Shelton: Watch Society Page: Vows | View to the West
by Peter Shelton
07.08.07 - 11:00 pm

Lisa “the Welder” Issenberg and Jerry “Snowviewer” Roberts at the Historic Western Hotel and Saloon in Ouray, Saturday night, June 23, 2007.

The bride wore a gown by…well, it wasn’t a gown really, more of a slinky, clingy orange thing that showed off all of Ms. Issenberg’s curves. While the groom wore (we took bets on this on the drive up the valley, and I won) short-sleeve pants and flip-flops.

The mother of the bride, who is, if I may say so, a real pistol and looks barely old enough to be the mother of the bride, wore butterscotch leather pants and a slinky lacey top. 

Presiding was…um, well, no one was presiding, because Ms. Issenberg and Mr. Roberts actually ran off to the desert back in February and married themselves without telling anybody first. They set a camera on a rock and took pictures to prove that they were there – hugging. And Mr. Roberts dreamed up a haiku for the occasion: “under blue New Mexican sky/two share same Ghost Ranch path/O’Keefe as witness.”

Ms. Issenberg, a well-known mixed-media artist, converted those same elements (plus a fridge magnet version of the hugging picture) into the invitation for Saturday’s event.  A-list guests from as far away as Vancouver and Portillo, Ridgway and Ophir, filled the authentically aged hotel to sidewalk overflow.

In support of Mr. Roberts, a long-time skier and avalanche forecaster, came a veritable Who’s Who of the North American snow-science world, including Richard and Betsy “Avalanche Hazard in Ouray County 1877-1976” Armstrong; Knox “Be careful out there” Williams; Silverton Mountain’s Pat “Sarajevo” Ahern; heli-skiing pioneers Mike “Friegele” Friedman, Brian “Speed” Miller, Tim “the Buddhist” Kudo, Mark “Frankie” Frankmann, and Bob “the Human” Newman. 

On the art side, Ms. Issenberg invited watercolorist Susie Billings, late of Norwood; master carpenter Scott Rikkers and his wife Jill, herself a fabricator of fanciful ironworks; the renowned colorist Julie Ahern; potter Ann Mellick; author Corinne Platt-Rikkers; Ophirian sculptor Gerald Oyama; the writer/painter/surfer duo Rhonda Claridge and Sean McNamara; and fabric genius Phoebe Sophocles of Busted Boiler Draw.

In addition, the throng pulsed with assorted climbers, cyclists, interns, dirtbags, former interns, philanthropists, and Outward Bound alumni from near and far. The groom mixed batches of his proprietary pisco sours while the band, the New Orleans western swing quintet, Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue, warmed up in the hotel’s miniscule parlor.

Heartfelt toasts from family and friends ended with a hopeful pronouncement from Mr. Roberts’ friend Dennis McCoy, who allowed as how Ms. Issenberg was the first woman in Mr. Roberts’ life that he did not refer to as “my future former girlfriend.”

Later, following the unfortunate closing of the doors against the municipal noise police, revelers bounced and sweated to the rockabilly beat, and somehow one of the girls got the idea to climb up on the reception desk and dance. And then another one joined her. And pretty soon there was this shakin’ line-up like you wouldn’t believe: the bride, of course, in the middle; the blond bombshells (Corinne Platt-Rikkers, Lise Waring, Ann Mellick and Susan Hale); Dr. Debbie Wheeler; our “one-in-a-Brazilian” Maria; the mother of the bride (shock horror) grinding along next to her daughter; and…hey, hold on a minute.  My daughter Cecily is up there! This event is getting out of hand. 

Later still, when all the pisco was gone and I wanted to pocket one of the adorable table decorations – a tiny welded easel by Ms. Issenberg holding a primitivist watercolor painting by Mr. Roberts – my wife took me by the hand and led me out to the car.

The wedding couple will honeymoon in…Okay, get a room, you two!

© watchnewspapers.com 2007