Snapshots by Gloria Freeland - June 10, 2004

Wedding wishes and memories

While my sister, our girls and I went to see the latest "Harry Potter" film Friday, Art took Mom, Uncle Stan and Aunt Kay to Salina. My nephew Michael was getting married the next day and they wanted to be present for the rehearsal and the dinner which followed. That night, after they returned, Art related how after the meal Michael and Kristina had played something his brother Paul had dubbed "The Nearly Wed Game." Each had to answer questions about what they knew about each other, and Art was surprised how well their answers matched. It was a good sign, he thought.

On Saturday, all of us - Michael and Kristina's aunts, uncles, parents, grandparents and family friends - remembered them as little children and wondered where the years have gone.

When we witnessed their vows on Saturday, those of us in the church could feel their love and commitment to each other.

That evening, after we returned home, Art wondered aloud, "I wonder what was the first wedding I attended?"

I immediately thought of my first one. I don't remember much about it as I was not quite 3. I was to be the flower girl at a family friend's marriage and during rehearsal, rather than dropping petals from the basket as I was supposed to do, I followed the little ring bearer around the church. The bride decided I was too young for that assignment, but Mom photographed me in the blue dress carrying the basket anyway.

But even before Saturday, I'd been thinking of marriage a lot. Maybe it's because Art and I were married 16 years ago next month. We had planned to be married on New Year's Eve, but had to shift gears to make it a summer wedding instead. My sister had arrived home from Bolivia in June announcing that she was pregnant and due in early January. She wouldn't be able to return for our winter wedding.

I HAD to have my sister at our wedding! We sprang into action - getting the marriage license, finding a place for the reception, asking friends to participate, sending invitations, ordering flowers and doing all the other planning to get married six weeks later. My former boss said it was the first time he'd ever been to a wedding where the bride had to get married because her sister was pregnant!

Or maybe I've been thinking of weddings because I was planning my first one 25 years ago. Silver anniversaries somehow seem to stand out among the milestones of life. I won't be able to celebrate my 25th anniversary because Jerome died after we'd been married only six years, but when Sept. 8 comes around, I know I'll imagine what it would have been like to be married to someone for that long. Although high school, college and Peace Corps days seem like many lifetimes ago, memories of my life as a young wife seem not that long ago.

Michael wasn't even born when Jerome and I got married. He came along two weeks later, but I didn't see him until he was eight months old because Jerome and I moved back to Costa Rica shortly after our wedding.

My favorite memories of Michael and Paul are of them on Mom and Dad's farm - playing with the cats and Copper, the beagle, and running around outside. When Michael was just a toddler, I put him on my shoulders and took him on a "tour" of the farm - to the north field where the trees formed a protective hedge against the wind, along the west side of the barn, down to the south field where my grandparents had a huge garden when I was growing up.

Both the boys enjoyed shooting cans with their Dad's old BB gun, too, much to their mother's chagrin.

"You're going to shoot your eye out!" Whether she actually said it out loud, I don't remember, but it seems to be the admonition of all moms.

Saturday Paul was at Michael's side as his best man as Michael had been for Paul three years ago. Paul's reception wish for Michael was that each year be better than the one before. He said he and his wife Rachel have found it to be so.

May Michael and Kristina look back in 25 years and feel that Paul's wish came true.

Upper left, Ring bearer and I as flower girl at Karen Slater´┐Żs wedding.
Lower left, Michael perfecting his BB-gun skills while mother Linda and
brother Paul look on. Right, June 5, 2004: Kristina von Fange and
Michael Freeland cut their wedding cake.

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