Taking the Waves

A tale of love, life and longboarding

All their surfer friends will be there, and the aisle will be two rows of longboards, leading to the sea. Gene and Rachel will paddle out on separate boards. The pastor, in a kayak, will say the holy words, the couple will make their promises, and then Rachel will climb onto Gene's extra long longboard, and they will ride tandem to shore.

Gene asks that you pray for surf. A luau will immediately follow the ceremony.

It is scheduled for May 17, the day after Rachel finishes school. She'll graduate with a degree in marine administration, which she thought would be more marketable than marine biology. But that was before she met Gene, when she thought she would need a job.

Gene has finally given up lifeguarding. Downstairs, in the workshop of the Sunshine House, he has begun making surfboards. He and Rachel plan to open a surf shop together. They hope to make a lot of money with it, but of course, they'll close it when the surf's going off. Gene and Rachel are happy on their diet of ramen noodles, and they expect their children to live as cheaply as they do. And why should anything ever change, Rachel wonders. All you need is the determination to enjoy yourself, "and not get stuck."

Mrs. Molasky believes Rachel is still "a responsible, mature, conservative-type person," and she and her husband plan to help the newlyweds in any way they can.

Everyone is looking forward to the wedding. Gene's sister, Claire, sees it as a time for the family to come together and heal. Gene's mother, Surf Mama, will have her hair dyed purple to match the muumuu Gene brought her from Hawaii. Gene thought his father should be there, too, and so he will, with his other family.

Retired now, near Austin, his father said he's made his peace with the Lord. He loves his children, but he won't discuss with them what none will understand. He wanted Gene to know that every marriage has its peaks and valleys, and if you stick with God, He'll see you through.

In other words, ride the wave.

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