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August 6, 2011…

It was an event one dreams about, and: 

Who wants a dream that’s near-fetched?

                                  Howard Schultz 

Memories of this day will last a lifetime – my son and daughter-in-law’s wedding.  And their wedding day was definitely not near-fetched. 

An August wedding; hot; in the mid-90s; nothing exceptional about that.  An outdoor ceremony at Boettcher Mansion on Lookout Mountain; for the Denver area, that was not unusual.  The reception was at our house (as you might already know from my earlier posts about our home landscaping project of the decade.)  Pretty near-fetched, so far. 

The bachelor’s party was a little different, I suppose.  We bought a shopping cart of ammunition at Wal-Mart and twelve of us went to shoot in the national forest for the day.  Although it was far from my personal comfort zone (I’m not really a “gun-guy”) it was a lot of fun for my son, and after all, it was his bachelor’s party.  

The morning of the wedding had scenes played out like most weddings.  The bride was up before dawn to get ready; photographer on hand to capture the moments.  Her hairdresser arrived at 6 a.m.; she had to wake her family and friends – guests at her house (many hung over from the rehearsal dinner the night before.)  You know – all the usual stuff. 

My son?  When we roused him and his hung-over groomsmen (who had slept over) they headed back to Wal-Mart to buy T-Shirts.  (A far-fetched, wedding tradition?)  A second photographer was on hand, – but let’s say their immodesty was not a great fit for their future family wedding album.  Boys will be boys, but again, still near-fetched, yes? 

Their wedding was an Irish-Cowboy kind of theme – kilts for the wedding party; and a cowboy hat for the preacher.  My son is 1/4th Irish (with rumor of a Scottish horse thief in his ancestry) and I’m 0/4th’s (but look pretty good in a kilt).  They had a bag piper perform at the ceremony; while the gazebo was decorated with beautiful green and white flowers coupled with their cowboy hats; ropes; and chaps – leaving the realm of near-fetched. 

Before pronouncing the couple wedded, the bag piper added in a quake; ever hear of that?  Me either.  It’s a 2-handed, triple-sized “shot”, filled with Irish whiskey, that the bride and groom took turns downing and then holding the quake upside down over their heads as a sign that they properly completed their vows.  And the preacher?  He is also the hay hauler my daughter-in-law uses for the equestrian center she manages.   (You can’t make this stuff up!) 

Immediately after the ceremony, it was lunch at the A&W in Golden.  We stopped in Golden so the wedding party could walk through the monthly antique car show.  (Doesn’t everybody?)  

Arriving at our house for an afternoon/evening reception – it wasn’t actually in our house.  The only building large enough for 100 guests is our riding arena, which provided welcome shade from the afternoon sun.  Our horses hung their heads over the gate to join us (naturally).  

Of course, this Irish-Scottish-Cowboy-Car Show wedding was catered by – who else?  – the Giggling Greek.  And dessert was provided by their friends who baked an “elk cake”; chocolate frosting on the outside; blood-red cake on the inside; just like any other wedding. 

Yes, the details of their occasion were a bit far-fetched – just like the kind of dreams that a lifetime are made of. 

GAP 

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Filling our hands…

This summer, I found myself waving to my neighbor every Saturday and Sunday morning; and again in the late afternoons.  He was headed due east to the country club and a round of golf.  

I was facing due west (back to the bright sunrise), waving to my neighbor from the working end of a wheel barrow.  My son’s wedding was August 6th and we hosted the reception in our back yard.  This is the same back yard that I had conveniently neglected for the eleven years since we moved into our house – I used to head south and play weekend golf. 

Of course, if you saw my golf game you’d agree that I often lost my way, too: 

A golfer, searching for a ball lost deep in the rough, asked the caddie, “Why do you keep looking at that pocket watch?  It isn’t a watch”, the caddie said.  “It’s a compass.” 

Unknown Sage 

So this summer my wife and I undertook the home landscaping project of the decade.  Thankfully, we had help; friends, family, neighbors; contractors.  Yep, we were the busiest house on the street.  And it was difficult.  To offer a hint at the difficulty, we shoveled over 130 tons of stone – 260 thousand pounds – all different shapes and sizes and colors.  Brought memories of golfers and their attire – all different shapes, sizes and colors. 

The feel of a shovel in my hands also reminded me of when I used to swing a golf club.  (Shovel vs. club – maybe that was the root of the problem with my game!)   I could never seem to hit the ball in the direction I was aiming.  Did I need to carry a compass?  It used to upset me, but not as much as some golfers: 

Golfer Tommy Bolt is known for his sweet swing and foul temper.  While giving a clinic to a group of amateurs, Bolt tried to show his softer side by involving his 14-year old son in the lesson.  “Show the nice folks what I taught you”, said Bolt.  His son obediently took a 9-iron, cursed, and hurled it into the sky.

                                  Thomas Roswell 

Nope, no foul tempers at our “club”.  I did mention once to my wife that for all the money we spent to get ready for the reception, we could have given our son and new daughter-in-law a destination wedding at an exotic golf resort (and paid to fly everyone there for the celebration!).   But she reminded me that our landscaping investment will last a lifetime – so, too our son’s marriage.  

I had to agree.  In the long run it really doesn’t matter how difficult any project is.  As M. Scott Peck offers about life (and it applies to golf, too): 

Life is difficult.  This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths.  It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it.  Once we know that life is difficult – then life is no longer difficult.  Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.   

Yes, marriage (and golf) is much more important than difficulties.  I doubt I’ll return to weekend golf.  But I’m sure we will find something to fill our weekends; our hands; and our marriage. 

And for the married golfers heading to the club next weekend; may the compass for your golf game (and for your marriage) always know where to find true north. 

GAP 

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Pursuing happiness

Posted Mar 3 2011 by in True North with 4 Comments

Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.

                                                                           Unknown

It’s amazing how hard people work today.  Extended business hours during the week; taking work home on the weekends; accepting increasing levels of stress; truly amazing.  And with our smart phones, we never get away from the office, yes?  It seems that there is no place to hide.  I see people with their phones while working out; in the grocery store check-out line; checking messages while in the bathroom; on the golf course; everywhere.  I have mine on too.

Rationalizing this phenomenon, some people defend these extra efforts.  “My company cut staff, so those of us left have to pick up the slack.”  “I need to pay off my college loans.”  “I have kids’ college educations to pay for.”  “I have to do this to compete for my big promotion.”  Others simply respond, “What do you mean?  This is what I’ve always done.”

And families?  I listen to the schedule some kids carry (with their parents usually in tow) and it’s even more amazing.  Advanced placement classes; extracurricular activities; sports leagues; instructional sports leagues; traveling sports leagues – WOW!  I can’t remember the last time I saw a group of kids in the neighborhood playing a pick-up game of softball.  Do you remember Hide-and-Seek; Statute-Maker; Red-Light-Green-Light?  Now studied by college students as a part of their anthropological history and ancient cultures curricula, I think.

Here’s another example – the circus.  When was the last time you went?  Me?  Well, as I write this little ditty, I’m looking in the mirror.  Guilty as charged!  So here’s my pledge:  The next time the circus comes to Denver, I’m going.  (And I’ll write to you about it too, OK?)  Now before raising any excuses or objections, let’s take heed of what Robert Fulghum said:

When the circus comes to town, go see it.  It’s the circus – does everything need explaining?

Agreed; making a living today is challenging.  There are also many, many exciting, rewarding and fulfilling pursuits that can really rev our engines up, too.  If you’re like me, you love your work.  Sometimes we might exaggerate the burden of our stress, the extra hours, and our extra effort when speaking to others because in our heart-of-hearts, we love our work.  We love the fruits of our labors, too: traveling; nice cars; beautiful homes; clothes.  Yes, we are blessed to be living in such a time of wealth. 

But how are we living?  What is the condition of our health, for instance?  It seems that I have more and more friends and colleagues my age and younger that are suffering from serious health afflictions; in some cases, life-threatening.  Even those of my friends that are workout nuts (more disciplined and in better shape than I ever have been), often look aged beyond their actual years.  Their talk of future goals now includes hip and/or knee replacements. 

Finding peace, happiness and fulfillment can be quite the mystery sometimes, don’t you agree?  When I think back to the last time I truly felt relaxed, content, secure, healthy, and fortunate – well, I think that was the last year I went to the circus!          

About Life:

Why do we work?  We work to make a living.  So if we aren’t really living, what is all this work for?

                                                                          Amy Robertson

Here’s to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – just what Amy and our Founding Fathers had in mind.   

                                                                           GAP

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