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November 12, 2013
By Jennifer Grigg

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Nov. 12, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. - On. Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m., the Waubaushene fire hall in Tay Township was filled with firefighters in uniform and their spouses, friends and family. The floors had been scrubbed and the trucks were impeccably shined. Tiny white lights were hung from the ceiling and walls and flecks of green light danced across the hall.

Nov. 12, 2013, Waubaushene, Ont. – On. Oct. 5, at 7:30 p.m., the
Waubaushene fire hall in Tay Township was filled with firefighters in
uniform and their spouses, friends and family. The floors had been
scrubbed and the trucks were impeccably shined. Tiny white lights were
hung from the ceiling and walls and flecks of green light danced across
the hall.

White sheer curtains covered the doors leading from the meeting room to the apparatus floor. On the other side of the meeting room doors, a dozen firefighters stood on guard along both sides of a center aisle lined with carefully laid fire hose and helmets.

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The aisle led the way to a beautifully lit arbour in front of a sparkling yellow pumper, where a firefighter with 20 years under his belt stood anxiously waiting in his uniform. No amount of training or experience could have taken the nervousness out of this evolution.

On the other side of the meeting room door, an equally nervous bride has just arrived in her chariot, (her station’s new Pierce Saber pumper), driven by a fellow firefighter and long time friend – and the groom’s best man.

The bride – me – was greeted by the bagpiper (a teacher from my daughter’s school who is a member of the Ontario Fire College’s Pipes and Drums) and three firefighters from her soon-to-be-husband’s fire hall. I was then guided into the meeting room while the best man parked the chariot and then went to join the groom in front of the pumper.

“You look beautiful Jen,” said Amy, the Waubaushene fire hall’s only female member.

I took a deep breath and looked around the meeting room. I saw my two beautiful daughters (who were my bridesmaids), my maid of honour (a trusted friend from work), my Mom (who was walking me down the aisle), our bagpiper (Tracey Devine) and the three firefighters in their uniforms, all looking back at me. It was a moment that will be forever imbedded in my mind.

I was about to marry my hero.

Another deep breath. A quick trip to the washroom. A desperately needed drink of water.

Are you ready Jen?” asked Amy.

I nodded and replied, “Yep.” I linked my arm through my Mom’s and told the girls to follow Ms. Devine as she piped the bridal party down the aisle.

As the door opened to the apparatus floor, I caught a glimpse of the sheer white curtains and the twinkling lights, and a firefighter standing by the door. It took my breath away.

Neither Earl nor I had any idea what the hall would like as he was simply told not to go in the hall after 7 p.m. the night before, no matter what.

My Mom went to take the first step but I hesitated. She looked at me to see why I wasn’t moving and saw tears starting in my eyes. “Don’t start that right now”, she said. “Let’s go”.

Another deep breath.

As Mom and I walked through the door, we were greeted by the firefighters standing on guard. I was filled with emotions – surprise and honour. An old friend and firefighter on my right looked at me and then looked down at his hand. I followed his gaze and saw that he had a RIT line in his hand. I laughed. I honestly don’t remember what he said to me, but I took the RIT line in my hand and Mom and I continued down the aisle.

I remember the walk down the aisle as 1) breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth (the same way you breathe when you’re wearing a BA) and 2) keeping my eyes on the big guy in uniform standing at the front of the hall.

As we reached our destination, my Mom “gave me away”, my maid of honour took my flowers, and Earl and I faced each other and held hands. In this beautifully intimate magical fire-hall wedding, as we said our vows through teary eyes (all four of them), something strange occurred to me. He was chewing gum! You can dress up the guy, and you can even dress up the fire hall, but you can’t take the fire hall out of the guy! Nor would I ever want to.

My wedding was better than I ever could have imagined, and taking more time to plan it wouldn’t have changed anything. (We had decided just three weeks prior that we were going to get married, since our intention was to to keep things low key with a few close friends and family.)

Firefighters being firefighters, when the crew in Earl’s hall found out that we were going to have the ceremony in their hall, they stepped up to the plate without a moment’s hesitation.

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This blog is dedicated to the men and woman of the Waubaushene fire hall of the Tay Fire Department, the firefighters from the Port Severn fire hall who attended, and to our wedding party (Jenn Albert, Sydney and Emily Mabee and Gary Filipchuk) who made the day full of beautiful, poignant, emotion-filled memories.

And in case you’re wondering, no one needed pulling out with the RIT line.

But thanks guys, for always having our backs.


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