I was asked to write an article for the Saint Paul Area Synod to help promote an upcoming event. Since I spent the time writing that, I didn't have anything for the blog this week. So, I'll post the link to the article instead.
This isn't the first time I've been published. I wrote a magazine article for Footnote, The Journal of the Minnesota Society of CPAs in the early 1990's. A few years later, i wrote a newsletter article for an internal publication for my work at Nextel. As Secretary of the Governing Board at Shepherd of the Hills I write a monthly article for their newsletter. And also, my first blog post about going to Tanzania was republished by Bega Kwa Bega in their newsletter. (I'm not sure if the old newsletters are online. Here's the link to my blog post: https://www.timkwrites.com/blog/we-cannot-find-kidamali-tanzania-google-maps)
Now that I'm thinking about things I've written, I remember something else. When Debbie was teaching at Minnesota Waldorf School, her class would do a play every year. For First and Second grades I adapted the plays from stories. The Golden Goose in First grade and three African fables in Second grade. In Sixth grade I adapted a roman play. She had an older translation, so I updated the language and added 4 or 5 parts so that each student had a role. Those were really co-written as Debbie would make changes to my work to improve it for production.
I've done more than I had realized. That's kind of fun to think about. It gives me motivation too, as I remember all those little steps have led to a body of work. So, I'll keep taking my little steps and see what they mount up to over time.
My father has entered hospice. He has been in so much pain for so long and while he wouldn’t choose to leave his family his body isn’t giving him that option. And so, the grief journey begins for my family again.
Today is the 64th anniversary of my parents’ marriage. They built a wonderful family with five children (I’m the fourth), eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
I’ll have good memories of Dad, and I’ll eventually write about them here. For now, though I’ll just tell you about one. At some point Dad developed a fascination with frog sculptures. The backyard, the deck and parts of the house ended up being filled with frogs. When I was helping to clean the house on Saturday before he came home from the hospital I spotted frog on the deck that seemed fitting.
There’s a part that’s missing and won’t ever be back. And that’s going to draw our focus when we look at it. Someday we’ll be able to look at it and see and the good that still remains in our lives.
Alicia and Carlos were married again on the last Sunday in August. Last week I put my toast into the blog. This week I'd like to give you some snippets of things that were happening and my reactions.
During the week before the wedding Alicia stopped by our house. She had two lists for us. One was a packing list of everything we needed bring with us on Sunday. The other was a timeline for the wedding day. Starting from setting up the venue in the morning and going through the clean up after the last dance at 10:30. It listed what was happening when and who was in charge of what. Is it possible that she's even more organized than Debbie?
I got to meet Carlos' brothers on Saturday. I know that Carlos is a good man. When I met his parents in March for Wedding 1.0 I knew he came from a great family. Meeting 4 out of his 5 brothers reinforced that.
Andrew and I arrived at the venue around 10am. The family of Alicia's friend Colleen Mans is there helping with the setup. By family I mean it was her parents, two sisters and one brother-in-law helping out with setup and takedown. They were fantastic. I think Deb Mans got sick of me saying thank you, but they deserved it.
I decided not to bother taking any pictures since there was a professional photographer. One less thing to worry about. And by the way, having the timeline from Alicia really helped. I was able to focus on what I needed to do and to let the rest go knowing someone else was handling it.
We got a bit of bad news prior to the ceremony when we found out my dad wasn't feeling well enough to attend. A bit of worry as he had to be pretty bad to miss this. But there was too much going on to focus on that.
It had been raining that morning. Not a good sign when you're having an outdoor wedding ceremony. But by the time of the ceremony it was bright and sunny. They had sunglasses to give out as party favors. It was a perfect choice, almost everybody was wearing them while we were outside.
At the start of the ceremony I got to walk the beautiful bride down the aisle. Unfortunately, the aisle was way too short and it was over quick.
The ceremony alternated English and Spanish with a Lutheran pastor and a Catholic priest. I cried a bit, luckily I had put some kleenex in my pocket in advance.
We had people from all over at the wedding; from around here and Argentina, from Colorado and Canada, from Massachusetts, Manhattan, Miami and Mexico. (Yes, as I'll explain, I doubled up on one for alliterative purposes.)
I've always heard about Alicia's cousins in Argentina since she was young, so it was nice to meet one of them. Alicia's cousin Antonella is now living in Miami and was able to come up for the wedding with her husband.
Lots of good food at the reception. Lots of dancing going on as well, including a father-daughter dance. I'm not a good dancer, but I enjoyed taking a turn on the dance floor with Alicia. This was followed by a mother-son dance. Carlos' mother started with him and then all his brothers took turns dancing with her as well.
The dancing continued until 9:30 when the DJ announced the last dance and then the couple was leaving. They left, and everybody else just kept dancing. The shuttle driver to the hotel showed up at around 10:30 and said it was his last trip. That's when the dancing finally shut down. I have to get a good bottle of scotch for the DJ as my last to do for the wedding.
So finally about 14 hours after leaving home Andrew and I arrived back there. We had to unload my brother-in-law's truck. He had brought all the gifts and other wedding stuff in his truck. (Thanks Scott.)
Plus, we had a bunch of stuff in my car including leftover cake, cupcakes and a carved watermelon. A long and wonderful day.
Things have been pretty hectic for the last week or so with Alicia’s wedding coming up. We had the rehearsal and a dinner at my house on Saturday, then the actual wedding on Sunday. I thought I would post the toast I gave at the wedding.
What a happy day! You’ve come from near and far. We’re so glad that each one of you is here to celebrate with us, as there is no joy better than shared joy.
There is a tradition at wedding receptions of clinking your silverware against your glass until the couple kisses. When Alicia’s mom and I got married we used a slightly different tradition that we had heard about. On our wedding anniversaries, we would sometimes watch our wedding video. That’s how Alicia found out about it and decided to use that tradition for her wedding. So, if you want the couple to kiss, you or a group need to stand up and sing part of a song with the word love in it. English or Spanish, your choice.
It has been an honor to be Alicia’s father and watch her grow up to become an extraordinary young woman. Alicia, I am so proud of you. Mom would say the same thing if she could. She is here today sharing joy.
When Alicia decided to spend a year volunteering in Mexico after college a lot of my friends asked me if I was worried because of all the drug violence in Mexico. I always told them I was more worried that she would meet some guy down there, want to marry him and stay in Mexico.
So, when Alicia told us it was getting serious with Carlos, it was scary. But Debbie and I decided that Alicia had always had a good group of friends, so she was a good judge of people. Maybe this Carlos guy might be OK.
Now that I’ve gotten to know Carlos, I can say he’s way better than OK. I’m proud to have Carlos be a part of my family.
So, Alicia and Carlos.
You have two ears. Use one to hear each other and the other to hear what’s in your spouse’s heart.
You have two eyes. Use one to see each other and the other to see your spouse’s as they see themselves.
You have one heart, so love each other wholeheartedly.
Breath in love, calm and peace. Breath out and away trouble and turmoil.
My hope is that:
Que siempre peudas decir, te amo hoy más que te amé ayer.
And now, because you have lifted us up today with your love and commitment to each other, it’s time for us to lift up our glasses to you!
To Alicia and Carlos Rodriguez!
As a bonus I’ll tell you what I was saying in the Spanish part. My cousin’s daughter Maggie Kane provided the translation of my English phrase into Spanish. (Thank you!)
“My hope is that you will always be able to say I love you more today than yesterday.”
I voted today with Andrew. It was his first time ever to vote. It was a proud moment.
I was very excited when Hillary Clinton picked me to be her Vice-Presidential running mate. Unfortunately, when they called me to address the convention I was rudely stopped by some guy in sunglasses while an impostor who spells our name incorrectly took my place. (I might as well enjoy having the same name as Tim Kaine while I can, it’s bound to get old if they’re in office for 8 years.)
I should explain something for those who read my last post and were expecting haikus here. I talked about having written some haikus as part of my grieving process when Debbie passed away and said I would post them here later. I was not meaning to post them now. This month is reserved for celebration as Alicia and Carlos tie the knot again in a formal wedding ceremony to complete the civil ceremony that was done in March. Plus, having something already pre-written to go up on the blog will come in handy. I’ve been able to post every Tuesday since I started blogging. Although there have been some late-night postings, I’ve always beaten my midnight deadline.
I turned in my paperwork to apply for a visa to Tanzania. I’m not sure how things will work while I’m traveling in Tanzania. I will have access to the internet, I’m just not sure how my time will be filled. My guess is that I’ll be posting some during the trip, but it will be more along the lines of a travelogue of where I’ve been. After I get back and have had some time to process I’ll be able to write some more in depth.
Alicia and Carlos’ wedding preparations are continuing. I was honored to be asked to walk Alicia up the aisle during the service. I was out last night buying a new suit to wear. Somehow all my old suits seem to have shrunk while hanging in the closet. We’re also getting ready to have a rehearsal and dinner here prior to the wedding.
The Olympics are always fun to watch with its many memorable moments. This year has been no exception. I was captivated by the women’s cross country cycling. The horrific crash of Annemiek Van Vleuten, Mara Abbot trying to hang onto her lead for the gold medal had me spellbound. It was good to find out that Annemiek Van Vleuten is recovering. The story of Yusra Mardini of the refugee team and her escape to Greece is inspiring.
One of the reasons I started this blog was because I had received a comment on Debbie's Caring Bridge site asking for updates on the family. It is time that I gave you an update.
I'll start with Debbie. While she is physically gone, she is still a part of our lives. She always will be. I think she would be pleased and happy with how the rest of us are doing.
Andrew has completed his first year at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. He's home for the summer. He had a good first year. I went down there a few times, including seeing him in a play and seeing him playing viola with his orchestra.
Alicia and Carlos have been busy. They got married in March. They did a small ceremony so they could get it on the books to ease the process for Carlos to get a work permit from immigration. They'll do a more traditional ceremony in late August and are busy planning that.
The ceremony in March was beautiful. They were looking for a judge to perform a civil ceremony. Alicia was at her job as Office Manager for the St. Paul Area Synod of the ELCA discussing this with a co-worker one day. Her friend reminded her that there were three pastors in the office who could marry them, plus the offices share a building with a church, so they could have the ceremony there. That's what they did. They were married by Bishop Patricia Lull on March 11th. We're blessed to have added Carlos to our family and to have extended our extended family.
Which brings us to me. I've been trying to write. I discovered it to be something I enjoy doing. I was recently having a discussion with my cousin's wife. Liz has been taking banjo lessons. She noticed the link that we're both doing something creative now that our kids have grown and are more independent. I was thinking about that later and comparing what we're doing. Often when I say I'm writing, I'm asked if I'm going to be published. However, my first reaction with Liz's banjo playing wasn't that she had to be playing in a band. So I write, and it's not about if I publish, it's about what I enjoy.
l dated someone for a time, but then we broke up. It wasn't something I was looking for, but I reconnected with someone I had known as a teenager. I was not dating her as a replacement for Debbie, she was who I was with at the time. People can never be replaced, which is why grief never completely ends.
The other thing that's going on with me is that I'm planning a trip to Tanzania this fall. This was about another reason for starting the blog, because I will want to write about my trip. Stay tuned for future details.
I want to thank everybody who has been reading and giving me feedback. It's nice to know people are reading.
Tim Kane's memories, musings and updates.