On Sunday, the wedding day. Sarah sent me out early that morning to check the porta-johns by the Liberty Pavilion at Baltimore’s Druid Hill Park. While I was there picking up trash around the area, I noticed a man sitting in the pavilion. It looked like he lived there or at least spent most of his time there.
“My daughter’s getting married here today.”
“Congratulations,” he said.
“Wow, the garbage cans by the pavilion are overflowing.” I observed.
“You ought to call the city to tell them to pick that up.”
“Maybe I will,” I said, “You’re welcome to join us at the wedding this afternoon.”
I drove back to Sarah’s to report. Sarah told me, “The city won’t pick up that trash today. You’re going to have to bag it up Dad.”
I told Sarah about the man at the pavilion and how I invited him to the wedding.
“What’s his name?” was her first question, immediately giving him value.
“I don’t know.”
“You need to ask him his name, Dad. Then he can come to the wedding.”
I went back to the park with garbage bags. While I was working on getting the trash from the cans into the bags, my new friend came over. “Let me help you,” he said.
“What’s your name?”
“It’s Johnnie, with an ‘ie’ on the end.”
“Johnnie, my daughter really wants you to join us for the wedding and dinner right here at 4:00 this afternoon.”
“I’ll get my suit jacket and be here. Thanks.”
When I arrived back at the pavilion in the afternoon, Johnnie was there with his suit jacket on. He watched us as we set up the 150 chairs for the wedding. As the guests waited for the ceremony to start, Johnnie was in one of those chairs.
After the ceremony, we all enjoyed a potluck of food provided by Sarah’s many local friends and guests. Johnnie ate next to me. I asked him, “Did you get a chance to meet my daughter Sarah?”
He said, “I sure did. She came over and talked to me for the longest time. She made me feel so welcome." I thought about my daughter doing this on what was probably the busiest day of her life.
"She’s a good girl, you know.”
I fought back tears as I experienced another “gulp” of God’s kingdom.