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"Love Atop Haleakala"
Dedicated to Catherine Walsh
Submitted by Robert
It was just before dawn on the great Hawaiian island of Maui where Ray and Carol stood alongside the railing of the crater of Haleakala. They were both eager to see the sunrise while literally standing among the clouds atop the 9,740 foot high dormant volcano. Tour books and travel agents could not come close to expressing this most anticipated show of natural beauty and awe. Ray and Carol were not the only ones awaiting this spectacular view. No less than a hundred or so people dotted the railing encircling the highest end of the crater. In the cold and dark pre-dawn hour, Ray stood behind Carol – wrapping his arms around her as they both looked ahead at the suddenly lightening horizon.
"It's hard to believe we're finally in Hawaii!" said Ray while rubbing his hands up and down Carol's arm in a near futile attempt of warming her.
"Yes," Carol responded with her head slightly leaning back onto her boyfriend's chest, "everything has been so perfect here. I don't want to leave."
"I know. Paradise on Earth has a price: you eventually have to go back home."
They stood quietly as a sharp glimpse of a red-balled sun began emerging from the sky. They finally realized that the clouds were actually below them.
Carol and Ray stood facing each other exactly two years later … at that very crater … as the entire railing was surrounded by their wedding guests. As Carol and Ray looked deeply, lovingly into each other's eyes, they continued exchanging their personally written wedding vows as the sun slowly slipped up from its dark blanket of night.
"And I," reciting Carol, "promise not a day shall pass without you in my heart and head. For I have found my love. Without you, I would be a mere shell of a person. With you as my husband … I am whole. Forever happy … and forever thankful."
Some tears fell from a few wedding guest. Mostly from Carol's mother who never thought her daughter looked more beautiful as the first glimmering rays of the sun shined behind Carol's head. She knew her daughter was truly happy and that generated tremendous tears of joy.
There were, of course, other tears of joy … by Ray's mother as she listened to the end of her son's vows to Carol. "From the moment we stood atop this crater and saw the glory of this view … as everyone is seeing now … I knew we were destined for each other. You make me happy! You complete me … as this rising sun completes the moon at night. We are one … always and forever."
They kissed as their vows were completed. A wild ruckus from the crowd ensued as the entire crater became enveloped in the sun. The best man walked over to the maid of honor and said, "Quite the wedding! Imagine what their anniversaries will be like!"