Remembering one of my greatest days

On July 16-18, 2004, some of my most favorite people gathered together in Napa, California to help celebrate my marriage to Nicole. The ceremony and reception were at Churchill Manor, a charming Edwardian Bed and Breakfast on Coombs and Oak Streets not far from the Napa River. Our families (soon to be one family) took over the place, filling all ten rooms in the B&B with laughter and light. Nicole and I arrived on the morning of the 16th to check into our rooms and we were greeted by Nicole's parents and other family members that had come from out of town. The weather was beautiful, if a bit warm, and spirits were high. I knew that this was going to be an unforgettable experience.

That evening, after our rehearsal, we walked the two riverside blocks to the old Napa Mill and had a wonderful rehearsal dinner at Celadon. I had to keep pinching myself because so many of the people I cared so very much about were in one spot, some who had never met before. It was a glorious collision of worlds. The evening ended with Nicole's cousin Keoni, her Uncle Ned, my father and myself sitting on the wide veranda at Churchill Manor listening to Frank Sinatra and sipping Cruzan Rum and Glenmorangie 18-year single malt while cicadas sang in the dusk. To paraphrase Tony Bourdain, "Life was not sucking."

The next day was one I'll never forget. 150 of our dearest family (Some like my grandfather Irv, Nicole's cousin Harald, Chris Cello and Jack McCann are no longer with us) and friends were on hand to witness Nicole and I take the leap in the middle of Churchill Manor's Rose Garden. It was a hot day, but luckily the reception was shaded and things cooled off with the help of Champagne and iced tea. We ate, we laughed; we listened to toast after wonderful toast, we laughed; we cut the cake, we laughed; we danced and we laughed, laughed, laughed. It was a magical day full of smiles, laughter and love.

The best part of it all is that not only did I get to experience such a day, but I had the honor and great joy to marry Nicole. I know being married to me hasn't always been easy, to say the least, but I cherish her and thank God everyday that she is my wife, lover and friend. She saved my life.

So, to all of my friends that helped make that special day five years ago, mahalo nui loa and thank you from the bottom of my heart.

With a full heart,


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