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Township Roads

Fri, Oct 4th, 2002
Posted in Columnists

I have noticed that a lot of people I know are married. My wife and I are married. Her parents are married. So are mine. Most of our aunts and uncles are married. Most of our friends are married. People we know who were married quite a while ago and who had kids are now seeing their kids getting married. Some people we know have even gotten married twice. I see a trend here.Actually being married doesnt seem to have the same dramatic effect as getting married. In other words, married life together is usually not newsworthy while the wedding itself is generally quite a big deal. I was thinking about this recently after having been honored with an invitation to a friends daughters wedding. The wedding was in a church on a Sunday morning during the usual worship time. There was little indication that there was a wedding going on at all except that the preacher spoke about being married during his sermon. Finally, at the very end of the service, the bride and groom stood up and within about two minutes, made their promises and sat down. It was all very dignified, solemn, and important. The only other wedding that came close to this one, as far as being simple and solemn, was that of my cousin, Jane. Jane is a no-nonsense kind of girl who, in my judgment, is just about as bright and as silly as a person can be. She knew what she wanted in a husband and in a wedding. As I recall, she made lots of people happy by having her wedding in a church, although I suspect she would have enjoyed eloping, too. I believe she wore our grandmothers wedding dress and I thought she looked pretty good in it, considering it was an old dress. Had Grandma been married in denim coveralls with buttons, I think Jane would have worn that for her wedding, too. Thats the thing with Jane. Its the idea that counts, not how it actually plays out. When all was said and done, Jane walked down the aisle, joined hands with Ed, and in less than ten minutes they were on their way out. It was a warm summer day and the ten-minute service made a lot of people happy, too. Janes wedding occurred over thirty years ago and she hasnt needed another one, so I guess her approach worked just fine.Ive never been to theme wedding involving skydiving, horseback riding, motorcycling, being underwater, or anything like that. I have been to a few that were held outside. They all seem to have their own sense of drama about them. You never know when someone is going to catch her high heel in a mole tunnel and go tumbling off the slope.In the rural township where I grew up, the festivities began with the customary gift shower for the bride and groom. Friends and neighbors crowded into the town hall, site for many an election and 4-H meeting, to watch the couple open each gift and thank each giver personally. The gift opening ended with a short speech by the native son or daughter introducing the "outsider", if he or she was marrying someone from outside the neighborhood. That was usually the case. My wife and I enjoyed one of these showers when we were married. In one case, when I was a kid, a gift shower took on a life of its own completely outside the norm. I dont remember in whose honor the shower occurred or what special place they held in our small community. Although most showers occurred without a program, this one developed into a full-fledged spectacle. I was about seven years old and I found myself at the center of it. Someone had decided to put on a skit mocking the wedding process. I was elected to play the blushing bride probably because I was the youngest, was big for my age, fit into the wedding dress, and was ham enough to do it. We had a mock minister, a bogus best man, and a real flower girl who spread alfalfa blossoms on the dusty floor of the town hall. We were a real hit with the crowd. It was my mothers job to record all this on film. Perhaps lucky for me, she could never manage to adjust her glasses to see through the viewfinder properly. The only thing that got on the film was the very top of my veil. My career as a bride ended there.My career as a groom was considerably more dignified. My wife, Deb, and I were married on a hot Saturday evening in May. Fred, the organist, lost track of time and played a tune called "Largo" about two hundred times before the service began. I was standing with the minister off to one side. I heard the minister cuss under his breath as he ineffectually urged Fred to look at his clock and get on with it. Maybe his feet hurt as much as mine did. Our wedding took considerably longer than ten minutes, but we were Missouri Synod Lutherans at that time and we were taught that any service shorter than an hour was not worth opening the doors for. Im sure that people in the congregation were sitting there thinking, "This will never last." They say that at all weddings. That was over twenty-two years ago and were still holding on. The memory of our wedding works as a bond to keep us together. Even now, every time we hear the tune "Largo" my wife and I look at each other and remember our wedding. Moreover, we fondly recall the moving words of the minister that have helped cement our relationship over the years. He said, "Come on, Fred, get on with it." Words to live by.

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