Counting in Moments

Before I began this WordPress journey, I used a now defunct free library blog. Before I began A Year of Memories, which is now in its second year, I would just write. Whatever was on my mind; informational editorials and advice, mostly to myself.

I often go back to my archives looking for a specific story: to find an outline, for the facts, for details and any memories I might have forgotten. I didn’t find what I was looking for tonight. I found April 16, 2013, instead.

There were paragraphs before this excerpt and paragraphs beyond, as well. It may seem like an interruption, but it’s a crucial part of the story. It’s what allowed me to have stories to share. I won’t lie and say from here on it will all be laughter. There are more sad moments coming. There are also tender moments, happy moments, hilarious moments.

Still, if there is only one lesson to be learned from storying the past, it is this:

Being pleased with your life is a wonderful long-term thing, but happiness…?
Happiness is a notch above, usually for a shorter time than we’d like.
How could we know what happy was if it didn’t sweep in and out of our lives?

Happiness can only be counted in moments.
So, count them.
Immediately.
Safe-guard the memories.

Someday ahead, you’ll need them to remind you
that you were indeed happy once, and for a while.

Trust that now may not be your time.
Act on this: happiness is something you can give away,
To whomever you choose;
even if you don’t have any, at this particular time.

Quote for the Week:

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“Whosoever trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.” – Proverbs 16:20

The Politic of Cows

The honeymoon saga is being interrupted by a side note.

I hope you all voted today.

You know, my Jeff was a patriot. He always removed his ever-present hat for the national anthem. He removed his hat and placed a hand over his heart for any flag passing by. He admired his friends in the service, had great respect for veterans, never missed a Memorial Day or 4th of July parade, and believed America was the greatest country in the world. 

Jeff also had a wisdom to impart when anyone began discussing politics.

“It doesn’t matter who becomes president tonight,” he’d say. “When we all wake up tomorrow, the cows still gotta get milked.”

This self-proclaimed non-politicking was just a bit of Korte bluster mostly to offset his father’s very-politicking Korte bluster. His practical point was that things tend to stay the same and nothing drastic happens overnight after an election.

Jeff truly cared about his country, his state, his home. I’m sure he would have been horrified by this election, disheartened entirely. I’m afraid this election could very well turn our nation into a disaster tomorrow. I’ve been praying it doesn’t.

At this point, though, the only thing I can say for certain is Jeff’s truth still stands.

Cows still gotta get milked tomorrow morning, regardless.

Quote for the Week:

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Enjoy This Week’s Discovery Links:

Cast: Not Casted

Bullish: Something Good

Michigan: Voter’s Battleground

10, Not 15

A Year of Memories is almost up. Officially, on October 6th.

So far, we’ve only been through dating and a wedding.

There is so much more.

I really thought this would be a cathartic year.

At the moment, I think I’m going in the opposite direction.

I really believed it would only take a year to recap our limited lives.

At times, I even worried I’d have nothing more to write about, that I would run out of stories too soon.

The thing is, we all know how this story ends.

15 Years Ago, a wedding; 10 Years Ago, a funeral.

Maybe that’s where I’ll go next: the ending. And work backwards.

Quote for The Week:

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Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise (con’t)

I mentioned the surprise. It really was a surprise. Never saw it coming.

But before the surprise was cake. Cakes, I should say

Our wedding cake was beautiful. And delicious. And demolished. And someone took a picture of that. Or, more accurately, someone took a picture of Jeff’s sister, Sally’s friend and I dealing with the aftermath and creating more laughter.

Towards the end of the wedding, I learned that the smallest layer of cake, on top, was traditionally saved for the first anniversary. It successfully went home with Jeff’s mom, and carefully made it into the freezer.

A year later, it was as flat as a pancake. Somehow, it had migrated to the bottom of the chest and was subjected to the weight of anything that might have required freezing. Jeff’s mom was greatly disappointed and apologetic when she discovered it.

It was Jeff’s idea to go the grocer and purchase a small round with yellow icing roses, which was as close as they had to orange roses. We requested “1st Anniversary’” be added in orange, which turned out to be red because there was no orange.

When we showed up with it, Sally laughed delightedly, teared-up, and then giggled when Jeff royally announced, “It’s time to eat cake!”

Cake was distributed – and, as now was J & J tradition, my plate had an extra-large dollop of icing scraped from Jeff’s piece.

A Groom’s cake was another thing I knew nothing about. But, I was assured it was a thing way back when we purchased the race car cake pan. The cake turned out spectacularly. The fondant “stickers” and the accessories were perfect.

Not nearly as perfect as the enthusiasm shared by Jeff and his best man, as they cut the cake together and proceeded to the feeding. That’s another one of my favorite pictures, because it reminds me of how easy it was and how much fun it was to get drawn into Jeff’s enthusiasm.

The last surprise was a wonderful one. Jeff and I were led to folding chairs in the middle of the dance floor. As we sat, our families and friends began to gather around us. Most everyone had a small piece of paper with them. Those who didn’t, shared.

We were still baffled… until the singing started. We sat there amazed and touched; smiling and crying, surrounded by a not-so-impromptu choir organized by my family.

There were only 3 pictures in the stash of developed disposables. One is a barely distinguishable crowd of crooners, one is fairly clear picture of us being confused; one is clearly full of love.

I still feel the joy of that picture. The boisterous singing is what I recall every time I hear that song. What a wonderful uninhibited gift to wrap things up.

Going to the Chapel. Yes, we did.

Quote for the Week:

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This song: Going to the Chapel

Bonus: Cakes and C

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Ball, Chain, Toss, Catch, Cake and a Surprise

Things went pretty smoothly after that.

There was the delish dinner, more dancing, cake cutting, traditional garter and bouquet tosses, customary ball & chain and an adorable surprise.

I guess I didn’t realize that the term ‘ball and chain,’ can hold a really a negative connotation. For this particular group of friends and family, it was actually a playful right-of-marriage-passage.

The groom knew it would be coming, and so did most the brides. So, when the groomsmen and friends corralled Jeff to chain the real bowling ball to his leg, I wasn’t surprised. I don’t think anyone was surprised, at least not on Jeff’s side of the family.

You see, the heavy ball, light-weight but sturdy plastic chain and real lock and key came as a set, passed down from each married couple, who’d save it for the next. In some of the photos you can see the names written on the legacy.

The beauty of it was, that the bride was immediately given the key and the task of symbolic loving release. How long she let her beloved tote that thing around wasn’t really indicative of anything but fun.

I only let Jeff tote it around long enough to be sure he had his fun with it.

I don’t know who has the ball now. I hope someone is saving it for their children’s wedding.

The bouquet toss was a little bit of a scramble when we realized that the toss bouquet was embedded in the top of the cake. I ended up grabbing a smaller and very pointy attendant’s, nobody got their eye poked out so, that was good.

The garter was the most normal thing about our wedding. Except, I don’t know the young lady who caught the bouquet and was subsequently gartered.

Anyone have a clue? I’d love to know….

Quote for the Week:

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Bonus Photos:

Nannee noticed the ritual beginning, the putting on, the carrying,t he assist from Sally and the unlocking. One thing though, where’d that extra hand on Jeff’s waist come from?

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Who’s that girl?

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Not Quite The Dance

If it seems like I have a lot of ‘Dad’ stories, it’s because I do. Most resulted from his stubbornness, but some resulted from mine. Inherited, it seems.

Please, understand I’m not implying that my father ruined my wedding in any sort of way. Yes, at the time he frustrated me, but there ended up being so many golden memorable moments.  These moments still make me shake my head. But, also make me smile. That is what is important.

Thank goodness we had a photographer that knew what she was doing. Again, I’d never done this before; hadn’t even been a bridesmaid, so I was clueless.

Before the wedding, Jeff and I went with her to a park to capture the fall colors. Then, back at the venue, (bar sounds so icky, now,) the pre-wedding shots continued: families, bridesmaids, groomsmen, groups and individual, first dances, and portraits.

By the end of our wedding festivities, I understood why we’d needed to take these close-up photos at the peak of appearances, and of course, what sort of things could go wrong at weddings.

I also am grateful I have dance pictures with my father, because, well… that didn’t go as planned, either.

Oxygen related, again, when it came time for the Son and Mother and Daughter and Father dance, I went to collect him. He made a request, which I denied. He wanted to dance right where we were. I did not want to dance beside the dinner table where he sat.

The song was not an unusual choice, which is why we chose it. It’s the kind of song most everyone associates with happy occasions. Neither of us realized that, after a while, life would change our happiness into bittersweet memories.

So, my Dad followed me to the dance floor without his portable. Akin to holding his breath, he lasted less than a minute then hurriedly scurried back to his chair, leaving me standing alone on the parquet. This was not quite the dance I’d envisioned.

I’m only guesstimating on the 60 seconds, but that seems about right based on what happened next.

I glanced toward Jeff. With his back to me, he and Sally were more talking than dancing. I realized without her wheelchair, she was struggling, too.

My now Father-in-Law (whom I wasn’t sure was truly my father-in-law, yet, because I wasn’t sure we were truly married, yet,) had been watching from the side. I was still processing that I had been necessarily abandoned, when he stepped forward, opening his arms. Suddenly, I was dancing again.

At about another 30 second mark, my Uncle Sheldon tapped Roger’s shoulder, requesting to cut-in.  I was handed off, and continued the dance with the man who had managed to speed to the hospital faster than my father was able to get there from his job when it was clear I was about to be born.

These are precious memories, and sad ones, as well. I realize now, that it probably wouldn’t have mattered where we danced, because we already had professional shots. I just stubbornly wanted to dance on the dance floor with my father, next to my husband and his mother.

I can’t imagine what my father was feeling watching me finish the dance from the sidelines. I wish he hadn’t had to. I wish I’d have had as much of a dance with him as possible.

Quote for the Week:

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Follow this Week’s discovery Links:

It is: Louis Armstrong’s Wonderful World Bio

They are: Precious Memories   (I don’t know why my parents had a gospel compilation record, but I played it often. I’m not at all sure who sang this song on that record. Might have been Tennessee Ernie Ford, but Jim Reeves’ version sounds most like my memory.)

If I could do it again: Dance With My Father

Bonus:  PS – I don’t believe Nannee was wearing her oxygen for her dance with Jeff, either.

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It Was Supposed to Go Like This, Part 2

We got through that part, and we got through the next part, too.

Then, prematurely and over-enthusiastically (probably due to the nature of his state, which didn’t even seem to be in Michigan), the guy who was supposed to be marrying us announced in Jeff’s direction, “You may kiss the bride!”

By now Jeff had significant rows of scowling creases on his forehead. He also had the where-with-all to stop that nonsense in its track by not-so stage whispering, “The rings! The. Rings!”

We got through that part.

One of the funniest professional photos in my official wedding album is the one where the best man and the matron of honor are assembled to sign as witnesses to the marriage. There’s my sister-in-law not looking pleased, holding out her hand, demanding the pen from Dr. Dinglefritz in a “Give. Me. The Pen.” gesture. My brother is earnestly leaning forward, balancing on 3 fingers deliberately placed on the table. Our best man seems unsure, which is well warranted.

When we left the festivities that evening, we weren’t even sure we were really married.

When the marriage certificate arrived, I was relieved to note it was indeed valid

Jeff just shrugged and said, “See? I told you everything would work out.” Then, added “Wort.”

Quote for the Week:

 

 

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Bonus: It Was Supposed to Go Like This:

JEFFREY SCOTT KORTE & JODI ANN SELIN WEDDING, OCTOBER 1, 2001

Opening Words by Minister:

Good afternoon, let me please introduce myself, I am DR (sic) Dinglefritz, I am an ordained minister and it is my pleasure to incorporate the beliefs of both JEFF KORTE and JODI ANN SELIN in the wedding service and to thank you for honoring them with your presence today.  Thank you for the friendship and support that you have given them in the past.  Their wedding today will be a moment when all our thoughts are turned toward love and joy.

Prayers:

Minister:      God, our hearts are overflowing with happiness on this special day–JEFF and JODI’s wedding day.  Thank you for bringing them together and for directing them every step of the way as they made their marriage plans.  Thank you also for these their friends who have come to celebrate these moments with them.

Bless their marriage and the home that they are establishing

together.  Help them to continue to grow in their love for each other. Make them thoughtful and understanding helpmates and companions.  Guide them and walk beside them during all their days together as husband and wife.

Giving in Marriage:

Minister:

Who presents this woman to be married to this man? (Response from Bride’s father) “Her mother and I do.” (This part was silent, but there was waving.)

Minister: Today’s reading chosen by the Bride and Groom; Eskimo love song

You are my husband/you are my wife,

My feet shall run because of you. My feet, dance because of you.

My heart shall beat because of you.

My eyes, see because of you.

My mind thinks because of you.

And I shall love because of you.

 

Vows:  (This was the Give. Me. The Book. part)

GROOM     Will you, JODI, take my hand and explore with me the limitless wonders of this world?

BRIDE       I will.

BRIDE      JEFF, will you promise to share with me your own discoveries and new perspectives on life?

GROOM     I will.  Will you work with me to broaden our horizons continually and expand the boundaries or our lives?

BRIDE      I will. Will you live with me to the fullest, for all the days we share?

GROOM     I will.  Then I, JEFF, offer to you, JODI, all that I am, all that I may encounter, and all that I may become.  I will always offer to you support, friendship, and peace. Let us explore together the infinity of our love from this day forward.

BRIDE              I, JODI, question no part of your commitment, recognize no darkness that we cannot vanquish with open hearts, and accept you as my partner above all others.  I pledge before this company to love and cherish you forever as my husband in acknowledgment of the miracle of us.

RESPONSE READING

I come to you pure of heart and sound of mind.  From this day forward we will walk in peace, live by God’s word, and trust in his blessings.  If these include the joy of children, we will raise them in His sight and under His hand.

Wedding song: “In this Life…”

Lighting of the Candles:

Minister: We now come to the lighting of the Candles of Unity. We ask that the mother’s of both the Bride and Groom light the two smaller candles representing the individual lives of the Bride and Groom. They then pass them to their son and daughter.

JODI and JEFF in lighting the Unity candle you signify to yourselves and to the whole world that the two of you will forever be as one.

Minister:  At this time we welcome the new bride’s brother, to assist in the breaking of the glass ceremony.

BROTHER OF THE BRIDE: It is my pleasure to bring to you the symbolic Breaking of the Glass The shattering glass reminds us that even at the height of personal joy, it is our duty to recall the sadness and tragedy in the world around us. The glass is shattered with the implication that the marriage shall always remain intact.

Jeff, I present this glass to you with  joy.

Jodi and Jeff may your marriage be as strong and complete as it would be difficult to unshatter this symbolic glass

RING EXCHANGE

Minister: May I have the rings, please?

Minister:  JODI and JEFF, may your love be as eternal as the unbroken infinity of the rings you are about to exchange.

GROOM     With this ring, I thee, wed.

BRIDE        And, with this ring, I thee, wed.

Minister: At this time it is my pleasure by the authority of the Universal Life Church of the State of California and the laws of the State of Michigan to pronounce you husband and wife.

You may kiss the Bride

Ladies and Gentlemen may I present to you: MR and MRS JEFF KORTE