October 13, 2013
Jordan and Renee's story starts like all great Baltimore love stories: in the polluted water of the Baltimore harbor.
(Actually, to be completely honest, the story starts about a year before, but accounts differ on this point)
Renee kind of remembers having a conversation with Jordan and thought he was super cheeky. He remembers and in depth conversation about some socio-political issue.
City Hall had drafted a team for the bi-annual Catholic Charities Dragon Boat Race in the harbor, with Renee at the helm as its fearless leader. Vaguely remembering him from his internship at city hall ("he's young, right? He'll be good") another friend (Liz) sent an email inviting Jordan out to practice. Remembering Renee from the summer before, he emailed her. "I'd love to be a part of City Hall's team," he replied. "Also, we should get together for lunch sometime." Thus began two months of Renee ignoring him. Renee thought it was weird that he wanted to get together and kind of forward considering they barely knew each other.
But as the months wore on, and Jordan - in peak physical condition - showed dedication both in his rowing pursuits and his pursuit of Renee, Team City Hall's fearless leader softened. Renee began to notice just how good he looked in sleeveless shirts. She began to wonder: could she date so young a man, with so large a head? She had just adopted her chihuahua Linus, and he was supposed to be in place of dating. And having a man over might mean she would have to clean her house.
Just how young was he, anyway?
"Just how young are you?" she asked, via text message. Jordan checked the time sent - 3 AM. Shamelessly sending texts at 3 AM? He knew he had her. "I'll be 25 in February."
It was August. "That's just 24," she replied.
One week later they were on their first date. One year later, they were engaged to be married. Neither has ever been happier.
"Oh you fancy, huh?"
[Smiles] "Yes... I am kind of fancy."
Renee is a beautiful and elegant woman on the outside, and Lucy from the Peanuts on the inside. That is, if Lucy had a heart big enough to let that poor boy kick the football.
On our third date, which was a trip to JoAnn Fabrics, we had an extended conversation about privilege and empathy. I was very interested about Renee's thoughts as a bona fide public servant. I told her I thought it was the duty of of children from comfortable families to give back. I told her I never thought I would need much money. And though she agreed with most of what I said in the conversation, Renee gripped the steering wheel tight as we tooled along Perring Parkway in her red Mini, anxiety at the corners of her mouth.
"I'm worried that you're going to figure out I'm a bad person."
"What are you talking about?"
"I just... I'm not a good person. I'm selfish."
"How are you selfish?"
"I have a lot of fabric!"
She was serious.
"...and a lot of nail polish. I don't need all of it."
I smiled deep across the passenger's side, wondering how I was going to keep from falling in love with her if this was what she was like.
I like to joke that Jordan was born 40. He has an insight into the human spirit and a passion about the world around him that continually awes me. I love being with him because he can hold his own in a conversation, argument and in life. He is a terrible dancer though...
He is a rock when you need strength and a partner to the end.
He has me laughing, keeps me sane and makes me whole.
He is the person I didn't realize I needed.
Brother of the Groom / Best Man
Scott is the prettiest brother, and is not shy about letting you know it. An avid collector of tight and colorful pants, his razor-sharp wit and impressive karaoke ability are only two of his five best qualities.
Bestie / Bridesmaid
Liz gets my jokes like no one else. She's my standby for Tweed Rides and history tours. Together, we drink wine from a box and watch all the Real Housewives. You can thanks Liz for your seating arrangement. She wouldn't let me go without. She also reminded to have centerpieces, music, gifts and guests.
Friend / Officiant
Sheryl and I have been friends for 10 years. We first met working for the Baltimore County Executive. I remember when she first wanted to hang out, I thought, 'I do not need any more friends." I am so glad she changed my mind. Sheryl, is there for you in a pinch and always has the best and right advice. I love her like a sister and am so happy she could marry Jordan and I.
Hugent and Gemryl Samuels
My mom and dad are my greatest inspiration. Not only are they the American dream, they are my dream. I am so thankful for the life they have given me, the guidance they continue to provide and the love I have always received. This year, they celebrate 40 years of marriage and partnership. Both my parents immigrated from the West Indies (Jamaica for Dad and Grenada for Mom). Both were educated as nurses and met in New York City while working. My mother joined the Army when I was six years old and retired as a full bird colonel four years ago. Both my parents completed master's degrees and made sure all of their children had access to higher education. My parents love Jordan and are super excited that I have found my partner for life.
Warren and Dana Rosenfeld
Like a lot of good-looking Jewish people in the 1980s, Warren and Dana met in Montgomery County, married, and started having promising children. Unlike most others, they have since moved to Worcester County, Maryland, where they qualify as "diversity." After a 20-year career as a successful Washington, DC attorney, Warren spent the next 10 years engaged in various big-time philanthropic endeavors (some of which continue to this day) , claiming CEO status a few different places, and doing a lot of curls. Currently, Warren is the managing member and driving force of Rosenfeld's Jewish Delicatessen in Ocean City, Maryland. He is deeply proud of raising two sons into capable young men. After reading a jillion books, taking countless classes toward her continuing education, and befriending every free-spirit in the Germantown metropolitan area, Dana Rosenfeld moved with her husband out to the boonies, where she enjoys a beautiful water view every morning. Currently, Dana is a sincere bright spot in her beloved Worcester County Library System, and treasurer of the Friends of the Library project. Her sons thank her for giving them her deep compassion and sense of justice.
St. Pete Beach, Tampa Bay, Florida