Avery's Speech and Our Vows
Family and Friends, welcome. Thank you for being here with us on this important day, in this special place. I am honored that Marsh and Teressa have asked me to stand here with them, and it certainly is the single best reason to have taken the Maine Bar Exam.
This place, Indian Point, has special meaning for my family. In the pre-Liz days, when we three older children were very young, we used to come to the Bandbox, right behind you. All five of us would stay in this one-room camp, with Kate sleeping in a playpen covered with mosquito netting on the porch. We played in the tidepools and in the frigid surf. We fished for lobsters and scavenged for pretty shells.
Now, I don’t claim to know a lot about marriage. Marsh and Teressa could have asked any of their parents, all of whom have been married for 33 years to say a few words about the joys and pains of married life. Heck, even Kate, who has been married for a grand total of 3 weeks might have some relevant views on the subject. But Indian Point has graciously helped me out here, lending some life lessons from its rugged shores that seem particularly appropriate to two people starting together on a new stage of life’s journey, and I’d like to say a few words about four of those lessons.
#1: Grit is good, but be wary of stubbornness. These waters of the gulf of Maine are icy cold. As kids, we would wade into the water from the beach and dare each other to outlast us. Slowly, we’d lose feeling in our toes. Then our ankles, and the numbness would spread. But we’d bear it: with the loss of feeling in each of our digits, we’d smile and pledge anew to be the last one standing in the surf. By the time our lips turned blue, Mom -- fearing hypothermia -- made us come out. But Mom can’t always be there, so be careful with each other. Embrace your determination and show your grit, but when the other’s lips turn blue, lend a helping hand out of the icy deep.
#2: Always take a paddle. We used to go sailing on a rotten little boat, called the Bad Dog. Whenever we started out, with Dad as Captain, it would be a day like today -- a steady yet gentle breeze, waves lapping lovingly under a bright blue sky. But just about the time we would reach the mouth of the Kennebec on our way back to the mooring, the cosmic fans would cease. The air would fall still. Completely, utterly breeze-less but for the whining of us children and the not-so-subtle cursing of Captain Dad. So my advice is to always take a paddle. If the wind ever fails you, whining and cursing won’t help much -- but an emergency paddle will help you get home.
#3: Kayaks are the best mode of transport. Once we figured out that the Bad Dog was not really intended to be an ocean-faring boat, we switched to kayaks. An early morning solo kayak, when the sea is still smooth, moving soundlessly through the waves, is truly peaceful. And the best part of kayaking is that two people can go out together, each in his or her own boat to explore the rocks, look for seals, or surf the waves. Thus, wedding lesson number three from Indian Point is that marriage is a voyage together, but its foundation is your individual selves. Grow individually and as a married couple, each in your own kayak. Two boats, two people, venturing together
#4: Sometimes treasure moves to the other side of the bay. Marsh, you had an eagle eye for sand-dollars on the beach by Lone Tree Island, to my left. At low tide you’d always spot them. But by the time Liz joined our family, there were really no more sand-dollars to be found by Lone Tree. But recently, we re-discovered sand-dollars in the cove to my right. Tiny sand-dollars, a centimeter in diameter, abound, waiting to be collected at low tide. And from this, I urge you to remember that treasure comes in different sizes and is buried in different places. Time and tides can shift its position and reveal new kinds of riches. Don’t stop looking for new kinds of treasure, especially if one type starts to be depleted.
With these pieces of wisdom from Indian Point: grit is good but be wary of stubbornness, always take a paddle, kayaks are the best mode of transport, and sometimes treasure moves to the other side of the bay, let’s turn now to your vows. Marsh, please take Teressa’s hands, and repeat after me:
On this day and in this place,
And Teressa, please repeat after me:
Before you exchange your rings, I’d like to ask your gathered guests to support you in your marriage. Family and friends, will you celebrate with Marsh and Teressa in Joy, support them in Sorrow, Nurture their Love, and Watch them grow old together? [AYUH]
Teressa, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. May it always remind you of the commitment we have made.
Marsh, I give you this ring as a symbol of my love. May it always remind you of the commitment we have made.
By the power vested in me by the great state of Maine, I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss.
Let me the first to congratulate you and to thank you for letting me stand up here with you today.
Copyright 2000 - 2003, A. Marsh Gardiner