Let's say you are wildly, passionately in love and one day your sweetheart - sure, that's an outdated term, but I'm trying to make a point here - comes to you and says: "Let's get married."
Well, you say.
"On Valentine's Day," she says.
February's a little chilly, you say.
"On an ice rink," she says.
An ice rink?
"Standing on skates," she says.
Skates? But I don't even s-
"With 45 other couples," she says.
Forty-five other ... ?
"And the weather's not going to be tops," she says. "It'll be rainy and foggy."
If all this does not cause you to rethink the relationship, maybe you were among the 46 couples who married or renewed vows yesterday at the Inner Harbor Ice Rink at Rash Field.
It was a lovely ceremony, especially if you had an umbrella, which I did, and a space heater, which I would have killed for.
All in all, though, the "Wedding on Ice," sponsored for the fifth year in a row by WLIF Radio (101.9 FM), went off without a snag, except for the guy we thought was having a heart attack, which I'll get to in a moment.
All you needed to get hitched in this non-denominational ceremony was a valid Baltimore marriage license. The skates were provided free of charge, plus each couple received a box of chocolates, movie passes and a bottle of wine.
I felt like calling my wife at work and yelling: "Hon, get on down here! We can make a killing if we re-up!"
Look, people get married in crazier places. They get married in Elvis chapels, they get married while sky-diving, they get married during the seventh-inning stretch at minor league baseball games.
Why not an ice rink?
In the middle of winter?
On a day that looks like it blew off the Scottish moors?
Then I ran into Ricky Walega, 41, and Rose DeStefano, 40, of Glen Burnie, one of the couples getting married, and they told me the kind of Valentine's Day story that warms your heart, even on a day like this.
It seems the two of them used to date back when they were teen-agers. There was definitely something there; they went roller skating every Friday night in Pasadena, and she bought him a silver ID bracelet, which practically meant you were engaged back in those days.
"He was so sweet," Rose recalled. "But very shy."
Anyway, ID bracelet or no ID bracelet, they drifted apart a year later. Rose got married and raised two kids. Ricky never married, but he went to maritime school and became a marine engineer.
Rose eventually divorced after 14 years of marriage. Six years ago, she was in the Glen Burnie Mall with her kids and ran into Ricky for the first time in years. He was still sweet, she could tell that.
Apparently, he hadn't gotten a handle on the shyness thing, either - it would be another six months before he summoned the nerve to call for a date. Things quickly got serious. Eventually, Ricky bought her a diamond engagement ring, then they bought a house together.
Now, they were standing in the chilly mist waiting to get married, Ricky in a dark blue suit and topcoat, Rose in a pink jacket and black slacks, the two of them on skates, her hand in his, looking happier than anyone had a right to in this weather.
"We got sunshine, don't we, babe?" Rose said, and Ricky smiled and nodded. On his wrist was a shiny gold bracelet. Rose had bought it not long ago. It cost a heck of a lot more than the 11 bucks she spent for that silver bracelet when they were kids.
At a little after 12, the first strains of "The Wedding March" drifted over the PA system, and the couples took to the ice. One by one, they made their way over to a white stand decorated with red hearts, where WLIF personality Fran Lane introduced the Rev. Joel Dan Lehman.
The reverend, he knew this wasn't the kind of day where you yak a lot. He got down to business.
"We're gathered here, in the presence of these witnesses," he began, and that's when we saw a man in a dark suit being helped off the ice. His bride-to-be, in a white wedding gown, skated behind him, a concerned look on her face.
This guy, he didn't look so good. His face was all red, and he was bent over in agony. I thought it was his ticker.
"No," said the man, who turned out to be Tom Quarles, 40, of Baltimore. "It's my feet. First time on skates. I was cramping and my feet were buckling."
But Quarles, he turned out to be a trouper. He got out of the skates and leaned against a railing, and that's where he exchanged vows with Maureen Miller.
Anyway, in a few minutes, the ceremony was over. The brides and grooms kissed, took a quick lap around the rink as "Through the Eyes of Love" blared from the speakers, and posed for pictures.
I found Ricky and Rose Walega in the warming tent shortly after. They were beaming. "It really dawned on me how much this means to me," Ricky said, looking at Rose. "She's a beautiful woman. And now she's all mine."
Everyone else in the tent looked happy, too. A huge five-tier wedding cake was ready to be served to the couples and their guests.
Funny thing, too. No one was talking about the weather.Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun