On a cold, cloudy Saturday in mid-January, Jerry Johnson married Debbie Moore, both of Benicia, at an unusual venue—on the plaza outside the Treasury Commons building on First Street. Amid a crowd of friends, family and onlookers, and the amazing Alberto family, who owns Java Point Café, plus folks who work in the building, Jerry and Debbie said, “I do.”
The couple has a rather unusual story. Jerry, 76, is retired, and a long-time member of a group that calls themselves the “Coffee Klutch,” consisting of 7-10 local men who sit outside at Java Point Café each morning and discuss local, U.S. and world issues over coffee. The group has been meeting there for over ten years.
Jerry and Debbie’s story is one of a whirlwind courtship that thrilled loved ones. Jerry was sitting outside at Lucca Bar and Grill, and noticed Debbie, 62, an avid walker who works at Lindsay Art Glass, walk by. He hailed her and invited her to join him. That quickly led to Debbie joining the coffee group, which led, just six weeks later, to getting married at the place where they had fallen in love. “She was interested in my ‘young at heart’ outlook, Jerry said. “It just morphed into a wedding here at Java Point—the courtship was short, sweet and fast, I wanted to enjoy my remaining years.”
Debbie’s daughter Jessica Perkins said, “I think it’s great! They are both really happy, and what’s not wonderful about being happy?” Shortly before the impromptu outdoor ceremony, friends and family scurried about to make the quiet wedding special. Jerry’s daughter, who lives in Colorado, found out on a Thursday that her dad was getting married on Saturday. She quickly arranged for herself and her son to fly to California to be present at the ceremony. The plaza’s entrance was adorned with flowers and when Debbie walked down the “aisle,” the walkway next to Java Point, someone played Pachelbel’s “Cannon in D” on their cell phone. The bride was beautiful, arriving with a small bouquet of flowers wearing a sleeveless off-white dress, while the stately Jerry, adorned in a long sleeve shirt and tie, waited with tears in his eyes.
If that doesn’t say “romance,” I don’t know what does. Everything just unfolded naturally and fell into place. There wasn’t a dry-eye around, including mine, and I had just met the couple. It was the exact opposite of a traditional wedding extravaganza—unscripted, sweet and sincere. After the ceremony, Debbie said she was “excited,” and Jerry stated that he felt wonderful. “I wasn’t expecting all this, he said. But Debbie was NOT going to be the one that got away.”