The next clue lead them back home to Montrose, and then we put them in the limo to head to Eberle Winery. I had transferred all their old 8mm film onto DVDs and had them watch all the videos on the way up to the next location. It was footage of us kids learning how to crawl, skate, birthday parties, etc. It was such a special gift to give them, because it was something they probably would never have done for themselves. I had all their old slides converted to CDs of pictures as well, so the thought was to continue to go down memory lane while driving to the next location (which was three hours away).
They love wine and to go wine tasting, so this was a perfect location for a renewal of their vows. The owners (who my parents ended up knowing and we didn't even know they knew each other) were kind enough to have us stay at their private estate on the property, and we had an amazing time with them on Saturday night. I had got to location early and set up their room full of all the memories from all their years together. I brought pictures to hang on the walls, every photo album my mom had in our childhood home, yearbooks and love letters between the two of them. My favorite part about the entire weekend was hearing the two of them giggling in the morning and then walking into their room to find then laying in bed together (in pajamas) going through all their old yearbooks together and photo albums and just reminiscing about all the memories of the life they had created together.
The next morning we took mom and dad to the spa so we could carry out the day's activities. One of the big surprises of the weekend was trying to get their pastor from forty years ago to location! He had to teach Sunday school until noon that day, and we did not know how to get him to location after that. Fortunately, we were so blessed to have Larry Welk personally fly in the pastor that day on his private plane! (OK so these parts aren't budget friendly.) However, the lesson I learned here is that it pays to be kind to people. Larry remembers meeting my parents and said, "They were such a wonderful couple and so kind to me," that he wanted to help us and do whatever it took to get the pastor there for this special celebration! I'm telling you God was working overtime in helping all these things come together!
Behind the scene footage of the plane coming in to the local airport with the pastor will be posted at my site as well (www.gretchenchristine.com). Having my parents pastor there from forty years ago really made the weekend so special for my parents and me! Seeing my mom's face when she saw the pastor made it so worth all the hoops we had to jump through to find Pastor Don! Mom also still had the service book from forty years ago in her hope chest, and it was so fun to give it to Pastor Don to use again (that brought a tear to his eye).
Obviously, getting my Mom a new ring was a huge surprise part of the weekend as well! I knew that dad couldn't afford a brand new ring for my mom, and that my mom had the same ring from forty years ago, and it was time to upgrade! There have been some misconceptions about this gesture. The fact is that my old wedding ring was just sitting in the back of my jewelry box and wasn't doing any good just being there, so I decided to trade in the ring so we could get credit towards my mom's new ring. It's just like trading in a watch for a new watch or an upgraded watch. I would have probably taken the ring at some point and traded it in for something new for myself, so why not my for my mom instead. I wasn't going to be wearing that ring ever again, and all it did was make me sad to see it, so I decided to get credit for those stones and help upgrade mom's ring. Dad ended up paying for the rest of the ring, the portion that my traded in diamonds did not cover. (It's sad to see how everyone misinterprets this or how they turn what I thought was a selfless and kind gesture into something else.)