Monthly Archives: October 2010

Waking with a smile

Waking with a smile

The marriage proposal had taken place and the answer was “yes”. I found myself waking up with a light heart and an air of excitement. There was so much to do, to dream of, to plan. Tom was as happy as me about the choice our daughter had made. Lindsay was beaming. Even Louis was happy around the house. When God shines His light down on your family, you cannot help but feel it.

The holidays were special this year. An engagement party was being planned by Matt’s Aunt Sharon and Uncle Jack for early January. There were new faces at our Christmas Eve Open House. We were just getting to know his family and we felt very comfortable with all of  them.

Lindsay wanted to move slowly. She wanted to enjoy her engagement. She was taking it all in. I loved that about her. Time would pass quickly enough. They decided on a date….October 2nd, 2010.  A fall wedding would be great. The wedding planning was under way.

Christmas gifts were wedding-related. Monogrammed coffee mugs, wedding planning books and Bride Magazine.  She signed onto The Knot online and set up her timeline. Oh how I love technology!

We were asked to make a list of guests to invite to the engagement party.  That was the very first list. Lists will become our life. We will make lists, we will discuss lists, we will revise lists, we will prepare excel spreadsheets with lists and we will dream of lists. It is all a part of the process.  The wonderful task of putting a wedding together. I never complained.

I loved every single solitary minute of it!

Yoda, the stunt airplane/the proposal

Yoda, the stunt airplane/the proposal

An entry from my personal journal November 28, 2009

Grandma and Grandpa Zitiello traveled from Cleveland to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with their Florida family. Normally they would stay in Cleveland to be near Cathy and her children, Mary and Missy, Tom’s three sisters. But, we had convinced them to make the trip south this year.

Tom and I had a secret to keep. Certainly it was difficult, but, we realized the importance of containing our excitement and remained tight lipped.

Each day we awoke to the question; could this be the day?  Lindsay had no idea of  the life changing event that was about to happen. She continued her routine, work, eat, meet up with friends home for the holiday and of course being with Matt. The air was filled with anticipation.

The ring was due to arrive on Tuesday so we knew from that day on it could happen. Thanksgiving Day came and went and the Grandparents were starting to discuss their return trip. Maybe they should leave sooner to avoid the holiday traffic. Of course Tom and I constantly plotted to persuade them to stay.

Saturday rolled around and Lindsay and I were preparing a picnic lunch for she and Matt. They had planned to spend the day together in St. Augustine, nothing unusual for them. I made sure there was a nice bottle of wine to go with the turkey sandwiches. She left with the scrumptious basket around 10AM to meet Matt.

Shortly after she left the house the phone rang.  It was Matt asking if we could have all the relatives from both sides of the family at our house at 3PM. Today was the day. I agreed and immediately called Publix Bakery for a congratulatory cake. The doorbell rang and it was the florist with a huge arrangement. The card read “To the future Mrs. Garrity, we love you so much! Can’t wait to be there to celebrate with you. love, Samantha and Audrey.” All arranged from San Francisco. Phone calls were made, family invited. Everyone was wondering what was happening.

Back to the lovebirds.

Matt and Lindsay were en route to St. Augustine. Just south of Ponte Vedra Matt  pulled off the road and told Lindsay he was giving her an early Christmas present. She would need to be blindfolded and he placed the black rolled napkin over her eyes and tied it behind her head. She was laughing while trying to guess what it could possibly be. Just a few months before they had gone to the Jacksonville Beach Air-show. Lindsay had remarked she would like to one day ride in a stunt plane. Little did she know, today was the day.

They arrived at the St. Augustine Regional Airport and Matt escorted Lindsay to the prearranged area where  pilot Craig Fordham and stunt plane “Yoda” stood waiting. Matt said, “Merry Christmas, you are going for a ride.” Lindsay was helped into her parachute and into the rear seat on the airplane by pilot and crew and before she could refuse they were taking off down the runway heading north toward Jacksonville Beach.

The airplane is a training plane equipped with cameras on each wing, the nose and the tail.  The pilot and passenger have headphones so they can communicate with one another and also the ground crew and air traffic control. Throughout the flight the pilot asked Lindsay how she was doing as he looped and spun his was along the sunny beaches of St. Augustine and Jacksonville all the while capturing her reaction on video.

Suddenly Matt was speaking to her in her headphones. ” Are you enjoying your wild ride?”  he asked. “Yes,” she said.  “This is crazy.”  ‘Would you like to take another wild ride with me?  Will you marry me?”  he asked. “What?” she said, screaming in delight. “Yes, oh yes.”  The pilot also came into her ear saying, “Would you like to go back now?” “Yes, please “,  she replied as the cameras rolled capturing her tears and surprise.

Back at the hangar the ground crew was preparing for Yoda’s landing and had a camera crew to capture what was about to happen. Matt went down on one knee as Yoda approached. Pilot Craig helped Lindsay out of the plane and she ran to Matt and the ring box extended to her.  He placed the platinum solitaire diamond on her left hand ring finger and they embraced in a romantic kiss.

After several pictures Matt and Lindsay left St. Augustine airport and went to the park to eat their lunch and share some private time. On the way they phoned the parents to tell them the good news. When Tom and I heard the phone ring we BOTH picked up the telephone.  “Mom, Dad, I am marrying Matt”  Lindsay screamed into the phone.  We told her we were very happy for them and we loved them both.

The Garrity and Zitiello family began to arrive  at our house as well as Matt & Lindsay’s friends and some of their parents. The bottles of champagne were on ice . When they finally arrived we all rushed to the front door to greet the happy couple with congratulations and many hugs and kisses.

After things calmed down Tom raised a glass of champagne and gave a wonderful toast to the future Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Christopher Garrity, followed by a toast from Jack Garrity, Jack Sherrod and Blake Sherrod. It was a beautiful day. I know the Grandparents will never forget being there to share every moment of it.

Matt had shown both his creativity and his romantic side  in a beautiful way.  And, one day, if God blesses them with children, they will be able to watch the engagement proposal of their parents right before their eyes!

We are certain Matt loves our daughter and she loves him. What more could a Mother and Father ask for their only daughter?

We love you too Matt Garrity!

Ohio vs. Michigan/Asking for her hand

Ohio vs. Michigan/Asking for her hand

It has been some time since I have written in my blog… and I miss it.  However, there was a very special reason for my neglect. On Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 Lindsay Nicole Zitiello, our only daughter, and Matthew Christopher Garrity, the love of Lindsay’s life, were joined together in the state of holy matrimony in the presence of 250 family members and friends by Father Remek at Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church. A reception followed in the ballroom of the clubhouse of the TPC Sawgrass, a Spanish Revival 77,000 square foot building resembling Cinderella’s castle. There is much about this wedding that I need to write, not only to share with anyone who would like to read about it, but also to preserve the emotions that have welled up inside of me since the engagement last year Thanksgiving week. It has been an amazing year for our entire family, and I might add, our new extended family the Garrity’s.  So, for the next few weeks I will share the highlights.

Reflecting back to November, 2009

It all began a few weeks before Thanksgiving during the Ohio State vs. Michigan football game. Lindsay and I were busy cooking in the kitchen while Matt and Tom were enthralled in the game in the “man-room”. Perhaps Matt was not so enthralled, come to think about it.

He told Tom he needed to ask him something. Tom detected the seriousness in Matt’s voice and immediately turned down the volume of the 50″ flatscreen that projected the game he had waited twelve months to witness. Matt told Tom of his intention and asked for our blessing. Tom in turn discussed the seriousness of the commitment and once he was convinced Matt understood and had given it much contemplation, he gave the blessing with a handshake and a welcoming hug.

He later admitted he was very nervous to ask Mr. Z for Lindsay’s hand in marriage. In fact, more nervous about that than he was about asking Lindsay to marry him.

Matt asked when the grandparents would be arriving for the Thanksgiving holiday and revealed he would ask Lindsay before they would return to Ohio so they could be witness to the momentous event.

An hour later I was still busy at the computer and preparing dinner. Twice Tom looked over the loft  to see if Lindsay was still with me. Finally he determined she and Matt had left.  He came down practically running to the wine cellar to grab a chilled bottle of bubbly and two champagne flutes. He told me to follow him to the bedroom. I laughed and told him it was 5:30 in the afternoon! He said, “You can count on your hand the number of times in your life you have something like this to share, I have to tell you something….follow me.”

Once we were in the sitting room he had tears in his eyes as her recounted the conversation he had had with Matt.  He told me how Matt had “done it right”, first off by asking on his most favorite day in college football AND in the man room on a Saturday afternoon. But, most importantly, Matt had done much more “right”. Matt had waited until both he and Lindsay had graduated college, both gotten jobs and been working for a year, and he had bought a home for them to live in. They were in love and they both wanted to spend their lives together. He had purchased an engagement ring that would arrive on Tuesday. He would ask her to marry him before the Thanksgiving weekend was over.

Matt is the perfect choice for Lindsay. Over the four and a half years they have dated we have grown to know Matt and witnessed on several occasions his love for our daughter and her love for him. We both could not have been happier with what was about to unfold.

I wonder if Tom remembers which team won that game?

Going toward the light.

Going toward the light.

You can spot her traveling south along Ponte Vedra Beach every morning at sunrise. She rides a four wheeled ATV equipped with a large plastic bucket, several pieces of lathe, flashlights, an assortment of shovels and other tools for digging in the sand. She wears a straw hat, comfortable flip flops and a blue collared shirt with the ” Turtle Patrol” logo directly over her heart. She greets the early morning beach walkers with or without their dogs with a nod and a smile as she journeys along the beach inspecting her charge, the nests of the amazing mother sea turtles that have chosen her territory as a safe place to bury their eggs.

During the two month incubation period she acts as protectress by constructing wooden fences surrounding each nest and marks it  with orange plastic tape to warn humans to stay at least 25 yards away. Each morning at dawn she searches for trails in the sand heading toward the water, or  for evidence of tampering of the nests by predators such as birds, crabs, dogs, or worse, a vandal.  For these two months during the gestation period she will watch over them until they have safely made their way to the sea where they will spend their whole life, often more than thirty years, their age at maturity.

All species of the sea turtle are on the endangered list and are classified in the Class Reptilia, subclass Anapsid orders Chelonii and Dermochelyidae.  There are seven recognized species,the loggerhead, the hawkbill, the green flatback, Kemp’s ridley, Olive ridley and the leatherback.  Of the seven species, three; greens, leatherbacks and loggerheads nest locally. They are protected by state and local ordinances many of which are not well known, especially to tourists who frequent our beaches. Because the tiny hatchlings travel toward the light reflected off the ocean, it is important to turn off or shield all outside lighting after 9PM and use window coverings on windows that face the beach. You should not use a flashlight on the beach, or leave toys or chairs near a nest that might impede them from their destination. Even new construction along Florida beaches is monitored by the Corp. of Engineers to insure exterior and interior lighting does not disturb the turtles.

On morning Lisa and I stopped to talk to the sea turtle lady and found her to be very friendly and informative.  In a two or three minute conversation she explained a little sea turtle 101 telling us how the journey from the nest to the sea was a difficult one for the 80 to 160 hatchlings deposited into each nest. The movement of their small legs in the sand trains them to swim, so “helping” them to the water could mean death to a small untrained sea turtle.  Once they reach the water they might float and swim near the shore until the tides wash them further out to sea.  She spoke with love and intelligence about her passion and we both were happy the turtles who come to our stretch of beach had someone as caring as she to watch over them.

So, please be aware of the nests and be certain to join with the Turtle Patrol in protecting this wonderful sea creature from extinction.