Much Ado About Laura and Tom Parkhill

Tom Parkhill, founder of the Tennessee Stage Company, on the day of his wedding to lovely-in-lavender Laura Regis.

On the day of their wedding, Tom Parkhill, founder of the Tennessee Stage Company, and his lovely-in-lavender bride Laura Regis holding a single iris grown by Tom’s father.

On Saturday, April 23, my photographer husband Kurt and I were ever-so-fortunate to capture love at its most rapturous when our friend Tom Parkhill married the love of his life, Laura Regis.

Yes, gentle blog readers, you heard me right: My adorable friend Tom, featured in two previous blogposts (urls shown below), has most sincerely and beautifully tied the knot with his lovely lady Laura:

https://foundobjectscreative.com/2016/01/24/graces-son-tom-parkhill/

https://foundobjectscreative.com/2014/07/02/stage-left-with-americas-finest-character-actress-dale-dickey/

To those of you who have not read my earlier posts, I have known Tom since I was a small girl. Our parents were friends, and my first memory of Tom is how he would pester us when my sister Lisa and I played Barbies with his sister, Beth. During elementary and high school, Tom and I were in the same grade and graduated together from South High in Knoxville. Teachers and students alike knew Tom was a gifted dramatic and comic actor as he starred in most of the school plays.

The Tennessee Stage Company presenting the iconic three witches in Macbeth.

The Tennessee Stage Company presenting the iconic three witches in Shakespeare’s play “Macbeth”.

But after high school, Tom was that rare actor that made a living following his bliss. Not only did he have a successful acting career, but he came back to his hometown and founded the Tennessee Stage Company.

Since 1989, Tom and his theatre company have provided local actors and audiences an avenue to enjoy plays offered in unconventional settings such as Shakespeare in the Park and Shakespeare on the Square which is mounted in Knoxville’s downtown Market Square each summer. You’ve got to love a professional theatre group whose motto is: “Elvis is our co-pilot.”

https://tennesseestage.com/home/about-us-3/

Tom Parkhill as Elwood P. Dowd with Harvey, his 6-foot, 3-inch tall invisible best friend.

The portrait of Tom as Elwood P. Dowd used as a prop in the play “Harvey” which is also the name of his 6-foot, 3.5-inch-tall, invisible best friend.

Witty, self-deprecating, eccentric, and intensely private, Tom has seemingly floated through life inspiring his friends and fellow theatre folk alike to suffer from an intense lack of the proper adjectives to describe him.

It seemed like typecasting when a year or so ago he played Elwood P. Dowd, the role made famous by Jimmy Stewart in the 1950 movie “Harvey”. Throughout his life, Tom has always been very much and ever-s0-magically Tom, but he had never found the right “Jane” to his “Tarzan”.

As in the great bard’s romantic comedies, the plot thickened and love would have its way. During one of Tom’s Shakespeare on the Square events, he met Laura, a petite brunette full of energy and that certain unmistakable pizzazz that makes life sing. Smitten, Tom wrote her a letter asking her to go out with him. Having been disappointed a few times by love, Laura was gunshy, and her daughter Victoria advised her never to date “because, Mom, you are just too complicated”.

Most of the wedding party for Laura and Tom's wedding which shared Knoxville's downtown Market Square with our city's 15th annual Rossini Festival.

Most of the wedding party for Laura and Tom’s wedding, which shared Knoxville’s downtown Market Square with the thousands of people celebrating the city’s 15th annual Rossini Festival.

However, being a modern woman and intrigued by his kind letter, Laura decided to Google her would-be suitor to get more information. Online she found my blogpost featuring a photo of Tom with his friend and fellow, from-Knoxville-thespian, the award-winning stage and screen actress Dale Dickey. In the post, I mentioned Tom in affectionate and glowing terms–and in the photo Tom looked so endearingly sweet, she decided to go out with him.

Hijinks during the wedding as Tom and Laura loudly and emphatically answered, "I do!" Tom's father, Tom Sr., is shown in the blue suit on the left.

Hijinks ensued during the wedding as Tom and Laura loudly and emphatically answered, “I do!” Tom III’s father, Tom Jr., is shown in the blue suit on the left.

The rest, as they say, is history! Their chemistry was palpable; their love was undeniable; so on Market Square in Knoxville, where they first met, they were married by Laura’s pastor last Saturday, April 23.

As it happened on the square that day, Tom and Laura were surrounded by a small group of friends and family–as well as a few of the thousands of people who were expected in downtown Knoxville for a celebration of all things Italian at our city’s 15th annual Rossini Festival.

Laura was dressed in a lavender-colored, sleeveless v-neck dress with lace overlay. She carried a single purple iris grown by Tom’s father, Tom Parkhill Jr. (the groom is actually Tom Parkhill the third) the internationally recognized and award-winning iris grower and hybridizer who was featured in an article about his amazing iris-related accomplishments in the Knoxville paper three years ago.

http://www.knoxnews.com/entertainment/life/sixty-years-of-raising-iris-lead-tom-parkhill-to-top-recognition-by-american-iris-society-ep-3582608-355843231.html

The wedding's photographer, my husband Kurt Weiss, yours truly, Tom, and Laura just after the wedding.

The wedding photographer, my husband Kurt, yours truly, Tom, and Laura at the wedding.

Tom’s father was led to his abiding interest in what he calls “the finest flower on earth” by his late wife Grace’s love for irises. It was perfectly fitting that Tom’s mother’s favorite flower–grown by his father–should be the flower carried by his bride.

As belly dancers gyrated on the stage of Market Square and their music pulsed from the loudspeakers near the wedding party, curious onlookers decided they had happened upon the ultimate Rossini anecdote: a wedding in progress. And so it was. But the joyous wedding continued with its serendipitous perfection.

Laura's son James and her daughter Victoria, Laura and Tom at the wedding.

The happy wedding family: Laura’s son James and daughter Victoria, Tom Jr., Laura, & Tom III.

Laura’s jubiliantly smiling daughter, Victoria, spoke of her disregarded advice to her mother about not dating, then read apt lines from Jane Austen’s romance novels followed by Laura’s son, James’s reading of a sonnet from Shakespeare. The pastor read appropriate passages from the Bible followed by the vows and rings. He said richer, poorer; sickness, health, forsaking all others–then he proclaimed them: Mr. and Mrs. Tom Parkhill! Our own Laura and Tom!

Radiant Laura and Tom kiss just after they cut the cake.

Radiant Laura and Tom kiss just after they cut the cake.

Two people were never more in love than Laura and Tom. I know, many have loved–maybe as much as–but never more than this deliriously happy couple! When you wait for your life’s partner a good chunk of your adult life, the taste, smell, and glorious abandon of love is all the sweeter. And so it is for Tom and his Laura.

In the middle of the Rossini Festival’s carnival atmosphere, the small wedding party walked together across the square to the Tupelo Honey Cafe for brunch followed by a delicious German chocolate cake made by one of Laura’s dear friends.

After Tom and Laura cut the cake, Laura shared the story of the wedding ring she wore on her finger. When Tom was a young man, his beloved mother Grace set aside a beautifully appointed, family heirloom ring for Tom to present to the woman he would like to marry. Grace passed away last year, just a few months after Tom and Laura began dating.

Laura wearing the family heirloom engagement ring holding Tom's hand.

Laura wearing the family heirloom engagement ring holding Tom’s hand.

Tom’s love for Laura led to only one conclusion: he wanted to marry Laura and spend his life with her. He remembered the engagement ring his mother had so tenderly put away for this special moment. Tom’s father set upon the task of locating the ring. To their great joy, he found where Grace had put it for safekeeping years ago.

We will just need to get the ring sized to fit you, Tom said, but Laura tried it on and, to their amazement, the ring was a perfect fit–just as the couple who were so obviously made for each other: Laura and Tom Parkhill.

//Anna – 4/28/2016

 

About aamontgomery

Seeing new possibilities in everyday things
This entry was posted in Blooming, Childhood, Creativity, Happiness, Joy (Joie de General), Knoxville, Stage, The Arts, Uncategorized, Wonder, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Much Ado About Laura and Tom Parkhill

  1. Laura R Parkhill says:

    Anna – thank you so so much for the wonderfully journaled gift of your words – here and at the beginning…I am so happy, so thankful, that you and Kurt who found each other much like Tom and myself, should have played your parts…much love….laura

    ________________________________ De: found objects creative Enviado: jueves, 28 de abril de 2016 10:37 p. m. Para: jaxcat97@hotmail.com Asunto: [New post] Much Ado About Laura and Tom Parkhill

    aamontgomery posted: ” On Saturday, April 23, my photographer husband Kurt and I were ever-so-fortunate to capture love at its most rapturous when our friend Tom Parkhill married the love of his life, Laura Regis. Yes, gentle blog readers, you heard me right: My adorable”

  2. Laura R Parkhill says:

    Anna – A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in a setting of silver. Prov 25.11

    thank you so so much for the wonderfully journaled gift of your words – here and at the beginning…I am so happy, so thankful, that you and Kurt who found each other much like Tom and myself, should have played your parts…much love….laura

    ________________________________ De: found objects creative Enviado: jueves, 28 de abril de 2016 10:37 p. m. Para: jaxcat97@hotmail.com Asunto: [New post] Much Ado About Laura and Tom Parkhill

    aamontgomery posted: ” On Saturday, April 23, my photographer husband Kurt and I were ever-so-fortunate to capture love at its most rapturous when our friend Tom Parkhill married the love of his life, Laura Regis. Yes, gentle blog readers, you heard me right: My adorable”

    • aamontgomery says:

      Thank you so much for giving Kurt and me the privilege of chronicling your beautiful love story. It gives us so much joy to see your happiness! I am sorry I had a typo in the first sentence: you are the love of Tom’s “life” not the love of Tom’s “live”, but I have corrected the sentence although loving is to fully live so maybe I was not sooo far off with my word choice. Wishing you the fullness of joy and laughter and waking up each morning to another day together!!

      Yes, Kurt and I were so lucky to find each other 23 or so years ago. We are so grateful!

      Love you too!

      Anna

  3. Kurt Weiss says:

    So beautifully written and told about a wonderful love story. I feel so lucky to have been there and created some memorable photos. All the best to Laura and Tom. May you be happy.

  4. As Tom’s long-lost partner in the founding of Tennessee Stage, I got to know him very well, as we labored in dinner theater together. I haven’t seen him since 1991 but, like most people who know Tom, I kinda fell in love with his innate goodness, his wonderful parents (His Mom, Grace, used to refer to me as “my other son”, an honor I surely did NOT earn), and his warm, beautiful family home up there on the Island Home ridge. I spent some of the happiest times of my thirties with Tom, there in the semi-mystical Knoxville, a place I still dearly love. The four partners in Tennessee Stage had a falling out (some of which was my doing) and I eventually moved to Seattle…but I have always harbored that special place in my heart for Tom, Jr. and Tom III and it FILLS me with joy to find that he has married someone who obviously cherishes him and fits his life like the missing piece. Thanks for this revelation. It brings me a LOT of comfort to know that he, like me, found the love he yearned for, at a time in our lives when it means the most.

    • aamontgomery says:

      Oh my God, it is wonderful to hear from you! I did not realize Tom had three partners in the founding of Tennessee Stage Company, but you probably realize your early work has come to fruition since the company not only still exists but has thrives. And so has Tom! I too fell a bit in love with Tom’s innate goodness, as has anyone who knows him for more than 20 seconds! I would also cop to a knee-jerk affection for his dry wit and eccentric nature, which we all noticed as far back as high school. Tom and I grew up together and graduated from the same class at South High. Our parents were dear friends so I even knew him when he was annoying us as my sister and I tried to play Barbies with his older sister whose name now escapes me. My husband Kurt and I are simply thrilled that Tom found the love of his life in his 50s. It has certainly been a storybook happy ending! I’m not sure if you knew that Tom’s mother Grace passed away in 2015. Strangely my father died on exactly the same day as Tom’s mother, but a year later. Life is certainly stranger than fiction. I will share your thoughts with our adorable shared friend Tom. He is one of those amazing people who has no idea how amazing he is, which makes him all the dearer! Thanks so much for contacting me through my blog! I read your message to my sentimental husband Kurt, and your thoughts brought tears to his eyes. He too is a huge Tom fan since they were studio mates in Knoxville’s downtown Emporium Building for many years. And strangely enough my nephew Zach moved to Seattle year before last. He loves the city, and we enjoyed it when we visited him. But he is moving to Lexington in a few weeks to work on a master’s at UK. So please let us know if you are coming to Knoxville–we would love to meet you, and I’ll bet Tom would love to get caught up with you! Anna

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