by Enola Jones

(Song quoted is Tanya Tucker's "Sparrows In A Hurricane".)

Lisa stood, wiping her hands on her skirt. This was it. She was about ready.

Johnny walked over to her. "How you doing, sweetheart?"

"I'm fine," she smiled. "How're you doing?"

He shrugged. "Getting by." Smiling, he kissed her cheek. "You can do it, pumpkin."

"Thanks, Uncle Johnny. I'll try."

Lisa DeSoto Stoker, bride of Matthew Stoker, stepped to the microphone. As her husband played the piano, she said, "This is for my mom and dad, who said their 25th anniversary vows today. I love you both."

Roy took Joanne in his arms and they began to waltz as their daughter sang.

"She's sixteen and he's barely driving a car. She's got his ring and he's got the key to her heart..."

Roy remembered. High school -- fumbling for the words. Finally working up the courage to ask his one and only love to marry him. Joy and immense relief when she said yes.

"It's just a matter of time They'll spread their wings and fly..."

Joanne remembered. College --- the grief and agony of four years apart. The joy when they were together once more.

"Like two sparrows in a hurricane, trying to find their way
With a headful of dreams and faith that can move anything
They've heard it's all uphill
But all they know is how they feel
The world says they'll never make it.....
Love says they will."

The dance continued. Johnny and Jenny joined them on the dance floor, followed by Mike and Lauren Stoker, Cap and Juanita, Marco and Marisa, Craig and Rose, and Chet and Susan . Lisa's eyes filled with tears, but she kept singing.

"There's a baby cryin'
and one more on the way.
There's a wolf at the door
and a big stack of bills they can't pay...."

Roy wiped away the tears that coursed down Joanne's cheek as the memories consumed them both. It had been hard, but they'd survived. Thrived, even. Through it all, their love had been enough.

Their love had, ultimately, been all.

The other dancing couples stopped and formed a large circle around Roy and Joanne, letting them finish the waltz solo to the last verse -- one that spoke of what they hoped was their future.

"She's eighty-three...and he's barely drivin' a car.
She's got his ring and he's got the keys to her heart.
It's just a matter of time....
They'll spread their wings...and fly....."

As their daughter sang the last chorus, the waltz ended. Then, suddenly, looking in each other's eyes, Roy's heart and Joanne's heart joined as they had all those years ago. Lisa sang a capella now, and each of her parent's hearts echoed the words and made them their own as Lisa changed the words to suit them --- her uncle Johnny and aunt Jenny--- her uncles and aunts from the LAFD --- and ultimately herself and Matthew.

"We've heard it's all uphill
But all we know is how we feel
The world says we'll never make it...."

Roy whispered the last line to Joanne.

"Love says we will."


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