Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Researching Justices of the Peace

Our county clerk's website lists three Justices of the Peace (JoP) available for performing wedding ceremonies. In a fit of attempted productivity back in March (a full 14 months before the wedding), I called JoP #1. After playing a bit of phone tag, he took down my name, number, and wedding date, and told me, "OK, you're in my book! Call me this fall and we'll set up a meeting."

"Um, do you have a fee?" I meekishly asked, completely thrown off by having apparently already booked an officiant, just like that.

"We'll talk about it later! Talk to you in a few months!"

I didn't bother trying to contact the other two JoPs at that point, because I realized that it was very, very early to be trying to set up an officiant.

Today, a few months later, I tried again.

JoP #1 didn't answer, so I left a message asking if he could meet with us in a few weeks when Eric comes to Louisville to get some wedding stuff done. His voicemail message concludes with, "God bless."

JoP #2 was a woman with a stern voice and Kentucky accent. She was very friendly, told me her prices, said she was very willing to work with us on a wedding ceremony. She said she was free for our wedding date, but would have to check her schedule for an October 3 meeting, and would call me back in 20 minutes. That was 5 hours ago.

JoP #3 was a man with a friendly southern accent. He told me his fees, and when I asked about his ceremony, he said, "I use a traditional wedding ceremony from the Bible, with the lines from 13 Corinthians, 'love is patient, love is kind,' and most people do a unity candle, and I say a prayer." Which, no offense to anyone, is exactly the wedding ceremony I DON'T want. He did say he would be willing to work with us on the ceremony, though, so I guess there's room for adjustments. He also ended our phone call with, "God bless."

If a non-clergyperson ended a phone call with "God bless" in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or Maryland, I would be very, very surprised. In Kentucky, it's pretty common, so I'm not completely surprised by it anymore, but still weirded out by it a little. Is it OK for a judge to say it? I don't know.

Anyway, a couple hours later, JoP #1 returns my call. I explain what he supposedly already knew, and what I reminded him of in my voicemail, namely, my name, wedding date, and phone number, and that I wanted to meet with him on October 4. "Sure! What time?" I told him that any time was fine for us, and asked what time was best for him. "Let me check my book. I'll call you back. What's your name?" And after I told him, he asked, "What's your phone number?" At this point, I'm a little weirded out, because he just called me on my phone number, but whatever.

About an hour after that, he calls again. "Hi, this is JoP #1, calling you about your October 4 wedding!" I explained that no, our wedding is in May, but we wanted to meet with him on October 4. "Oh... [as though this is news to him] OK, well, let me call you back. I'll call you that morning to set up a time." (At least, that's what I heard.) "You'll call me the morning of October 4 to meet that day?" I said. "No, no, I'll call you back tomorrow, but we'll most likely meet that morning." Ooooooh, OK -- that makes a little more sense.

A little while later, I get another phone call. "Hi, this is JoP#3, are you here yet?"

"I'm sorry?"

"This is JoP #3. We're meeting today about your upcoming wedding. Are you here yet?"

"No, this is Holly, my wedding's in May, and I thought we were scheduled to meet on Friday, October 3?"

"Oh, right. Sorry. I have the wrong number. I'm meeting with someone else today."

"Oh, no problem. I'll see you October 3," I tried to say as he brusquely said goodbye. The wrong number thing is kind of weird, because I still have a Maryland area code on my cell phone, so you would think he would have realized he was dialing a weird number. But maybe not.

So JoP#1 has recurrent amnesia, JoP#2 hasn't called me back yet (but I'll give her the benefit of the doubt and try again tomorrow), and JoP#3 is already getting me confused with another client and basically performs religious ceremonies.



Blablover5 said...

Sounds like these guys need e-mail.

Though there's a good chance you'd get forwarded a ceremony for another bride.