After a surprise wedding ceremony at Craig Park, (from left) the bride's father Mitchell "Jack" Jackson, the groom's father Keenan Jacobs, the newlyweds Jason and Ivy Jacobs and the groom's mother Cathy Jacobs gathered for a family photo.
According to legendary comedian Henny Youngman, the "secret of a happy marriage remains a secret."
Deepak Chopra, Indian physician, philosopher and celebrated author, believes that "however good or bad you feel about your relationship, the person you are with at this moment is the 'right' person, because he or she is the mirror of who you are inside."
While an unknown author believes "soul-mates are people who bring out the best in you. They are not perfect, but they are always perfect for you."
Somewhere among those ideas, I believe the truth lies.
Being single in my forties was not in my life plans, but it happened.
A large portion of my life was spent in the pursuit of every little girl's dream -- the perfect marriage to the perfect man. A knight in shining armor, who would make my life perfect.
I failed to obtain that objective. It is difficult to admit failure, especially in relationships because no one wants to admit to being wrong, but I was.
Being a realist, I know I'm nothing special. I understand my limitations, and being a single "plump" woman at 42, completely starting my life over with two teenagers, the implications of my future were very clear to me. I was prepared to be alone.
However, fate stepped in and turned my expectations upside down.
While trying to stop the economic rollercoaster I was on, I discovered a wonderful friend was also spiraling out of control in his life. Life is expensive. With the prodding of several friends who believed it would benefit us to share life's expenses, we finally agreed and joined forces.
Immediately, my friend and fellow reporter, Jason Jacobs, was thrown into the madness of my new world when he moved into my home. Being a consummate gentleman, he refused to make us change "our ways" and welcomed the rules of living in "my house."
Needless to say, it was interesting to watch Jason adjust. He never complained about my quirks. Although he did talk to me about cleaning house and moving furniture while he slept, especially after I moved his chair during a night of "nervous cleaning" with him still in it at 2 a.m.
After several stubbed toes and a couple of bruised knees, he still affectionately called me "Mary Poppins."
While sharing fears and doubts about our lives, we cooked many dinners, shared silly stories and, at times, cried on each other's shoulders. Although we were very close as friends, I didn't know how truly close we had become.
Talk about being totally oblivious. I was stunned when he gave me a box with a ring inside it and dropped to one knee in front of my children. (Jason asked them for permission first.) I think I ruined the moment for my children when I stopped him to say the hardest and the most honest thing I've ever said in my life.
"I can't do this. I don't know if I could love you the way you deserve to be loved."
Many people are in strained relationships, and I didn't want to be the cause for another. I'm damaged because of one, and I couldn't damage another person. Not Jason.
Without hesitation, he put the box away, kissed my forehead and said, "Can I ask you later? I love you and you're worth waiting for. How ever long it takes."
My heart ached because I couldn't answer the way it was expected of me. Part of me wanted to scream yes because I had waited so long to hear those words, but I knew that wouldn't be right.
I couldn't look at him.
"It's okay," he said while lifting my chin to look into my face. "You're honest. It's why I love you."
Being very patient and understanding, Jason tried again on July 3, 2008.
After an extremely hectic workweek for me, Jason, with the ring inside his pocket, was waiting for my arrival home.
Oblivious again, I plopped down in a chair, mentioning I could use a nap before starting dinner. Jason smiled and agreed, but asked me to wait for a minute. He placed the ring -- a silver band with three diamonds set in it -- in the palm of my hand.
"I know that your children have been the two anchors of your life, please honor me by letting me be the third. Will you marry me?"
Needless to say, I said yes.
There was a time when I wanted all the bells and whistles that came with a dream wedding. Discussing what "our wedding ceremony" would be like was problematic. I was the problem, not Jason. He wanted whatever made me happy.
But I didn't know what that was.
I felt foolish planning an "all-out wedding bash" like so many of our family and friends envisioned. The white wedding dress went out the window about 18 years ago with the birth of my daughter and I'm a little too old to be giddy.
However, planning an engagement party wasn't so hard for me. Having friends and family together to celebrate this moment in our lives was easy. I was happy, Jason was happy, so were my children and I wanted to share that with others.
On July 12, Craig Park was a busy place as people came to share in our happiness. Good times, good stories, good food, good fun and lots of friends and family were abundant.
It was a perfect hour-long engagement. Around 2:30 p.m., to the shock of the guests, our dear friend Johnny Tabasco performed a surprise wedding ceremony.
"Do you take this man to be your lawful husband," Johnny asked me.
Amid God's beauty and surrounded by "our large extended family," this time I didn't hesitate and said, "Absolutely."
Needless to say, life has been a little hectic and I've not written any recipes.
However, I'd like to share this poem inside the cover of one of my grandmother's cookbooks:
Recipe For A Happy Life
4 cups of Love
2 cups of Loyalty
3 cups of Forgiveness
1 cup of Friendship
5 spoons of Hope
2 spoons of Tenderness
4 quarts of Faith
1 barrel of Laughter
Take Love and Loyalty, mix it thoroughly with Faith.
Blend it with Tenderness, Kindness & Understanding.
Sprinkle abundantly with Laughter and bake it with Sunshine.
Serve generous helpings daily with those you love and cherish.