay the $15 to go to the top!)
As we sat and had beers, Linda positioned herself facing the door. She had a mischievous grin on her face and kept checking her cell phone and then she walked away to talk on it. Shortly afterward, her friend Reverend Janet arrived. Janet performed my mother and stepfather’s Vegas wedding at the Tropicana three years ago. Linda told us she was there to renew our vows, something we had wanted to do but didn’t really get past the initial planning stages as it all seemed too extravagant on the websites.
What Linda arranged was perfect, of course. We didn’t have the “official” Stratosphere wedding package so we had to kinda be sneaky about doing this, which made it even more fun. Plus, who would expect the minister to be wearing jeans and a sparkly Vegas shirt?
We decided to do the renewal ceremony on the inside observation deck since it was quieter and a bit more private. We were overlooking a tremendous view of the Strip, the valley and the mountains.
As Janet spoke about how precious love is and how we have shared that love with our children, family and friends, Russ and I stood there with tears streaming down our faces. Holding onto each other and staring into each other’s eyes, we exchanged our vows again to love, honor, and trust in good times and in bad all the days of our lives.
These vows are so easy for us to take. We really are so much in love with each other and can’t imagine life without the other one.
A girl in my neighborhood asked me if I believe in fairy tale romance. Yes, I feel I am living one. You know how every fairy tale has a time in the story where things get scary and something or someone wicked and evil tries to do harm? In the fairy tale I live, Russ and I are always hand in hand battling whatever life throws at us together.
Who knows, maybe my whole life has been a fairy tale. Russ rescued me from troubled times and has given me a life I never thought possible. I think that since I have been with Russ it has been the part of the fairy tale that goes….and they all lived happily ever after.