‘Nick gave me flowers today’

I attended the wedding of Nick Reinell and former Star Sports reporter Jessica Lander on Saturday, May 20 in Angwin.

It was a magical evening. The couple’s love for each other was truly palpable, as was their love and appreciation for the collection of family and friends who were privileged to be in attendance. I was one of the lucky ones.

Throughout that Saturday I found myself recalling the first time I saw Nick and Jessica’s connection up close and personal. It was in the fall of 2012 when I was fortunate enough to spend the Thanksgiving weekend with them.

Nick and his family were gracious enough to invite me to Thanksgiving dinner. The trip also included the three of us attending the USC Notre Dame football game at the LA Coliseum.

This was during the forgettable Lane Kiffin era so the Irish, who were en route to a perfect regular season and an appearance in the national championship game against Alabama, cruised to a comfortable victory over the Trojans.

But that is not my most lasting memory from the trip. Ironically, at the moment it happened, it was the low point of the trip. But now whenever I reflect on it, a smile immediately comes to my face and will for the rest of my life. I hope it will do the same for the happy couple and future generations.

Long story short, the three of us were riding in my van, and we were going to drop Jessica off so she could spend time with one of her friends from college who was living in Los Angeles at the time.

During the course of the trip, Jess and Nick somehow became involved in a lovers’ quarrel. I don’t remember what the quarrel was about.

After we dropped Jess off, I advised Nick he needed to apologize and that it would be nice if the apology was accompanied by a bouquet of flowers.

As I remember, Nick resisted the idea, but he eventually warmed to it and as Saturday night can attest everything worked out just fine.

Over the next four and a half years, I would often end my conversations or meetings with Nick and Jessica individually or collectively with a question: Had Nick bought Jessica flowers recently? My query would elicit smiles and laughter from both parties, a sure sign they were in love and secure in their relationship.

There was never a question of if what happened Saturday night, would happen. It was simply a question of when?

Accordingly, a conversation with Nick, often would open with these words, “You popped the question yet?” It got to the point where he often beat me to the punch with a quick “No,” which was followed by a familiar laugh. But he always assured me it was only a matter of time. What’s more, he said, besides an engagement ring, his proposal to Jess would include a bouquet of flowers.

So, I was thrilled when I received that voicemail from Jessica which consisted of just five words. “Nick gave me flowers today.” Those were five of the sweetest words I’ve ever heard.

Our culture tells us to live in the moment. There is wisdom in that message, after all, tomorrow is not promised to any of us.

Still there is an even deeper meaning for me in witnessing events like Nick and Jessica’s wedding on Saturday, May 20.

It gave me a glimpse of the future — beyond my lifetime. It reminded me that all of us impact our friends’ lives, and there is still plenty of goodness and love in the world, if you take the time to look for it. It was on full display that Saturday night, and was truly a beautiful thing to see.

G.S. Whitt is a freelance sports reporter for the St. Helena Star.

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