Grand County: The risks and rewards of a high altitude ‘I do’ |

Grand County: The risks and rewards of a high altitude ‘I do’

by Cyndi McCoy
Grand County, Colorado

When brides dream of their perfect wedding day, a good majority envision it in the splendor of the great outdoors ” especially brides in Grand County.

What they may not think about among all those details to finalize is that one must be prepared in the Rocky Mountains ” for just about anything.

Through rain, snow, and sometimes horse manure, through tears of joy and laughter, many times Joan Shaw has been there, playing viola in a trio with her husband.

“They say ‘No, thank you,’ and do it their way,” she said of the courageous brides who go for the non-traditional location. “It’s about all the adventures you can have up here.”

What started out as a labor of love for her grandchildren about what she and husband Roger were doing became her third published work: “Mountain I Dos, Tales of

Weddings and Music in the Mountains.” It was published at the end of October and a book signing event is scheduled at the Fraser Valley Library.

After almost 30 years living in St. Louis, Mo., the couple, who met in an orchestra pit in high school, moved to Fraser. As accomplished musicians, the two played in various suburban orchestra and chamber music groups as A Touch of Class, now Alpine Classic Music. Joan also served as a musical therapist for many years, the inspiration for her other two books (non-fiction).

Weddings are solemn occasions, but elegant selections from classics like Mozart can only do so much to keep it that way, Shaw points out. The most amazing surprises can take the spotlight and leave lasting memories.

Something funny happened at all three of their children’s weddings. Then there’s the city couple that wanted Three Stooges music, the lady who stood up and objected during the vows, and the boy who praised “Amen” after every ceremonial sentence. Sometimes Shaw and the other musicians just “had to keep a straight face.”

Friends heard the stories and encouraged her to get them published. Shaw’s work with the Fraser Valley Writer’s Group paid off. When it was time to get the book published, she made sure to use local businesses in as much of the process as possible.

The book features the photography of Grand County professionals. Roger took the cover shot and helped with the graphic design. Special dedication is made to Marty Griffiths, whom Shaw said taught her courage.

Poignant and witty, the work is “laced with good humor and sage advice,” said Ann Thompson, columnist and educator. “The stories in this collection are absolutely true, with only an occasional wee bit of literary irony.”

The stories round out with “Finale,” one of Shaw’s favorites about “Good Ole Bob and Mary,” an older couple whom the preacher pointed out knew what they were doing by the time they said their vows. Shaw said they all laughed and cried through the entire ceremony.

For someone who has “never done anything like this” book piece before, Shaw’s story collection is well-written and endearing. The collection covers more than 150 weddings and is in softcover for $15. Copies are available through Shaw, at Fraser Valley 1 Hour Photo and at the Grand County libraries.

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