An Anniversary a Year Keeps the Marriage _______ Wednesday, May 28 2014 

Let’s nominate all the words that rhyme with year to fill in the blank:

keeps the marriage cheer?
keeps the marriage clear?
keeps the marriage dear?
keeps the marriage drear? (No, not this one)
keeps the marriage fear? (Not this one, either)
keeps the marriage freer ?(not a fan of slant rhyme)
keeps the marriage here?
keeps the marriage jeer? (absolutely not this one)
keeps the marriage leer?
keeps the marriage mere? (this one makes no sense)
keeps the marriage near?
keeps the marriage queer? (uh, no)
keeps the marriage rear?
keeps the marriage sphere?
keeps the marriage steer?
keeps the marriage tier?

This evening 37 years ago started something that's not finished yet!

This evening 37 years ago started something that’s not finished yet!

I don’t like any of them, really. This exercise points out one of the limitations of rhymed verse: When finding a word to rhyme becomes the poet’s greatest concern, he is distracted from his main poetical business, e.g. to ascribe meaning to his ideas.

So let’s free up the verse and simplify the anniversary blessing:

“Happy anniversary to us! We celebrate this day 37 years hence, blessed that romance yet stirs in the mild May moonlight!”

How to marry your daughter off without giving her away Thursday, May 22 2014 

Some conventions and traditions of marriage and ceremonies are OK, but some of them are pretty stale, too. All week preceding the wedding, I thought mightily about that moment the pastor was going to ask me “Who gives this bride in marriage?” and how I could answer it in a more original and interesting way than “Her mother and I.”

By rehearsal night, the fount of invention was still dry, though. I had nothing. For a lark, and since everybody was laid back and having a good time, I quipped my reply to the pastor’s question: “She’s over 21; she can do what she wants.” Of course, I never thought that would be the right thing to say in the ceremony. Since no better idea had come along, I had resigned to the idea of answering with the cliché, “Her mother and I.”

Mr. and Mrs.: She's Brandon's wife, but we never gave her away.  She'll always be our little girl.

Mr. and Mrs.: She’s Brandon’s wife, but we never gave her away. But she does stand affirmed!

No more than 30 minutes before the ceremony, though, brother-in-law Bob, who’s a pastor and who’s also married off two daughters, told me how he had answered that question without giving his girls away. He said he affirmed their choice and commitment to the marriage of their respective spouses, and as a result, he never gave them away! He was proud to say that!

I’m sure Bob didn’t share that as a suggestion for me. In those moments before the ceremony, we were just making small-talk. But I found that idea captivating, so I retreated from the mingling crowd for a few moments to gather some thoughts and compose a draft in my head of how I would respond.

The moment in time came as we stood before the altar. The pastor asked, “Who gives this bride in marriage?” I responded, “Pastor, her mother and I affirm this union as evidence of God’s plan for hers and Brandon’s lives. Please marry them, with our blessing.”

My word-for-word recall is a little uncertain, but it was pretty close to that. And now I can declare, as my brother-in-law, that we married her off, but we never gave her away!

Wedding Week Journal Day 7: An evening in the mild May moonlight! Monday, May 19 2014 

No two halves of any day of my life were as contrasting as the two halves of this day, if we figure that half one was from early morning until mid-afternoon and half two from mid-afternoon until midnight. Hours of the first half groaned by in tedium and strained anticipation; hours of the second half raced by in unsurpassable

Ann Christian: The star of the day!

Ann Christian: The star of the day!

moments of happiness, friendship, celebration, laughter, and every other species of goodwill imaginable.
A simple but elegant ceremony.

A simple but elegant ceremony.

Highlights of the day? A list . . .

* Going for boudin for my family and the Kuhn family. We enjoyed introducing our Kansans to South Louisiana all weekend long. They are awesome folk.
* Going for a bike ride after lunch with Trisha and Zach to kill time as we waited for the painstaking passage of time.
* Watching Miss Payton Priss pose in her flower girl dress–She was feeling it all night long.

No one was more impressed with the flower girl than the flower girl herself.  She was a princess all night long.

No one was more impressed with the flower girl than the flower girl herself. She was a princess all night long.


* Beholding the mother-of-the-bride in her MOB dress for the first time: In front of the kids, I told her something like, “Hey, baby, when this gig’s over, you comin’ home with me!” She was more than beautiful.
* Of course, beholding my little bride for the first time in her wedding dress when we got to the church for the pre-ceremony pictures.
* Hanging out with my brother and sisters and their families before the wedding.
* Hanging out in the foyer and meeting friends and family as they arrived for the ceremony.
* Telling Ann stupid jokes to make her laugh and relax as we got ready to walk down the aisle–Don’t know if I did any good or not, but she did make it all the way to the altar without fainting!
* Watching the expressions on family’s and friends’ faces as we processed into the church.
* The music: Oh, the music! Connie, Jan, Dwight, Pat, David and Arien–they were awesome!
* The magical reception: Memorable moments during those hours are too crowded and stacked and jumbled into my recall to make a coherent list! I never had more fun in all my “daze.”
* The “father of the bride” speech where I shared “Boo Bear on Skates” and other memories to grace the bride and her groom on their finest night out.
* Right after we got home late that night, Zach and Trisha extended the euphoria of the night as they became
The night was magical!

The night was magical!

officially engaged in our backyard “happy place” with torches glowing romance in the mild May moonlight!

Engagement ringI will probably come back to this post with updates and additions for days to come as recall flashes back from memory to memory. Looking over the day in retrospect, we were surrounded by a host of family and friends who helped us to celebrate this awesome moment in time. We are truly blessed.

Wedding Week Journal: Day 6–Here comes the Kansans! Friday, May 16 2014 

We started day 6 with a delivery run to the site of the reception at Dr. Todd and Karen Pullin’s house. We found the grounds lush, shaded by verdant Live Oak branches forming a thick, green canopy over the grounds. The weather is going to be just about perfect for this time of year.

After lunch, we met the groom’s parents for the first time and realized how/why Brandon and Ann fell in love: they are awesome people, so easy to befriend. No wonder that our kids would be attracted to one another!

We practiced getting it right.

We practiced getting it right.

Later, rehearsal, presided over by Pastor Tim, and then on to the rehearsal supper hosted by the Kuhns. We enjoyed watching the Kansans chow down on crawfish etoufee and other specialties of this very country Cajun restaurant.

After the public party ended, we gathered with Ann, Zach, Trisha, and Payton in the Happy Place for candle light repartee on this gorgeous spring evening. Family is best. All seems well with the world as the day ended

Sarah takes a break this morning from planning at the lush grounds of the reception.

Sarah takes a break this morning from planning at the lush grounds of the reception.

, as we are richly blessed.

Wedding Week Journal: Day 5–Here comes the bride and groom! Thursday, May 15 2014 

Day 5 started off like days 2 and 3 and 4–more washing and cleaning vehicles and fences, but by the end of the day the wedding couple made their arrival. We had the first of several wedding-week feasts with a grillout on the patio.

Brandon's first crawfish catch.

Brandon’s first crawfish catch.

After dark, Brandon the Kansan wanted to catch a crawfish, so he and Ann took a flashlight and a string with a piece of bacon down the street to an empty lot covered with crawfish holes and, sure enough, dragged in little white crawfish.
The veil Sarah wore 37 years ago at our wedding, adorning the front door and signifying to the neighborhood that a wedding's about to happen!

The veil Sarah wore 37 years ago at our wedding, adorning the front door and signifying to the neighborhood that a wedding’s about to happen!

A real highlight of the day was Linzay’s delivery of Sarah’s wedding veil for adorning the front door to honor the wedding party’s arrival and to signify the happy occasion going on in this household this weekend. That was a pretty classy idea our wedding consultant found for us–Sarah’s post on Facebook fetched rave reviews. Look closely at the photo and see the bride and groom’s reflection in the glass of the door: Things are getting romantic over here.

Wedding Week Journal: Day 4 Wednesday, May 14 2014 

Gettin’ ready for company

That seems like all we do. After all of Sarah’s vacuuming and mopping since yesterday, I contributed to the effort with a clean bathroom on the guest end of the house after mowing and trimming the back yard.

Who knows what strangers and guests will come this way between now and Saturday? Regardless, come whom or what may, bathrooms are fresh and clean. The Wisteria is lush and trim. The yard is mowed and neatly edged.

More of the same tomorrow, including car washing. Who wants to attend a wedding in a dirty car?photo-33

Wedding Week Journal: Day 3–The Clean Before the Storm Tuesday, May 13 2014 

Before the week began, I imagined and envisioned exciting days of preparation, adventure, and romance. Wrong.

Stripping beds and vacuuming floors: No romance this day of wedding week.

Stripping beds and vacuuming floors: No romance this day of wedding week.

Today was partly a day of running frantic errands of preparation (for the mother of the bride–I was stuck in the office all day), but mainly it was a day of sweeping and vacuuming and changing beds in preparation for company. The wedding couple is still in North Carolina tending career business, but no real news from that front.

So we carry on, with vacuum, washer and drier, brooms and mops: the clean before the storm.

Wedding Week Journal: Day 2 Monday, May 12 2014 

Monday is usually a day of lament, but this one got off on a better foot, knowing that the work week will be shortened by a couple of days at the end with some annual leave stored up to prepare for W-Day. We’re feeling some excitement as we consider this last set of weekdays before the fireworks.

Otherwise, and wedding-wise, this wasn’t a big day. Ann and Brandon flew off to North Carolina for the Fleet Feet corporate recruiting event, the results of which may make bigger news later this week or later this summer–not really sure.

Ann FB’ed this picture of her ID tag on her new luggage–Seems she’s jumping the gun on the wedding and declared herself Mrs. Kuhn already, or at least practically. How sweet to be so young, innocent, and in love!

Who needs a wedding to change a girl's name?  All she needs is a Sharpie!

Who needs a wedding to change a girl’s name? All she needs is a Sharpie!

Wedding Week Diary: Day 1 Sunday, May 11 2014 

It’s no secret: Daughter Ann gets hitched Saturday night. Let’s blog it!

The first thing we’re worried about for the wedding is the weather. The ceremony is safely inside the church, but the reception is planned for out of doors. For weeks, we’ve prayed for good weather!

So guess what? The weekend forecast looks awesome. A front mid-week will keep conditions dry and cool through the weekend. Ann got away with planning an outdoor reception!

This first day of wedding week is also Mother’s Day. We had a rich time in Covington yesterday with MaMaw Pulling. This evening, we enjoyed the Suires’ hospitality south of Crowley and confirmed that God blessed us (the Suires and the Pullings) with bright, talented kids. We see God’s work in our kids’

Perfect May weather for an outdoor reception!  May the prognostication hold true!

Perfect May weather for an outdoor reception! May the prognostication hold true!

lives and pray the best for them.

A Final Lament Tuesday, May 6 2014 

Finals are final, that's for sure!

Finals are final, that’s for sure!

The Final Lament
On the occasion of final exams for English 1002, Section 10

One by one.
They finish, submit, exit.
The last three exact every minute of time allotted
for the final exam.
Watching them pore over screen and keyboard evokes excitement,
like watching grass grow—
slow—

but watching grass grow is better
because grass grows outside,
not in,
outside where spring breeze hangs out with sunshine,
with graywhite clouds drifting in blue heaven’s foreground,
not inside where nothing grows
but heavy minutes into distraction,
mounting hours into boredom,
(and yes also, a stack of essays to be graded!)
Hence, I invent this idle verse,
a memorial to auld lang syne.

Ere auld existence be forgot
and daze of Spring ’14.
A final lament.

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