Affaire du coeur, Part 6

So here we were. Plan B no longer necessary 3 days in the nick of time. But our time in combat with Regence formed a bond of more than friendship. I mean, we had been fully prepared to get married. Somehow, we had fallen in love during the ordeal of the previous two months.

We decided to make a go of it. I put in for a transfer, and we began jetting back and forth to Seattle to be together. Our relationship blossomed, and we talked about making the marriage real. I began shipping my belongings to Seattle.

My transfer finally came through in mid-November, and I raced a storm across the country, and eventually the Cascades, with two cats and what remained of my belongings in tow. At one point, one of my cats decided to help steer, which is a more terrifying thing than I can easily describe.

And the Cascades were no picnic from a flatlander Hoosier. Holy cow, these mountains were huge, with writhing roads, and places for runaway trucks to try and stop. My Jimmy coughed and sputtered over the peaks, and ran wild down the other side of the mountains.

I arrived in the morning at the bookstore Tory worked part-time in, at the same time Tory was arriving for work. She hadn’t expected me so soon, and welcomed me gladly, then tried to explain how to get to the apartment from where I was.

Listen, until you’ve driven on I-5 jammed with traffic, then later curvy roads that you’re not used to, with a truck stuffed with a vacuum cleaner (among other things) and two cats, you would not believe how much that seriously sucked.

I finally arrived, unpacked, and waited for Tory to come home.

Now, despite the fact that we had been talking seriously about getting married, we settled in living together for the time. I started my new job with a cut in pay, but I was just happy to be there.

In January, I was struck with a bout of bronchitis. I was already running a fever and was sick as a dog, when Tory asked me out of the blue, “So, do you want to go get married?” Well, as that was kind of the whole point, I eagerly said yes.

She made the arrangements. Something involving Druids. Seriously.

We contacted Shelby with the Times, as she had asked us to do if we ever did get married. Then I dragged my feverish self off to a cold beach, and the following article was the result.

This article is available at:
http://archives.seattletimes.nwsource.com/cgi-bin/texis.cgi/web/vortex/display?slug=4002399&date=20000131
and reproduced here in whole without permission.

Monday, January 31, 2000
A fairy-tale romance with a park wedding
Shelby Gilje

Seattle Times Troubleshooter

Victoria Doyle and Jack Huster were married yesterday in West Seattle’s Lincoln Park, more than a year after he proposed marriage to help solve insurance problems she has as a heart-transplant survivor.

But yesterday’s “we dos” had nothing to do with insurance. Doyle and Huster’s story is a romantic fairy tale, certainly equal to scripts written for Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks.

With gray skies above, the waters of Puget Sound lapping against the beach and an occasional Fauntleroy-Vashon ferry passing by, Doyle, 42, -and Huster, 36, were married by priests of a local group associated with the British Druid Order. (Druids, an intellectual and religious caste among the tribal peoples of pagan Europe, were the custodians of cultural and spiritual heritage.)

Yesterday, layered clothing was the fashion, with Doyle wearing black jeans and a turtleneck, a black fur hat and a long, burgundy embroidered vest. The bridegroom rolled up his trouser cuffs to reveal thermal underwear.

“Taking their vows

Before the couple spoke their vows, the approximately 60 people attending marched around the beach in opposite directions, then formed a circle.

Kathie Brooks, priestess and goddess guardian for the ceremony, asked the couple:

“As the sun and moon bring light to the Earth, do you Victoria and Jack vow to bring the light of love and joy to your union?”

“We do,” the couple answered in unison.

“And do you vow to honor each other as you honor that which you hold most sacred?”

“We do.”

“And do you vow to maintain these vows in freedom, for as long as love shall last?”

Again they said, “We do.”

Then Gordon Goodykoontz, priest and god guardian, said:

“Let the stone bear witness that Victoria and Jack are joined in love and joy and freedom!”

Those in the circle followed with, “So let it be!”

Fairy Tale Wedding

Meeting online

Doyle and Huster met a couple of years ago in an Internet chat room. They had much in common; she understood and appreciated his wit and he understood hers.

“It was common weirdness,” Huster said. They liked some of the same books and riddles. By July 1998, they communicated so well they decided to meet – in person. They chose a Borders Books coffee shop in Chicago.

Though they had exchanged photos on the Internet, Huster said he had difficulty believing the woman he had corresponded with was so beautiful.

On the way to their date he told himself, “Yeah right. What am I doing? I should turn around.?”

After that meeting their relationship blossomed and they kept in touch via e-mail and phone. Just before Christmas 1998 she received some bad news.

It appeared that Regence BlueShield, her insurance carrier, no longer would pay for the anti-rejection drugs that have kept her alive since the heart transplant in July 1991.

With only three days of drugs on hand, the news was virtually a death sentence. Huster found it particularly intolerable, because his first wife, Kathy, died of a heart condition in 1987. It didn’t seem fair that it would happen again to someone so close.

Huster, a Fort Wayne, Ind., postal worker, made a proposal: If Doyle’s insurance would not cover the prescriptions, he would marry her and provide insurance that would pay.

“I wasn’t going to stand by and see her die,” Huster said.

He sent her papers to complete for a marriage license and reserved a date with a judge.

In the meantime he peppered the media – including The Times Troubleshooter – and the state insurance commissioner’s office with e-mails and faxes about Doyle’s plight.

Then Regence had a change of heart and decided to pay for the drugs.

While that was great news, it came as a letdown for the would-be bridal pair.

“I almost didn’t want to tell him it was going to work out. We were both a bit disappointed when we didn’t have to get married,” she said.

Huster canceled the date with the judge but had second thoughts, too. He remembers telling a co-worker in great detail about Victoria. The co-worker made him realize that he had strong feelings for her.

“I guess I need to have a piano drop on me before I realize certain things. I finally thought to myself, `So what do you want, Jack, a burning bush to tell you what to do?’ “

Last November, Huster packed up his cats and household goods, took a pay cut from his job with the U.S. Postal Service and relocated here.

Yesterday the grinning bridegroom said:

“No, we’re not getting married just because of the insurance.”

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