June 24, 2010 in City

Media hype draws tons of help to bring recycling couple to altar

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Dan Pelle photo

Andrea Parrish and Peter Geyer’s effort to collect enough aluminum cans to raise money for their wedding has made a pile in their northeast Spokane home’s backyard that has reached the roof line.
(Full-size photo)

Took a drive Tuesday to gaze upon the North Side’s largest unnatural landmark.

Mount Spo-Can, you could call it.

Or the Matrimonial Mound of Diamond Avenue.

I parked my Vista Cruiser in front of a modest cream-colored home with green trim.

“Ready to see our pile?” asked Andrea Parrish, who led me behind the house she shares with her fiancé, Peter Geyer.

There it was: A mountain of plastic bags filled with used cans, heaped all the way up to the roofline.

Lordy. So that’s what 2,200 pounds worth of recyclable aluminum looks like.

“Somewhere under there is a very beautiful deck,” observed Parrish.

Geyer scampered up Trash Hill like a bearded squirrel monkey. He perched on a patch of shingles and grinned down at us. Parrish jumped gleefully onto one of the first-level bags, which made a loud “CRUNCH” when she landed.

Pete and Andrea have reason to be happy.

The 73,000 empties, which are to be hauled away this morning by United Recycling Services, represent the final ton needed for Parrish and Geyer to meet their quirky wedding can quest.

“We’re blown away, excited and humbled,” said Parrish of their victory.

I broke the story of the Can-Do couple in January.

Parrish and Geyer told me they were attempting to recycle enough aluminum to pay for their $3,800 medieval-themed July 31 wedding. With aluminum prices hovering around 38 cents per pound, they needed about 400,000 cans to get the job done.

They set up a website and had the highest of expectations.

“I have an overblown sense of capability,” admitted Parrish.

Still, they had amassed only 18,441 cans, which put them at just 4 percent of their goal.

But then something weirdly wonderful happened.

My column got picked up by the Associated Press and beamed everywhere. It caught the fancy of radio commentators and TV news rip-and-readers.

More importantly, however, the story grabbed the attention of big wheels at Alcoa Inc. Adopting Parrish and Geyer as their recycling poster kids, Alcoa donated 150,000 cans to the cause and set them up with dozens of media interviews, which spread the word even further.

So it looks like we’re headed for a blissful ending.

Not only did Parrish and Geyer get enough cans, but they have also found a wedding location to replace the privately owned castle in Hope, Idaho. That latter site fell through due to an impasse with the castle’s owner.

The Geyer-Parrish nuptials will now be held at Spokane’s Corbin Art Center, where Parrish still plans to toss her bridal bouquet via a “ye olde” catapult device. The couple is active in the Empire of Adria, a local club dedicated to the re-creation of medieval lore and lifestyles.

And speaking of joyful conclusions, I’m pretty sure the neighbors who live on either side of the Geyer/Parrish manor will be really, really pleased at NOT having to look at all those bags of cans anymore.

Parrish laughed. “I think our neighbors figured out we were not the usual neighbors when we ripped out the front yard for a (vegetable) garden.”

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@spokesman.com.


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