Where a story begins

Remarks made by the father of the bride at a 2009 Columbus Day weekend wedding.

When I say that each one of you has journeyed a long way to come here today, I don’t necessarily refer to physical distance.  Of course, some of you have traveled a long way:  some have come from Florida, some from Cuba, some from England.  Others have journeyed from Iran, and from Galicia, that Celtic region on the northwest coast of Spain.  And there are those who have traveled from that far-off exotic land known as Pennsylvania.  Each one of you has made a conscious decision to meld your story into this story, the one we are celebrating today.

Where does a story begin?

It begins thirty-four years ago when a young man steps off a bus in a small village on the northwest coast of Spain, and a young woman emerges from the shadows of a doorway to meet him; and they walk arm in arm down a rain-drenched cobblestone street underneath an umbrella.

Where does a story begin?

It begins twenty-seven years ago when, after a month of working 100-hour weeks in the hospital, coming home only to eat and sleep, a man hears his wife tell him that she’s going to have a baby; and the only regret the husband has is that somehow he can’t seem to remember the moment of conception.

Where does a story begin?

It begins nine years ago when a father wakens his 18-year-old daughter before first light and the two of them drive six hours to visit a college nestled in the farmland of central Pennsylvania; when, after viewing the campus, the daughter says, “Dad, I think this might be the place for me.”

Where does a story begin?

It begins one year ago when a slightly anxious young woman accepts an offer by a slightly nervous young man to enter in to a partnership to try to make something good together in this life.

Fall is the best time of year, when the leaves show their true colors and drift down to blanket our roads and our pathways.  Fall is the best time of year, when the air turns crisp and the fields turn golden brown; and the apples are red and ripe and ready for picking.  And despite what the common folk might say, fall is the best time of year for a wedding, because of all the seasons it is the most poetic.

Yesterday the rain was falling.  A woman at work told me to hang a rosary on every window of our house to ward off the rain.  I didn’t take her up on the suggestion.

But earlier today, when I stood before the mirror to fasten the tie around my neck and tug at the edge of my vest, I noticed the raindrops on the window pane.  Two drops quivered next to one another, uncertain of their fate.  Then they melded into one and flowed effortlessly down the glass.

Like raindrops on a window, like rivulets in a brook that eventually make their way to the sea, our stories flow into one another until they become that one universal story that is told over and over, again and again.  In the end it doesn’t really matter whether you hail from Pennsylvania or Florida, Cuba or England, Iran or Spain—the story is the same.

Where does a story begin?

The answer is simple:  it begins here, it begins now.  For now is the moment when nothing remains of yesterday’s rain but an opening in the sky, a patch of blue and the promise of a new story—perhaps a poem—which my daughter and my son-in-law stand poised, ready to write together.

3 comments on “Where a story begins

  1. Ken Kendall says:

    You are so right. Marriage is a story they will write together. I pray that theirs will be a good one.

  2. Art says:

    Great job putting that together. A new beginning from all the past stories coming together at that time and place – and continuing anew.

  3. ~ t says:

    I wondered when you’d write this piece, and what form it would take, considering the wealth of experience(s)from which to choose. No daughter ever got a better “sendoff” than yours for her own “momentous moment”, proving yet again why you were in the “smart class” …….

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