43 Years ago today my wife and I publicly declared that we were wife and husband.
It was cold! After all, northern Minnesota in February what would you expect. It got to a high of 10° about the time of the wedding (1 PM), and dropped to -40° that night.
Why February 20? Well, in the ancient days, the pastor would not marry anyone during Lent. So instead of our original plans for a March 20 wedding (spring break from college), we had to move the wedding to the Saturday before Ash Wednesday. The irony? The altar guild had already put up the purple paraments, so our non-Lenten wedding has purple theme.
Our wedding was at Mount Olive Lutheran, Bovey, MN. The photographer was famous for the painting “Grace.” The Enstrom shop was only two blocks from the church.
The night before
With the rehearsal completed, we all went to my parents’ house (and mine until the next day). Where did we find room to fit all those people in our small house??
My groomsmen were my two brothers and my wife’s brother. Ushers were three college friends: Benjamin Tsang [Hong Kong], Paul Bentrup, and Randy Wourms. Standing with my bride were: her sister, her closest friend from high school, and my younger brother’s girl friend at the time.
Everyone left by 10 PM. Growing up on the farm, we didn’t have many late nights.
One PM wedding, so late breakfast, early lunch at our house. Not sure about at my wife’s house. One word to describe it outside? Cold!
The wedding was about ½ hour long, but we had used the extended vows (by our request). The church was packed (about 150 people), in the balcony and around the main level, and some couldn’t even get into the church.
Photos were taken soon afterward, as well as outside. How did my wife stand in 10° weather with only her wedding dress on for the photos? Can’t imagine! At least I had on a tux coat.
Then a one block walk to the City Hall for our reception, about 300 people. Food, food, and more food!! As that wore down, the entire wedding party moved to my in-laws house. We had supper about 6 PM, and then a wedding dance near our home. Again a packed house with polkas, schottisches, waltzes, and some mid 60’s rock and country.
We left about 11 PM (Why did we stay so late??) We drove to Cass Lake to stay in an $8/night room.
The next morning, on our way back to our new home, we stopped at Randy’s parent’s restaurant in Cohasset, MN. Great meal. And what a surprise, after the meal they told us that the meal was their wedding present to us!
Where has the time gone?
We have moved 28 times since the marriage. I taught high school math and physics, taught one year Calculus in college. I served on active duty in the US Navy (Intelligence) for 9½ years. I graduated with MDiv and STM from Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, serving congregations in Nebraska and Missouri. I served as an analyst at Sprint for 8 years, and have served in The AALC since 2008, as President of American Lutheran Theological Seminary and Pastor of Shepherd of the Mountains Lutheran Church, Frazier Park, CA.
It’s been a ride! Many times fun, exhilarating, uncertain, discouraging, and joyful. The biggest thing is that we have shared God and His love in Jesus Christ. And we have two sons, a daughter-in-law that is more like a daughter, five grandchildren, and one great grandson.
God is good, faithful, our Rock and Fortress — as always.