Just a little, funny story from our weekend to precede a "roast of the groom" with. Thursday our oldest son, and 3rd child, Jared, got married to LeeAnn Valgardson, from a pioneering Icelandic family of Taber, "sugar beet capital of Canada," east of Lethbridge, Alberta. They were married in the Edmonton temple in the early evening, and I was able to see the sealing room there for the first time. The Cardston temple, which used to be "my" temple (and will always be, in many ways), has 4 sealing rooms, but it seems all the new "mini-temples," while they only have 2 sealing rooms, have one which is a fair bit larger than the others, with 3 rows of chairs on each side of the altar.
When the sealer showed an envelope, filled with the Proclamation on the Family, their Alberta marriage licence and the temple wedding certificate, he told them it wasn't a good idea to lose this documentation, especially the marriage licence, and asked which of the two was the more responsible. My wife immediately pointed to LeeAnn. We saw some old friends Saturday at the reception in Taber. Originally from southern Alberta pioneer families, they had become accustomed to Ottawa (which is where we knew them from), but had recently decided to move back to a small Mormon town best known for its basketball players. They were recently in the paper for a court challenge they were mounting against the local school district on behalf of their 205-cm tall son (long story), but when they showed up in the lineup it was hugs all 'round, as I had not seen them since a business trip to Ottawa some 6 years ago. He used to be our bishop and also our dentist, and she's a vivacious, sophisticated and very striking woman. We found out that they left the reception in Taber to go to Medicine Hat, and were trying to get back to their hometown this morning (Sunday) in time for 09:00 Sacrament, so with her driving with her big-city lead foot, it was inevitable that they got stopped by the Mounties for speeding just outside Lethbridge. The mountie said he appreciated they were trying to get to church, and because of the time of year, he was giving them "the Christmas discount" and cut their fine in half: to $100. One wonders just how fast she was going on a 100 kph highway! One other thing we can tease her about. She is *not* enjoying small town life and longs for the big city again. Fortunately, she said, Calgary is only 2 hours away (a bit less if you use the "Granum gap" shortcut that we learned today to get around Fort Macleod). Well, anyway, just to share with everyone, here's the written version of my toast to the groom, although it's only a guide -- I always ad lib according to whim and sometimes even the Spirit, and pretended that I had been asked to "roast" the groom, but was only informed on my way up by my wife that it was a "toast" to the groom (that was my shtick; my brother, Craig -- whom Tom knows -- was the MC, and together we work a bit like the Smothers Brothers. We play to each other but in a way that makes it look like we keep misunderstanding each other. As Craig said to Jared after my toast, "Jared, if you ever want revenge on your Dad, let me know, and I'll tell you all kinds of stories...and some of them are even true.") ROAST OF THE GROOM On the way up here I was informed that I was supposed to give a “toast to the groom.” Unfortunately, when I was first given this assignment, I didn’t hear it properly, and at first I thought it was supposed to be the “rest of the broom” but I don’t even know where we keep the broom in our place, so I assumed it was meant to be the “roast of the groom.” It’s too late to change now, so Jared is about to be served up well-done. And he'll certainly be toast when I'm done with him. I think with a dash of HP sauce you’ll find him palatable. If not, try ketchup. If that doesn’t work, try more ketchup. Ketchup fixes everything. And what it won’t fix, duct tape or WD-40 will. I got that from an expert on TV. [the cognescenti will recognize the allusion to Red Green]. When Jared was first born, in Foothills Hospital in Calgary, he had these huge brown, puppy-dog eyes, and while all the nurses were cooing over him, “Oh, what a little cutie pie,” I was thinking, “Oh, I dunno, he looks all shrivelled and purple, just like all the other kids did.” But even I noticed the eyes, so I nicknamed him Tootsie Roll – you know, those big brown candies – and later, Gopher, since gophers have such big brown eyes, too. It was meant as an affectionate nickname, and I think he took it that way until a cousin from Cardston went and wrecked it all by telling Jared, who grew up in Ottawa, that in Alberta they shoot gophers. Well, we wouldn’t know up in Edmonton. We don’t have many gophers up there except for the ones who work for the government. Okay, now I get it – they are varmints. Finally, after more than 20 years, I think I see why Gopher, er, I mean, Jared, objected to it. But it could have been worse. He could have been Colleen, which case he wouldn't be marrying LeeAnn this week (one presumes). Cathy and I pretty well figured we were going to have four children (I knew the limits of my sanity even though I decided to get married), so we had four boys' names and four girls' names picked out. The girls were going to be named after the four main cultural areas of the British Isles: Scotland first, of course, England a distant second, then Ireland and Wales. So Jared’s oldest sister is Heather, and his next-oldest sibling, our second child, is named Gillian. After all her American relatives kept asking her where her island was and whether she knew Ginger and Mary Anne, Gillian started going by Jill. Since “X-Files” became popular, a show which stars the actress Gillian Anderson, it hasn’t been so bad. But back to Jared. Colleen, an Irish name, would have been next, so you’re free to call him Colleen and he’ll know you mean him. Now, LeeAnn might find this confusing, but she picked him, so it’s now her problem, not ours. He inherited his dark hair and dark complexion from me. He’s hoping he’s inherited his maternal grandfather’s hair follicles, though. His Grandpa White had all of his hair intact ‘til the day he died. But male pattern baldness is a dominant gene. LeeAnn, don’t say I didn’t warn you. Don’t spend a lot on combs for him. [In the Spruce Grove version I had my brother-in-law, who's the same age as I, stand up -- he has snow white hair, so I told Jared he had a choice, but if I were him I'd go with Uncle Rick's white hair because you could always dye it. In the Taber version, where my Dad gave the Advice to the Couple in a ring ceremony in the chapel, I told Jared that a vision of the middle future could be seen reflected off my scalp, and a vision of the distant future could be seen reflected off Grandpa's scalp, at which point my Dad stood up and bowed towards Jared]. Now to get serious for a moment. I remember being set apart as a missionary by Ted E. Brewerton, who was my stake president in Calgary at the time, and who had been my bishop. He’s now an Emeritus Seventy. Pres. Brewerton blessed me with the gift of tongues but he explained that once a dispensation has started, this does not mean the speak-ing in tongues as is recorded in the early history of the Church, both in the Meridian of Time and in the Latter-day dispensations – in fact, this was one of the things Paul was trying to point out in his famous discourse on faith, hope and charity in I Corinthians 13. Well, I had never done well in French—I am an Albertan, after all, so I had my doubts, but it turns out I was sent to Germany and the language came very easily to me. I don’t know if spiritual gifts are hereditary. [In Spruce Grove, the "honorary matriarch" of our ward, Faye Davies, interjected that they are, so I said, "Sister Davies says they are, and she's the ward's authority, so I'll take her word for it."] We have to give our children some credit for their own capabilities, after all. But Jared has the gift of tongues like few I’ve ever met. I remember meeting then-Elders Monson and Hinckley. I worked in the mission office in Munich in 1974 and they were en route to countries behind the Iron Curtain, trips they made rather more often than I think is realized today. Elder Monson, who had been the mission president in Toronto years ago, buttonholed me when he found out I was Canadian and we talked until we found someone we both knew in common, a brother named C. Malcolm Warner. Well, Elder Monson told me that the Iron Curtain wasn’t going to last forever, and it was part of his job to prepare for the day when it came down. I didn’t think too much more about that. It was pretty solid at that time. Little did I know that my own son would serve his mission behind that “Iron Curtain.” And little did I know that my modest gift of tongues would be eclipsed by Jared, who is fluent in three foreign languages, four if you count American. In his mission, he managed to get transferred back and forth across the European-Asian border as he served in the Yekaterinburg Mission, which is in the Ural Mountains, which divides European Russia from Siberia, or Asian Russia. I'm not sure we ever did train our bishop in the proper pronunciation of "Yekaterinburg." He was also fortunate enough to serve in an area with a strong Moslem influence – the province of Bashkortostan. I suspect Jared may someday be just as surprised to see someone – maybe one of his own children – serve in a Moslem nation. But that’s not a prophecy. I think the only thing I’m going to go out on a limb and prophesy is that Jared and LeeAnn’s children will probably not be midgets (LeeAnn is a good 180 cm tall -- as tall as Jared and I, and all her siblings are tall.) Jared was always a doodler, and liked to draw. He became famous in the MTC for drawing pictures of the other missionaries. He did so well at learning Russian that he had time to draw, and he gave many of his pictures away. He’s always been artistic, and at times has the head-in-the-clouds distant look that artists have. That’s why we always make sure he ties his shoelaces. When he laughs, he laughs with his face, not his voice. A former bishop of ours, Rob Burnham, told us a story once about a junior high dance Jared was at, which Bishop Burnham was helping to chaperone. Br. Burnham observed that at one point, during a slow dance, a girl put his arms around his neck. Jared took her hands and put them on his shoulder and waist. Ironically, the girls respected this and wanted to dance with him because he showed them respect like that. He loved to jive, and he and his sisters practised together. Which is why we recently replaced a combination fan/chandelier kind of gizmo in our family room [JWR -- that white thingamajig I pointed out to you between where you were sitting and the TV, on the ceiling], which Jared careened into once, launching himself off the coffee table. He’s always one to use his head like that. Whenever we come to signs that say “low-hanging bridge ahead” we always slow down if Jared’s in the car. I can’t tell any naughty stories about Jared in school, because he always managed to eat the notes the principal and his teachers would send home with him, so at least you know he shows grace under pressure and a certain amount of innovative initiative. Well, and it shows something about the quality of school cafeterias in Ontario. There’s a lot of other things I could say about him, but it takes long enough to give him a haircut these days as it is, so I don’t want to swell his head. Besides, I hope he enjoys his hair as long as it lasts. And I’m keeping this speech and I’m going to show it to him in 20 years, as a guarantee, so he doesn’t put me in a shabby old folks home like the Simpsons did on TV with Grandpa Abe. -- Marc A. Schindler Spruce Grove, Alberta, Canada -- Gateway to the Boreal Parkland “Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on” – Winston Churchill Note: This communication represents the informal personal views of the author solely; its contents do not necessarily reflect those of the author’s employer, nor those of any organization with which the author may be associated. ////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// /// ZION LIST CHARTER: Please read it at /// /// http://www.zionsbest.com/charter.html /// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ==^^=============================================================== This email was sent to: firstname.lastname@example.org EASY UNSUBSCRIBE click here: http://topica.com/u/?aaP9AU.bWix1n.YXJjaGl2 Or send an email to: [EMAIL PROTECTED] T O P I C A -- Register now to manage your mail! http://www.topica.com/partner/tag02/register ==^^===============================================================