Oh man, after my last divorce, and subsequent failed relationships, I was certain that I would never again marry. That last divorce, plus a "learning" relationship after that, just about killed me. When I think of my song titles and some of the lyrics from those days, the pain comes back, if only for a moment. Then I remember, like waking from a bad dream, that I am finally safe in the arms of love.
Marie and I met when I was living alone in my old Hawthorne Victorian, a cute little farm house I gardened to death. I was sitting under the rose arbor in the front yard, near the sidewalk. After homeowner and pedestrian shared hellos, we talked gardening, and became friends first. After a long email courtship, some dates, some TV time at her house, and sitting on her front porch, getting to know each other better and better, cupid drew back his bow. It was a wonderful time. We saved all of our emails, and Marie has bound them in a book, which we pull out from time to time. Marie and I are almost the same age. I am a year older. Of course this is correct since I am the boss. Seriously, I know that one reason Marie and I connected so deeply is that we know a lot of the same things, given our comparable age. We also realized over the course of our courtship, that we had so much in common, even small things, beyond politics and our views of life. It was almost scary. We discovered, for example, that we had exactly the same Monet motif umbrella, and the one night light we each owned was exactly the same ceramic night light, with a bizarre little embossed angel scene. Coincidence? I think not. But beyond that cuteness and mystery, and the fact that we make each other laugh a lot, Marie and I realized that we were very much in love, and could provide for each other the love and support we were both seeking.
So in June 2001, we got married, after a couple of years of cohabitating. Blaine was best man, and my daughters Stacey and Amy stood with us at the altar.
It didn't take long to decide to have our ceremony at The Classical Chinese Garden in Portland, where Marie has been a volunteer guide. It is an amazingly beautiful setting, right in the heart of downtown Portland. (Check out the rare Osmanthus tree at the entrance in November, the fragrance is unbelievable) However, there are precious few times when the garden is not open to the public, and available for a gathering like a wedding. But we were able to schedule an 8 a.m., Sunday morning time slot, to be followed by a reception and Dim Sum feast at a restaurant near the garden.
Everyone came! It was one of the most fun experiences of my entire life. Dear friends provided the music, the setting was sunny and beautiful, and Marie's brother-in law, a judge, performed the ceremony. Just before the ceremony began, he explained to us, that is, Amy. Stacey, Blaine, Marie and I, how he would proceed, and said, "And then I will say that part , if anyone wants to say anything speak now". At that moment, and without hesitation, my daughter Stacey lunged forward, there in the Pagoda by the pond, and with her arms stretched up, eyes rolled back in their sockets, exclaimed "Thank you God", her own hallelujah that her wayward Dad had found a bride. It was as cute as cute gets, and I will never forget it. However, I am relieved to say that Stacey did not perform this act during the actual ceremony.
The reception was a blast. The Dim Sum was exquisite, and just kept coming. Marie and I hadn't been able to decide how to pare down the menu, since there were so many delicious Dim Sum items we wanted to have, so we basically just ordered everything. It was completely over the top, right up my alley. It was so much fun to greet all of our friends in that setting.
But the whole day, our wedding, the reception, looking deeply into my bride's eyes as we said our vows, our tears, was a remarkable event, and a wonderful memory, to last a lifetime. And now, after several years of marital bliss, we are happier than ever. Marie is still the funniest, most amusing, kind, generous, talented, loving, intelligent, and beautiful real live angel on this mighty orb, and I am so blessed that she agreed to be my wife.
Here is a song I wrote and recorded about our marriage with the able assistance of my friend and guitar god Tim Ellis, in 2001, titled "Forever Marie".
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