On March 19, 1999, Gary and I went to the Sonoma County Courthouse and got married by a Justice of the Peace.

We’d been together 8 years already. Neither of us particularly wanted to go through the legal process. But, we went ahead and did it for practical purposes — health insurance being one of the main reasons.

Up at the county office, we found out we needed a witness. We hadn’t thought of bringing anyone with us. Luckily a kind, older woman named Nuala, who was waiting for a friend, said she’d “stand” for us.

The ceremony was simple and quick. We promised to be kind to each other. So far so good.

We then drove to the beach, stopped for a beer, went out to dinner back in Petaluma and then went home and watched a movie. Plus ├ža change …

We threw a party for friends the following day — a reception of sorts. We gave everyone an egg-shaped stone — a symbol of new beginnings on the Spring Equinox.

This is what we looked like on our wedding day.

It was Mardi Gras, February 12, 1991. We’d gone on a “date” to Stanroy’s Music in Santa Rosa. We then wended our way back to my pad, an old farmhouse in Penngrove, California. The house was on what had once been a chicken ranch during Sonoma County’s egg production heydays in the 1920s. The living room had high ceilings, windows that faced the horse pasture in the front, oak trees on the side. The fireplace was smokey because of a poorly functioning insert. The couch was rust colored and modular — a hand me down from my oldest sister.

We had started hanging out after the Winter Solstice, talking, watching movies together, taking drives, more talking. We were falling in love but, having both had been married before, we were taking it slow, very slow.

This night, 27 years ago, after more talking and pots and pots of herbal tea, I saw bands of light reaching out from our hearts pouring into each other. We kissed and …

Of course, I wrote a song about it: