Clippings: Love, friendship at the tip of a pen

I am in constant awe of my immediate family and their direct contributions to humanity. My wife, Dottie, is a nurse manager who helps heal people who are very ill. Our son, Mark, is an EMT who makes the rounds through parts of Chittenden County helping to save lives. Our daughter, Diane, is a social worker who has helped give new health and hope to young mothers at the Lund Center in Burlington.
Me, I just write stuff. Have for 33 years. Just hope some of it has made a difference and that I’ve brought folks a smile every now and again.
But now I’m feeling even more inadequate. I’ve learned my daughter not only helps turn around people’s lives, she can write.
That was supposed to be my thing!
Her hidden literary talents were on full display this past Saturday during the wedding of her dear cousin Samantha. Diane and Samantha have been besties since they were in diapers. Often mistaken as sisters, they spent many hours together building fairy villages in the forest, playing Barbies and chasing butterflies. They showed the boys a thing or two when they joined the local Little League team. Boys would become a recurring theme for them as they got into their teens. And their Polly Pockets were cast aside for Destiny’s Child and Beyoncé CDs.
Next thing I knew, both were driving vehicles and double dating.
Samantha decided to settle down with one of those young men. On Saturday, she and Cale traded vows. The sun shone on them through the ceremony, though the tears flowed steadily.
Diane took the spotlight at the beginning of the reception, delivering her co-maid-of-honor speech. At the risk of sounding like one of those irritating, proud fathers who carries a mile-long sleeve of his kids’ photos in his wallet, I’ve included her speech here. May all of your daughters have a friendship as close and enduring as Diane’s and Sammie’s.
Here’s what Diane wrote and said:
• • • • • • •
I have to be honest. I struggled to write a speech for this moment. I’ve had roughly 20 years of friendship to reflect on.
As kids I remember when Sam and I would develop blueprints for the future house we would live in together. Our thought was that we would become lifelong roommates that raise litters of bunnies and own a few horses. You know, super realistic plans.
But inevitably, young men started to catch our eye and we would spend hours sharing the details of our crushes or the experience of feeling love.
I recall the first time Sam mentioned Cale. She was extremely smitten. She had shared their plans for a first date at Mexicali Restaurant. Sam would spend a good chunk of that conversation over-analyzing the possibility of spilling her rice or getting food stuck in her teeth. You could tell she really liked this person and wanted to leave a good impression.
I have always been protective of Sam by nature; she is, after all, my “ride or die.” I was excited for her, but also guarded about Cale and his intentions. After years of getting to know Cale, I realized he was supportive, thoughtful, nurturing and devoted. He brought Sam happiness and security. He made her laugh and most importantly, I could tell that he loved her.
These two have bought a house, parented a dog and a couple cats. So when Sam told me that Cale had proposed, I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but I was extremely happy.
I want to wrap up with this memory that I have held on to from our childhood together:
When Sam and I were around 6 or 7, we would call each other on the weekends to make plans — usually inviting one or the other over. We lived just a meadow apart so usually it was a quick walk. What I reflect on most, is that regardless of which house we would spend our time at, we would always meet each other half way in that meadow, at the top of the hill and then walk side by side to wherever we were going.
That is Sam. She will always meet you at least half way and then walk beside you for the rest of the journey. So here is to walking side by side through the Journey of Marriage and Love. Congratulations to you both. I am so excited to see where it takes you.  

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