Sunday, October 2, 2016

Kent and Kate Wed!

(enlarge photos by clicking on them)
What a great day!

The forecast called for 100% chance of beauty and emotion and a 50% chance of rain.

As everyone watched the bride and her father begin their walk, the first drop on the cheek was rain, not a tear.  A downpour blew through as I talked about Kent.
First Drop of Rain

What follows are the prepared remarks without the ad libs.

*  *  *  *  *


On behalf of Kent and Kate . . . thank you all for being here today.  I know they hold all of you dear in their hearts.   

We are gathered here today to consecrate, celebrate and bear witness to the marriage of Kate and Kent and the love they share.

I’m Kent’s Uncle Jeff, from across the river in Oregon. 

Of course, I’ve known Kent all of his life, but we really did not get to know each other until he after he grew up and moved out West.    

When he lived in Utah, Kent was responsible for the lives and well-being of troubled kids during week-long wilderness outings.  I saw witnessed his toughness as he fought through emotional exhaustion from week after week of hyper-vigilance to ensure the children did not run off or hurt themselves or hurt each other.  Although he now treats patients in an office, Kent remains responsible for the lives of people. 

I’ve also seen Kent, the man of adventure.  He was a white-water rafting guide, running down these dangerous rivers like they were water slides.   I was around when Kent, along with Dave here, decided to march 18 miles in the December snow -- without snowshoes  -- to summit a peak about 25 miles northwest of here. 

Kent has a positive attitude, sly sense of humor, and he revels in life’s gifts. 

Kent, I am very proud of the intelligent, resilient, and caring man you’ve become.

Then, he brings Kate into our lives, and I think, wow!  

How can such a sweet and loving person also be so driven and accomplished?  

Kate’s life has been crazy the past couple of years.  Doctor Kelley took her turn saving lives at a hospital in an isolated town on the Oregon Coast for about six months.  Back in Portland, the Portland Hospital put her on night shifts for a time, and she had a stretch where she worked 12 days on and two days off.  Twelve days in a row!  We met for dinner at the end of one of these shifts.  She was physically beat:  pasty complexion, eyes half shut.  Normal humans might be snarly or just curl up with a home video and not even try to be social.  Yet, somehow, Super-Kate managed to keep her eyes open and pleasantly engage in intelligent conversation on a variety of topics with my wife Allyson and me.

Then there was the time they visited us at our mountain cabin.  In effect, Kate did a triathlon.  She ran in the morning.  We all went on pretty strenuous hike up and down hills for three hours.  Then, Kate and Kent bicycled 12 miles. 

Every time I’ve been around Kate, no matter what the circumstances, she has always radiated positivity and warmth. 

Kate, I hope you realize what an amazing woman you are.   

Bottom line?  Standing before us, are two strong, deep-thinking, caring, wonderful people who deserve each other. 

Kate and Kent, all of us here love you deeply.  You bring a richness of joy, pride and love to all of us. We are blessed to have both of you in our lives. 

We are all here to support you today. . . and to support you throughout your life together. 

With God’s blessings, the words we will speak today are sacred and affirm a lasting bond between Kate and Kent, who have already joined their hearts and have chosen to walk together on their life's journey. 

We all have roles in this wedding.

First up is Lauren O’Flaherty.  She is Kent’s Sister in law. 

Lauren will read a poem by Joyce Grenfell entitled "Ordinary Morning."

Please pay attention to the words with this question in mind:  Why did Kent choose this poem? 

Lauren reads:

It felt like an ordinary morning
It began an ordinary way
And then, without warning
Became and extraordinary day.

Hadn’t the slightest sort of inkling-
No-one said love was on its way-
And then within a twinkling

Without the smallest inkling

It became an extraordinary day.

For there you were

And the whole world stood still.

There you were,

I loved you then and I always will.

At first, an ordinary morning,
Began in an ordinary way,
And then my heart was beating
At this ordinary meeting
And we both knew
This was not an ordinary day.

Thank you Lauren. 

Did you guess the answer? 

Like most men his age, Kent had been on a few first dates that lead nowhere.  Maybe more than a few.  Yet, within the first couple of minutes of sitting down with Kate, he knew that she was the one for him.   

Next up is Laura Hill

Laura is one of Kate’s dear friends from right here in Portland. 

Laura will read a love poem by e e Cummings called I carry your Heart with Me

As Laura approaches, . . . one thing to remember about a wedding that does not follow a prescribed liturgy is that every reading was selected by the bride or groom because it is particularly meaningful to them.   Kate selected this poem.

Laura Reads

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling)
                 i fear
no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet0 i want
no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)
and it's you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows
higher than should can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart (i carry it in my heart)

Thank you, Laura. 

When Kate and Kent offered me the honor of officiating, we all pondered the question: “Why do we cry at weddings?”

The answer, I suppose, is - it depends. 

For the younger folks, it’s our Disney fantasy come true:  find the right man or woman and live happily ever after. 

For the older folks, we know that a wedding is not the story’s end with a vague future.  Rather a wedding proclaims a new beginning as a couple. 

There will be highs and lows, thrills, and disappointments.  The older folks know that with each joyful event, with every relaxed and contented evening, and with every challenge surmounted, love deepens.  The fire engine red of today’s passion will mature, almost imperceptibly, to a deep complex ruby that neither Kent nor Kate can comprehend fully today. 

Or maybe they can
 because they are not hormonal teenagers with limited life experience.

Some people say the best weddings have nothing to do with crazy logistics, like jumping out airplanes -- although being here in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is pretty darn awesome. 

The best weddings, they say, are those in which the we are convinced the couple will enjoy a fulfilling lifetime together founded upon the bedrock of mutual understanding and love. 

Today, we all have the pleasure of being a part of such a wedding. 

Kate and Kent each have significant experience in life and with each other
  • Each has gone through their evolutions of character in their 20s.
  • They know what they want out of life, and
  • They are ready for the next chapter
For some of us, a hard day at work means dealing with a disagreeable co-worker or nasty customer or the loss of a business opportunity.  By contrast, Kent and Kate have already been there for each other after days at work when the lives of other human beings hung in the balance.  Each has returned home from workdays that kicked their butts emotionally, and the other has propped them back up for the next day.

And they have a ton of fun with each other.  They get out into nature rain and shine, get together with friends over meals or a beer, play with the dogs at the Oregon coast or anywhere, or just sit with each other and their dogs on their couch . . . and laugh out loud.   

So, unlike na├»ve teenagers who assume it will be happily ever after, Kate and Kent know and value what they have in each other. 

But . . . much like giddy teenagers, Kent and Kate’s hearts swell with love for each other.  

Because they stand before us with their overflowing hearts - all of our own hearts, young and old, fill with their love. 


Our hearts fill with love for our own wives and husbands as we remember standing in their shoes. 

Our hearts fill with the love of family, however configured. 

Our hearts fill with love and gratitude for our moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and the generations before us, whose love and struggles made us possible. 

And,  hearts fill with the love of God and His sacrifice. 

Next to speak from the Bible is, Stacy Rizzo, one of Kate’s very best friends, who will read verses selected by Kate.

Stacy Reads

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude.

It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never ends.

As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm.
    But how can one keep warm alone?

Though one may be overpowered,
    two can defend themselves.
A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

Thank you Stacy. 

Next up is Carrie Matlock, Kent’s Cousin, who will read a quotation from the Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman:

Carrie Reads

"I will love you forever; whatever happens.

Till I die and after I die, and when I find my way out of the land of the dead, I'll drift about forever, all my atoms, till I find you again... I'll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment.

And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees

and in clouds and in those little specks of

light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they won't just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me, we'll be joined so tight..." 

Thank you Carrie

I know a few of you would be looking for a program about now.  But there is no written program.  So, here’s what’s next. 

·      Exchange of Vows
·      The exchange of Rings and then
·      The tying the knot.
·      Then, you all will stand and speak the Irish wedding blessing on that card.  
·      Followed by me pronouncing them husband and wife.

So, now, the
Exchange of Vows

Kate and Kent, your love is something that you both cherish so much it’s compelled you to join in the union of marriage -  dedicating your lives to the happiness and support of each other.  The vows you make today express your love and devotion to one another and will support your marriage throughout your lives.

Kent, you first,
[Kent speaks *   *   *]

Repeat after me

“I, Kent Michael O’Flaherty, take you Katherine Ann Kelly to be my wife;

·      to have and to hold,
·      for better, for worse,
·      for richer, for poorer,
·      in sickness and in health,
·      to love and to cherish from this day forward.

Kate, your turn to say what you like to your future husband
            [Kate speaks *  *  *  ] 

Repeat after me

“I, Katherine Ann Kelly, take you Kent Michael O’Flaherty to be my husband,

·      to have and to hold,
·      for better, for worse,
·      for richer, for poorer,
·      in sickness and in health,
·      to love and to cherish from this day forward.

Exchange of Rings.
May I have the rings.   [From Dave and So]

Since ancient times, the ring has been a symbol of the unbroken circle of love, with no beginning and no end.

Love given freely has no giver and no receiver, for each is the giver and each is the receiver. May these rings always remind you of your love and the promises you made here today.

Kate repeat after me:
“Kent, with this ring I thee wed.”

Kent repeat after me:
“Kate, with this ring I thee wed.”

Now Kent and Kate are going to tie the Knot.

Throughout history, the hands of the bride and groom were bound as a sign of their commitment to one another.

Tying the hands represents the joining of your two lives into one common purpose.  It represents your future, secure in the knowledge your relationship will continue to be strong no matter what. 

The ceremonial cord we use today was handmade in Ireland - on the Aran Islands in County Galway, which is the ancestral home of the O'Flaherty clan.  

Will the moms come forward to Tie the Knot?  

[Lorie and Patty tie the knot and return to their seats]

On your wedding day, these are the hands of your best friend, young and strong and full of love for you. 

These are the hands that will work alongside yours, as you build your future together.

These are the hands that will hold your children tenderly.

These hands, join our families as one; they join all of us gathered here today as one large family of choice, not only blood. 

These are also the hands that will take out the garbage, clean the kitchen counter and pick up dog poop.  I want you to think about how much you love each other each time you take out the trash.

And, lastly, these are the hands that
      even when wrinkled and aged
      will still reach for yours
      and will always give you unspoken affection with just a touch

Now, everybody. 

Please stand and take out the card with the Irish Wedding Blessing.

We are all going to speak this together.

Kent and Kate, please face your family and friends

No mumbling.  Speak loudly.  

On three: 

One,  Two,

May the road rise to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your field,
And until we meet again May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
I now pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss your bride and your groom.

Cue the bag piper!

*  *  *  *  *  *  *
Knot Tied

Wedding Location:
Skamania Lodge, Stevenson, Washington
Latitude: 45.68582 
Longitude: -121.90298


Bagpiper before the wedding
Open-Air Anteroom
1950 Wedding

2003 wedding