Here's a riddle for you: Who re-ties a knot that has never come loose?
Bob and Mira Graves, that's who.
Like many of their generation, Bob, now 93, and Mira, now 90, had the simplest of ceremonies when they eloped to Reno in 1942, just before Bob shipped off to war.
Now, though, thanks to the generosity of the staff at Antioch's Quail Lodge Retirement Home and numerous East Bay wedding vendors, Bob and Mira now have the big wedding to match their wonderful marriage.
And, finally, they have the pictures to prove it. Which is only fitting because it was a lack of a wedding photo that started the cascade of events.
When Quail Lodge's activities director, Jennifer Noble, was planning this year's Valentine's Day celebration, she decided to make Bob and Mira, who had moved into the community just the month before, king and queen of the festivities.
"So I said, if you are going to be king and queen, I need a copy of your wedding photo," Jennifer told the couple. "Mira said we don't have one. Then she told me the story."
Mira told Jennifer how, in January 1942, Bob and Mira volunteered to go with friends to Reno to be witnesses for their wedding. Although Bob and Mira had only been dating for a few months, they decided at the last moment to get married themselves.
There were no flowers, no cake, and no photographer.
"Nothing," Mira said, "just the judge standing there, we're standing here, and I think his secretary came in to be our witness."
Seventy-two years of loving marriage followed without either of them wishing it had gone differently.
"No," Bob said, "never thought about it for a moment. Ever."
Still, Jennifer thought about it. She thought that people who had done everything right in marriage, ought to have at least a picture to show for it.
To get them that picture, though, she had to give them a wedding.
"I asked Bob, 'Do you want to get married again?'" Jennifer said. Bob said yes, and Jennifer was off and running. Her first call was to Susanne Larson, owner of His and Hers Formal Wear in Brentwood.
"She almost jumped through the phone," Jennifer said. "We hung up and she called me back five times. Bang. Bang. Bang. Do the have a cake? Do they have a photographer? It just exploded into this thing."
Susanne not only offered up a gown for Mira and a tux for Bob, she quickly corralled other wedding vendors in Brentwood and Antioch to donate their services for the couple's wedding on Valentine's Day. Close to $10,000 worth of cake, flowers, music, and pictures were donated to make Bob and Mira's second wedding special.
"It does my heart good to know there are so many out there in the business world with good hearts," Susanne said.
So, with nerves at a record low, and emotions high, Bob and Mira renewed their vows in Quail Lodge's common area this past Valentine's Day, surrounded by friends and family, including their two sons.
They also finally got their wedding photo.