A November Coalition wedding

Story adapted from an E-mail to our online members

By Chris Lotze
   

On Saturday, May 12, 2001 our beloved Chuck Armsbury and Nora Callahan got married. The weather was great, so far one of the best days of the year. Around three o'clock, anywhere from forty-five to sixty people showed up in the backyard of November Coalition headquarters. Chuck and Nora's grandchildren, all dressed up for the affair walked, and sometimes ran around, with the guest book and pen-in-hand.

Mark Harrison, staff reporter and writer for the November Coalition, officiated their public exchange of vows. Mark told the wedding guests about how the bride and groom met for the first time, right in the same yard where they were now getting married.

Guests talked with new family members; friends made new ones, and everyone was happy. The aroma of great food was in the air. Nora and her best friend from high school, Debi Buchta, slaved in the kitchen the day before and laid out a feast for the wedding day. Everyone went through the chow line once, twice, sometimes three times. Toasts came after the meal. Deep friendships with the bride and groom were apparent in the messages, but the best moment of the early evening came when Chuck's daughter sang a heart-felt love song for her dad. Jillian worked with November Coalition last year leading the children in song at the Philly Shadow convention. There wasn't a dry eye in the yard, and even Jill had to pause halfway through her song to tell her dad not to cry.

Here is my hand for you to hold,
Here's the part of me they have not sold,
I wandered far, I've had my fill,
I need you now, do you love me still?

Only you have seen, the hidden part of me,
Call me fool hearty, if you will,
I love you when, do you love me still?

So many smiles and eyes surround me,
Empty expectations, faceless fears,
Sometimes this life is a bitter pill,
I love you now, do you love me still . . .

© Composed by Bruce Hornsby and Chaka Khan

The night wasn't over. People talked, and children played. Chuck broke out some issues of the Razor Wire and was giving them out left and right. Two November Coalition people getting married, at the literal home office, by a Razor Wire writer, the groom distributing Razor Wire newspapers! I thought at first it was a little strange, but the more I thought about it, the more I thought it was pretty cool. It was their way of having everyone they love at their wedding-and still doing what they love-spreading the word about the failed drug war (as if anyone who knows them doesn't know)

A November Coalition wedding isn't complete without a little legal paperwork that slipped our minds on wedding day. Not to fear, Reverend Harrison attended the Lindesmith Center-DPF Conference, with official documents in hand. Nora and Chuch spent part of their honeymoon at the conference where Sandee Burbank of MAMA and TNC's John Chase were honored to stand in!