Saturday, September 26, 2009


Last night Paul and Missy got married, with a wedding at the Church of St. Joseph and the reception at the college's new conference center. The rehearsal dinner was the night before under a tent on Kevin and Amy's patio, which had been the dance floor for our wedding reception a little over a year before. Paul has spent the year building a log cabin on some property "up north" that belongs to Kevin and Amy, and over the summer Kevin and Paul have spent many days doing some of the major finishing work, with Amy coming up most weekends and helping with the staining and painting. Missy has spent the year finishing up her physician's assistant degree, traveling back and forth to Philadelphia where she's getting the degree, and Minnesota where she's done most of her "residency" rotations.

Paul is among the oldest of the grandchildren, in the first batch that include Steve's three daughters and a little later, Tim and Annie's two daughters. Then there's a big gap before the two pre-teens and the large group of kids 8 and under, including three babies in the last three years.

On the farm, it feels like the end of one era and the beginning of the next. Paul was the most engaged child on the farm, and grew up digging holes and building forts. In high school, Steve said, he quit organized sports because, he told his mom, "Practice takes up so much time, I don't have time for my projects." Paul leaves behind a spotless and well-equiped shop, and here and there remnants of old forts and building projects, including the bare pad on which he built the foundation of the log cabin, before unstacking the logs and carting them up to the lake property.

It was a very nice wedding, rather low-key and lovely, simple and relaxed. It was a little surreal to sit in the pew as the wedding unfolded, when just 14 months ago I was the bride. Last year, I'd only been in that church a few times, but now I go every week and know where to sit and where not to sit so as to avoid sitting behind the pillars. The beauty of the Mass is that it is always more or less the same, and so I had this strange other-side view of my own wedding. Missy wore a traditional white dress, and Paul wore his grandfather's wedding suit, but there they were in the chairs where we'd sat, holding hands and enjoying the Mass which for me last year seemed to go very, very fast.

Afterwards there was the visiting at the reception, with people I've known one year longer, and children who recognize me as family now, and the usual ups and downs of DJs. We didn't stay until the end, and so missed both the "dollar dance" (not a great tradition) and also the whole group gathering on the dance floor in a circle and holding hands for a rather tongue-in-cheek singing of Kumbaya-- now that, I would have liked to see. But we did a little dancing, and a little drinking, and got Missy and Paul married.

It is autumn, and the cycles of life feel very close, rich, and eternal.

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