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Sunday, August 15, 2004


Ten years ago this weekend, I did one of the smartest things, if not the smartest thing, I have ever done: I married my wife.

The scene was the tall ship The Pride of Baltimore II, whose docking at Astoria, Oregon coincided with that town's annual Regatta Days. The ship was out on the Columbia somewhere, near its turbulent mouth, on a clear, sunny Saturday evening. Judge Paula Brownhill, then of the town's municipal court, presided over the brief "I do's."

It was not a conventional wedding, by any means. We had lived together for more than two years at this point. We had decided on the date and time just a few weeks before, and in attendance were a group of strangers, with the mother of the bride being the only person on board who was related to the happy couple. The ship was making a brief run around the proud old seaport in a benefit for a Portland nonprofit environmental group of which I was a director at the time. All but a few of the event-goers were unaware that they were about to witness nuptials as part of the experience.

Having been married once before, I was terrified that a more elaborate event might jinx our relationship. My beautiful bride agreed to be wed on the tall ship that night, with a reception and honeymoon postponed to an unspecified future date. We didn't exchange rings, as I had already given her one for each hand previously.

The crew of the ship fired off its cannons with a lusty shout of "Fire in the hole!" just as we were pronounced man and wife. There on the deck, we popped open a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne, the last time I consumed that particular beverage. Upon returning to port, we newlyweds and Mom headed out for the best dinner Astoria could provide -- lobster for yours truly -- and a spin through the Regatta festivities. It seems every town in the American West has its "days" each summer, and I believe this was the 100th annual event of that kind for that city. Retiring to our friendly historic bed-and-breakfast, we told ourselves that the fireworks, parade, and pageantry were all for us.

We threw a nice reception for our friends a few months later in Portland, and the rest is history.

Words can't describe how much better my life has become since I started dating my bride. Anniversary tributes are nice, but they pale in comparison to the wonder and beauty that I experience nearly every day in my marriage. It ain't all a bed of roses, but at my age I'm smart enough to know a very, very good thing when I see it. And so this weekend holds a special place.

Comments (5)

Many congratulations on your happy marriage (they're priceless!) and welcome back!

Great story - I even teared up a bit. Congratulations to the whole family...

(But my vision wasn't so obscured by tears that I failed to notice the banner with the mostly naked man...hubba!)

Wow....ten years! Wonderful....

My husband and I have been married for 22 years...have 6 kiddos.

I loved the comment.....about dating your bride.
A regular date night with your bride is a very valuable thing. You need that time to connect with each other. Life can be very busy. When the children leave the nest, it is just the two of you...and if you havent cultivated and invested in your marriage...you may be strangers.

Congratulations and God bless....

Ya done good, Cuz.

Welcome back!

But why did you get married? Who the heck thought that up? Seems a strange thing to do. Marriage is a strange thing.

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