MODESTO -- From the e-mails and phones:
'TIL DEATH US DO PART, TWO A few years ago, I wrote about a couple who wanted to get married as in immediately only to find that their wedding chapel of choice couldn't take them until 4 p.m. that day. The groom being 58 and the bride 80, she didn't want to wait one moment longer than necessary. As they drove past Salas Brothers funeral home downtown, the Modesto residents figured that since it has a chapel and a chaplain, why not?
So they dropped in and got married. Yes, in a funeral home, giving the "ever after" part of "happily ever after" an entirely new context.
Which brings us to Turlock residents Paul Springer and Susan Lindahl, who will wed Saturday afternoon at Turlock Memorial Park & Funeral Home.
This funeral chapel wedding isn't as spur-of-the-moment as the aforementioned one. Springer and Lindahl actually planned it this way.
He is the lead chaplain at Emanuel Medical Center and is on Turlock Memorial Park's board of directors. His wife of 24 years, Karen, died in August 2011.
Susan's husband of nearly four decades, Warren Lindahl, died more than five years ago.
Paul and Susan, both in their late 60s, began dating after he held a New Year's Eve dinner party.
"We were the last two left to watch the new year go in," he said. "The younger ones all went home tired. We're in a situation where we feel God has drawn us together."
He proposed in April, and she accepted a day later.
Their church wasn't an option for their wedding. Plan B was the courtyard of the condo complex where he lives in Turlock. But a resident complained that her granddaughter wouldn't be able to swim that day, so it's on to Plan C, meaning the relatively new chapel at the memorial park.
"Ben Sivils, the manager, said he wanted to open it up for weddings as well as funerals," Springer said. "We were over there a couple of weeks ago and looked it over and she said, 'That's OK.' It's a beautiful building. After all, in churches, they have funerals and weddings in the same sanctuary. I sense a holiness when I go there."
Susan said she wasn't completely sold on the idea initially. Her sister in Michigan, however, pointed out that funeral homes are now used for everything from weddings to family reunions.
"It isn't the place, it's the people you want there," Susan concluded. "As long as God blesses the union, it doesn't matter where you are. (Turlock Memorial Park) is a beautiful place. It's a no-brainer. And the parking is easy lots of it."
So Saturday afternoon, before a small contingent of family and friends, they will recite their vows, including "
'til death us do part."
MORE VOWS Cadee Condit, daughter of former Rep. Gary Condit, married Adam Gray in a ceremony Sunday night at St. John's Chapel of the Valley. Gray, a Democrat, is running for the 21st Assembly District seat against Republican Jack Mobley. The district encompasses all of Merced County and part of Stanislaus.
SWAT, DOG, SWAT Reader Jerry Nelson of Oakdale says overwatering at the city's dog park on Crane Road is causing a mosquito infestation so bad that "you can't even walk into the park now without being swarmed
(20 or 30 on each leg in a matter of seconds)," he wrote in an e-mail. "I'm worried about West Nile (to humans) & heartworm that my dog can get being in this environment."
I called the city, and human resources director Michelle McDonald said workers who handle the dog park have been instructed to cut back on watering the lawns, and that the city has contacted mosquito abatement to address the issue.
DUI LISTINGS A DETERRENT? Wes Reed read my column (Aug. 30) about how publishing the list of property tax delinquents embarrasses a good number of them into paying up each year, and he thinks the concept of public humiliation might cut down on the number of drunken drivers as well.
"You currently publish a rogues' gallery of car theft suspects," he wrote in an e-mail. "I think doing the same for those charged with DUIs might be a 'powerful tool' in saving lives, property damage and a whole lot of misery. I don't recall ever seeing a statistic that vehicle theft results in fatalities. On the other hand, we're all familiar with the consequences of drinking and driving."
I'll mention it to the powers at be. (On second thought, I won't need to. They are regular readers, too.)
A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE A recent story in The Bee about Stanislaus County's $3 billion agriculture economy initially impressed reader Ken Wierzbicki.
"I thought, 'This sounds pretty good,' he said. "But then I got to thinking, Bernie Madoff made off with what $50 billion? He stole the equivalent of 16.7 years of this county's ag economy."
Jeff Jardine's column appears Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays in Local News. He can be reached at email@example.com, @jeffjardine57 on Twitter or at (209) 578-2383.