Note before: This is an old “Diary Entry” from the Modem-Help site, re-jigged into the etmg format. The original site is now long gone.
The couple were due to get married at 11 am at Vista Point, a landmark high on the side of the Eastern cliff-face that rises almost vertically up from the Lake. Accessed via a short trail through the pines from the road side, it reputedly was used by native Americans as a point of worship. A large, flat cream-coloured lozenge of a rock on the edge of the drop prevents the guests from making closer acquaintance with the Lake - there is a 20’ wide x 8’ space to mill around in, a little above a 7’ wide outcropping where the marriage itself takes place. The cliff rises another 10’ behind us, with further view-points which fill up with excited uninvited guests happy to have something significant to fill their videos. Around us also gathers the Official video people, wedding musician (a violinist) with his music-stand and, eventually, the beaming Minister + Book. The Bride is exercising her prerogative & taking her time. We point out to Davin that if either of them changes their mind halfway through the ceremony it will be easy to jump off into the lake. In fact, I’ve just read in The Big Issue of an unfortunate Bride, Sarah DeSecco of New York, who emitted a loud fart as she knelt down at the altar, in front of 200 guests, and fled down the aisle when many couldn’t stop themselves from laughing.
It is a beautiful day. Clear, azure skies with butter-coloured sunshine falling on creamy rocks & dark green pines. The whole of the lake stretches out before us, indigo waters but with emerald water close to our position, rounded mountain peaks rising to the sky in all directions. Very warm, a crisp breeze prevents the day from becoming oppressive. Behind us, the musician eases himself into his business by playing an impromptu air, light & haunting, capturing the nature of the place with impressive ease.
The Bride arrives with Bridesmaids Deanna & Sophie-Claire, and the business of the day is on.
I think the characteristic of the event was Love. The musician loved his work, the Minister loved the opportunity to practice what he loved, and the Bride & Bridegroom loved to have their Love witnessed by those that they loved. It was touching, encouraging, and a privilege to be there. Susie managed to keep her cool in spite of Mark’s best efforts to un-man her. I was immediately behind her and had some problems preventing myself from bursting into tears.
3 stretch Limos had been ordered to carry everyone there, and these returned us to Harveys for the Reception in Llewellyn’s on the 19th Floor. Notable amongst the people that I was able to make closer acquaintance with was Shiloh, and his sister Phoenicia (their much younger brother is called Jamie), two of Liisa’s cousins.
The reception broke up in the late afternoon. Daniel & Becky retired to the motel and did not re-emerge until the next morning. Daniel had manfully kept himself intact & functional during the wedding & reception, but needed to be able to recover from the night before. I had a mission, however. Everybody that we had met had kept saying “you must visit Emerald Bay”, so I did, by speedboat.
California is like an over-protective mother (just like Britain) - smoking, gambling & fast cars are bad for you, so don’t, don’t & wear a seat belt. Nevada is like a whore - hey, anything you want to do, honey. The marina where I hired the speedboat is in California but close enough to Nevada to have been affected. The sun-burnt Californian youth instructing me on the Green Merlin’s controls drew a deep breath when I told him that I was alone & had never had charge of a speedboat before. I left the shelter of the marina slowly, travelled between the green & red buoys towards the body of the lake carefully, and cautiously opened the throttle to the halfway mark as the vista of Lake Tahoe opened before me. I quickly discovered how the stones that I used to skim across the waves of the North Sea felt.
It was now near the end of the afternoon, and a strong breeze was blowing in my face. After travelling across the length of the lake, this breeze was raising 2 foot high inky-black waves. When young, I used to enjoy filling my fountain pen with Quink Blue-Black ink. I never thought when much, much older to find myself bouncing from wave to wave across a lake of the same, deep indigo colour. Where was the crystal-clear water of the day before that I had sieved through my fingers? Whilst leaving the marina the engines had been a deep burble behind me, and the boat sat with it’s bow high in the air. Opening up the throttle caused the engines to rise to a deep-pitched roar of power (only halfway, remember) and trim of the boat became horizontal as it leapt forward. After smashing through half a dozen waves the wind caught the bow, threw it to the right and the boat wildly skimmed sideways off the next wave. Desperately, I pulled the throttle back, thankful for wearing brown trousers, full of the visceral feeling of how easy it was to turn this craft fully over. Breathing deeply, I eased the throttle back up, and tried to enjoy the slap, slap, slap as we bounced off each wave towards Emerald Bay.
My original plan had been to swim in the lake from the back of the boat. I’m a Scorpio, a water sign ruled by Pluto, and a lake in a caldera seemed to me to epitomise my sign. In conversation, the marina owner had declared 40 minutes to be the maximum length of time before hypothermia set in for those who fell off their jet-skis. I quietly dropped my plans for a swim.
Emerald Bay was a mini-caldera on the edge of the main lake with a rocky island that you could navigate round at the far end. It was beautiful, and a perfect place to have a smoke whilst drifting. 3 other speedboats were also leaving as I left. Navigation in the bay is restricted to 15 knots, so it was a stately procession. By this time I was casually stood at the front of my boat, 2 fingers on the wheel. The other boats got to the buoys before me and threw their throttles open, standing in the bow. This was a direct challenge; I couldn’t let these Yanks show a Brit up for a cowardly custard. I tried half-throttle first - easy with the wind behind me. OK, up to three-quarter throttle. Yes - pretty good, although I stayed sat down in the cushioned seat, thanks.
A real surprise awaited everyone at the gathering that evening held in a private reception room halfway up the tower of Harveys. Lake Tahoe was having a Firework display to celebrate the end of Summer and, in good American style, it was the most dazzling, expert extravaganza I’ve ever seen. The whole had a musical accompaniment broadcast on Radio. The reception room doors were slid open & we walked out past a vast swimming pool to a balcony that faced the lake. The radio announcer began to count down from 10. Halfway through we saw what appeared to be a rocket climbing into the sky over the heart of the lake. The announcer said ‘Go!’ and the rocket exploded into a vast bell composed of rivulets of golden, shimmering fire. This would have been enough! Yet 20 minutes of no-holds-barred excitement followed, drawing cheers, shouts and clapping from all watching. Davin & Liisa had known nothing of this beforehand, but what a cap to an extraordinary day.
--------- Alex Kemp