Well a man shall leave his mother and a woman leave her home And they shall travel on to where the two shall be as one. As it was in the beginning is now and until the end Woman draws her life from man and gives it back again. And there is Love. There is Love. Well then what's to be the reason for becoming man and wife? Is it Love that brings you here or Love that brings you life? Or if loving is the answer, then who's the giving for? Do you believe in something that you've never seen before? Oh there's Love, there is Love. Oh the marriage of your spirits here has caused Him to remain For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name There is Love. Oh there's Love. Those are the words of Peter, Paul and Mary’s The Wedding Song. 30 years ago, those words began the wedding of Ruth Herman and Daniel Wells. 33 years ago, those words began the wedding of Sharon Herbert and Robert F. Clark. Today, those words began the wedding of Meagan Maritty Wells and Robert Martin Clark. Welcome to Meagan and Robert’s wedding! * * * Meagan and Robert: Today is a day of new beginnings. There are many things, and many people who have brought you to this once-in-a-lifetime moment. Like a painting with thousands of strokes of the brush, each with its own curious flow and twirl, so many moments became the canvas of the two of you. Likewise, you both have done your own painting. Your own marks rest upon all these people gathered around you today, show you what you bring to your marriage. How you love each other is the personification of yourselves and a compass for your marriage. Even how you first encountered each other gives us predictors of your life together. As Meagan tells it, “The first time I met Robert was during summer conference training at the U of O, I saw this kid come out of his blue Volvo with his pants sagging just under his knees, and his head topped with a beanie, despite it being summer. I was certain that this was going to be a long summer with someone who was a professional slacker-- I was sure that this kid was going to be a stoner.” However, despite his facade, Robert proved to be anything but that, he was a hard worker, funny, and defiantly not a
stoner. You can't judge a book by its cover, and apparently you can't judge a Robert by the sag of his pants. As many may know, or at least will know now, Robert doesn't exactly have an ironclad memory. He tends to leave things behind. Many things. Many times. For example, the first time Robert and Meagan made cookies togetherâ€Ś At Robert's apartment, they started to gather the ingredients, only to find that they didn't have all of things they need for the cookies. They walked down the stairs and a couple of blocks down to the little store to shop. Once back at the apartment, the baking commenced, at least until Robert realized once more that they were without some other crucial cookie ingredients. Back to the store they went. Meagan found this to be cute, even when they had to walk to the store for the third time. Despite the frequent trips to the store and back, Meagan attests that these were the best cookies ever. However, one thing that Robert has never forgotten was Meagan. When she moved to Portland to work on her Masters degree, Robert was finishing his degree in Eugene. From Eugene to Meagan's apartment was exactly 110 miles. Mileage was never a barrier for Robert; frequently he'd be on the road to see Meagan. One day, Meagan had had an emotionally draining day while working at a mental health treatment center for kids. Even after a day full of classes, tests, and an evening brimming with homework, Robert drove all 220 miles of the round trip to help salvage Meagan's day with a dinner. If devotion is measured in miles, Robert will make the best husband ever. Meagan has always had the habit of wearing sandals in winter. The winter after they met, Meagan continued to wear sandals. Unsurprisingly, she always complained of cold feet. Always the gentleman, Robert would offer to sit on her feet to keep Meagan warm. Meagan's cold feet must have warmed Robert's heart because the first time he asked if she liked him, Meagan carefully crafted her response and said, "I dunno, do you like me?" Right before Robert had to leave for work, he summoned the courage and told Meagan that he did like her and she confirmed her feelings for him. After a brief hug, Robert left for work and here we are today. Obviously, Robert must be doing a good job because, as you can see, Meagan has shown no sign of cold feet. We live in a world where people are often preoccupied with how they are perceived and how they fit into the categories that we're all supposed to fit into. Men are meant to be rugged, emotionless, callous, and anything but gentle and loving, or so we are told. Robert is a category unto himself. While he is a man, he is none of those other things. Refreshingly, Robert decides his own rules of what a man is. Being a man, for Robert, is being tender. Tender, as in seeing him at his parents' house, hunched over cartons of hard boiled eggs waiting to be painted for Easter, and then the requisite hunt afterwards. For Robert, being loving is also part of being a man, and not just reserving it for your significant other. Loving, as in sitting with his dad, arms around each other at the dinner table, or cuddled up to his mom on the couch. Emotions are important for Robert, he has never once shied away from showing Meagan what he feels, especially when it is a feeling of longing for her. On the
weekends when he couldn't make it up to Portland, Meagan was besieged with text message pictures of Robert and "Domo" throughout the weekend. Domo is the stuffed toy that traveled with Robert and Meagan on trips, and it was Domo who actually presented Meagan with her engagement ring when Robert proposed during a bicycle trip on the beach. On this particular weekend, Domo was seen shopping, studying, on a bike ride, or even at work, it was obvious that Domo missed Meagan, and even more apparent, Robert missed her. Thankfully, Robert is unlike the categorized man. He is a category unto himself, which seems to fit perfectly with Meagan. Meagan, there are many moments that you and I have shared. It seemed like just a moment ago, you and I were sprawled on the living room floor, playing cars-- of course, you had to pick them up-- flying down one of our many slip 'n slides, or you up on the swing set and me in the plum tree so as we could play our favorite game of "Throw Plums at Meagan." Although I maintain that I was a pretty good brother, I definitely had my moments of torturous behavior. Despite that, you still gave me some very sweet and profound moments of kindness that will last me a lifetime. Like the time I broke my foot when I was ten-- you were just a little blonde five year-old. Dad had pulled the car around to the front of the house, ready to cart me off to the hospital. Once I was loaded into the car, you came racing out the front door clutching something in your hands. Just before I could get the door shut, just in front of my eyes, two little hands held my favorite teddy bear, Brownie. Even at five, you had such a perfect sense of compassion and empathy. Almost nineteen years later, that quality is still within you and I know that this wisdom and understanding will be a constant source of strength for you and Robert as you plow through the ups and downs that are part of any marriage. Often, when someone meets the family of their significant other for the first time, it is an awkward and tense moment, worsened by the slow drag of the minute hand and the on-rush of sweat. That captures what happened the first time Robert came to visit the Wells household...only it wasnâ€™t Robert who was moments from an unforgettable first encounter. Everyone there had met Robert except for Meagan's mom. Because the Wellses are a family of sarcasm and jokes, I thought that this moment was the perfect time for a prank. I'm sure Robert was nervous to meet my mom, but in turn, my mom was apprehensive about meeting Meaganâ€™s new boyfriend-- the situation was primed. My mom was mining for any information about Robert. We told her about the sag of his pants, his love of Hondas, and how he was a nice guy--with one catch. We informed my mom that sadly, this very nice young man suffered from a pronounced lisp. Granted, not the most appropriate of jokes, but my mom looked concerned, and was probably worried that she wouldn't be able to politely ignore it. The big day came with a knock at the door. In walked Robert who was informed of the devious plot. Sitting in the living room, Robert rose to shake hands and meet my mom for the first as she came out of the kitchen. Taking his beanie off with one hand and with the other hand outstretched, he politely said, "Nith to meet you Mithz Wellthz." The group lost their composure, riotously laughing at the situation. We were all certain that our joke was a bust because of our laughter. My mom, on the other hand, was mortified to the point of outrage. She defended poor Robert, proclaiming her shock and extreme
dismay that she was surrounded by people who could be so incredibly rude and amazingly insensitive that they would actually laugh out loud at another person’s disability. After her diatribe about understanding and compassion, we let her in on the rouse. At this point, she informed all of us that we were jerks, even Robert only after five minutes in her home. But after those five minutes, Robert was more than a jerk--he was family. Instantly, he had fit into our group and learned to express love for each other in the backwards and insane way that we do, and for that, we can only return our love for him. Robert, fake lisp and all, we love you just the way you are and for everything that you do for Meagan and everything you mean to her... and us. The connection a couple shares is important. Many couples have found each other because of a sappy love song, some ballad that strums their heart. But not Robert and Meagan. As Robert recalls it, the songs they connected over didn't have anything to do with falling in love, rather, they preached the fondness of bicycles and 'fat-bottomed girls'. Long before Meagan made Robert's heart skip a beat, she was working with him and was listening to Queen, specifically their song, Bicycle Race. Because of his fondness for bikes, and the volume at which Meagan was blaring the song, Robert started to incessantly tease her about how much she loved bikes. He even slipped in a few Fatbottomed Girls jokes. To this day, Robert maintains that this is where their friendship took root and then flowered into best-friends and now true loves. This goes to show that you never know where things may lead, but we all here wish for Meagan and Robert countless fat-bottomed, bicycle-racing years. Every relationship has its ups and downs, and Robert and Meagan’s has been no exception. My father’s friend Jerry has been obsessed with a foreign and very strange looking fruit called a durian. So during one visit to our house, my dad finally took Jerry to an Asian grocery store to buy the legendarily stinky fruit that was so supposed to smell so bad that it’s unbearable. Once home, Jerry, my Dad, and Robert bravely attacked the fruited beast with a knife, releasing the most vile stench anyone could possibly imagine. My mom put duct tape and bandanas over her face to evade the noxious smell, but Meagan declared the odor unbearable, grabbed her purse, and ran out the door, calling for Robert to follow. Robert stopped eating the durian and ran after Meagan. Everyone else piled out the front door to watch Meg’s escape from the hideous fumes. Meg was already in the driver’s seat with the car running when Robert reached the passenger side door, and as soon as it shut, Meagan’s car sped away. Before we could turn around to head back to the house, Meagan’s car squealed to a stop, just a half block away. The passenger door opened, and out jumped Robert. Meagan refused to let him back in the car until he sprayed himself with Febreeze and sufficiently diminished the Durian stink enough to qualify to ride with her. Perhaps that’s what people mean when they say marriages are for better or worse. When little, Meg always was dressing up, often as ballerina but she had many looks she would favor. She loved to wear Jane Fonda style aerobic dance workout clothes that always included a many-sizes-too-big-adult leotard, baggy pink tights that sagged
around her knees, and an adult size, big black sweat band that covered the entire top half her forehead and drooped towards her eyes. To complete her "exercise girl" look, she added bright purple leg warmers borrowed from her mom, that were 200 sizes too big for her. Most days were filled with unending costume changes. She especially loved flowing, lacey ballerina princess skirts and dresses when little, and spent much of her childhood dressed like a ballerina even though she hated ballet, and adamantly refused to go to ballet lessons at the dance studio a block away that was owned by her best friend's mother. Fast forward 20 years: After Meg and Robert decided to get married, Meg and her mom went together to pick out her bridal gown. The bridal consultant asked her what type of dress she wanted. Meg was more than ready with her answer, and she offered it emphatically and unequivocally: "No lace! No ribbon! No sequins! None. And I'm not flexible about it." The bridal consultant forced a thin, polite smile and furrowed her brow as she nodded. Meagan's edict had effectively eliminated nearly every wedding gown in the entire store. Nonetheless, Meg, her mom and the store clerk dutifully begin to search for a very plain, unadorned, no-lace, no-ribbon, no-sequin gown. Meg rejected most dresses suggested to her with a quick dismissive glance. "I see lace on it." "I SAID 'no ribbon.'" "Don't you see all that sparkle?" They all continue to hunt through rack after rack for an Amish or Quaker style wedding dress waiting to be discovered amidst the unending glitter, lace, and sparkles. Running out of dresses to consider, Meg's mom can't resist showing Meagan an unusual, antique-looking, delicate golden-ivory princess dress covered in miles of puffy lace and adorned with ribbon and be-jeweled in countless sparkles. "No lace! No ribbon! No sequins!" Meg repeated, indicting and dismissing the dress on all three counts, and immediately refusing to try it on or even look at it for more than an instant. Perhaps feeling guilty or charitable, or noticing she is running out of dresses to hunt through, Meg suddenly reverses herself with a sigh, and reluctantly agrees to at least try on the contraband lacy, sparkly dress. Once in the dressing room, the forbidden dress was the third gown she tried on, but the first dress that fought her as she tried to wiggle inside the layers and layers of lacy fabric. Meg grumbled as she twisted, turned and contorted her way through the miles and miles of unending lace that made up the elaborate, flow-ey dress. Still a bit grumpy from her battle with the never-ending lace, Meg turned to look at herself in the dressing room mirror, and in that instant she realized she was wearing her wedding gown. The image of her in that gown was the exact look she had always had as a little girl when she spent each day dressed like a ballet princess. As we watched Meagan grow up, we never imagined that all those constant costume changes were practice for her most special day, and this most special hour, that our little ballet princess would one day be come our beautiful princess bride. Our beautiful princess bride now stands here next to the boy of her dreams. Robert stands hereâ€Śwondering about the car of his dreams. While no one doubts Robertâ€™s love for Meagan, those that know Robert cannot help but wonder if Meagan and
Robert’s Honda Civic were drowning, who would Robert save? It would be wrong to say that Robert is completely, totally, overwhelmingly obsessed with his Honda Civic. That would be an insult to obsessive people everywhere. The relationship that Robert has with his Civic can only be compared in intensity, devotion, dedication, and attachment to well…a marriage. Robert has upgraded, cleaned, re-tooled, re-painted, polished, and double- and triple-checked every part, every nut, every bolt, every everything on his beloved Honda--and that was just what he did yesterday. When Robert and his friends want to get crazy and go nuts, they pull all their little Hondas into the Wells’ driveway, the wash, re-wash, polish, re-polish, repeat, and re-repeat, while consulting each other about invisible, imaginary imperfections. Once the wringing of hands and chamois is complete, Robert and his friends carefully arrange their Hondas next to each other, positioning them at precise angles, like chorus girls in a Vegas chorus line, before taking glamour shots with their cameras, and posting the pictures of their beloveds on the internet. The Wells family believes that if Robert can shower Meagan with just 10% of the love and care he bestows his Honda, that this marriage will easily last a 100,000 miles. Meagan may be no Honda, but Meagan has always held her own. She devoted her toddler years to always showing me up, even though I am her five-year-older brother. When I was six, struggling to master shoe-tying and untying, Meagan would crawl over, grab a shoe lace, tug, and the knot would unravel before my frustrated eyes. Growing up, Meagan's greatest battles were at the dinner table, as she defended her unusual dietary habits. Meagan willingly ate only three foods: chicken… noodles… and salt. Even our first phrases give a glimpse of us and how Meagan was the better child. My first phrase was, "bad dog," where as Meagan's was, "Right, Chris?" Although I didn’t realize it at the time, Meagan actually looked up to me. She would say or do something and then look to me with her pink little cheeks for my approval. "Right, Chris?" Last year, I was coaching a football game in LaPine, Oregon. It had been an intense game and we were in the fourth quarter. Suddenly, my pocket started to vibrate. After giving my input on a play over the headset, I pulled out my phone, slipping one side of the headphones off my ear, I answered. It was Meagan, she excitedly told me, "Robert asked me to marry him!" After my bout of speechlessness, I told her how amazing that was and how great of a guy Robert is. I was beyond proud and happy. After slipping my headphones back on and telling the entire coaching staff that my baby sister was now engaged, I had to think about it. Just like her first phrase, Meagan had just asked me, "Right, Chris?" Now that we're face-to-face, I can say, "Yes, Meg, you've never been more right."
* * * Standing on the edge of this awe-inspiring day, we are here to bear witness and join together the lives of Meagan Marrity Wells and Robert Martin Clark, two best friends. We understand that we are here because this ceremony, in part, is a formality, a
requirement by the state of Oregon. However, this ceremony does not promise love or even require it; however, it is you two, Meagan and Robert, that have brought love here from your everyday lives. It is not just you that stands before us, it is your love for one another. As you will be married today, you will be husband and wife-- but this is only the first step. As many of the people here can attest, marriage isn’t just a beautiful ceremony before friends and family; marriage is found in the every day, in the minutes and small details that are sewn into each day. Have a deep and profound love of these grand moments, the ones that have require special words and fill picture albums. But remember, remember that these are rare in busy lives. However, give testimony to the little things in your lives together that may get only a moment’s thought: a touch here, a little note there, a kiss on the forehead, or even asking, “How was your day?” These things, as trivial as they may seem, are the underpinnings of your lives together. These small things existed between you, long before any of us knew that we were going to stand here today. I would venture a guess that these small things existed before even you two knew you would be here as well. Realize these little moments, these dew drops of happiness. Recognize that marriage is not just a partnership or equality. Yes, most of the time, marriage is about sharing and completing each other, but there will be times when sharing and completing are not enough. Rather, in these times, the world will press down upon you, and you will need one another to hold you, to reassure you, and, at times, to carry you. Let the world bring its might against you, batter your doors, smash out your windows, break apart everything else—as long as you two are embraced, the world is nothing more than a blustery mosquito. As you will be husband and wife, you must understand that this is a happy and fairytale beginning to a long life together—as it should be—but, the responsibility of taking this fairytale through its entirety rests upon your shoulders. To be in love, to be married means to be forgetful: • • • •
Be forgetful of yourself. Set aside your needs and take up the needs of your partner, because only then, will both of you get what you desire. Be forgetful of each other’s quirks and faults. Learn to love those things that aggravate you, irritate you, or even make you laugh. Be forgetful of arguments. Much like a match, it serves a purpose but is only useful once. Be forgetful of restraint. Throw caution to the wind, love each other with an unceasing sense of passion and recklessness. Love dangerously. Love on the edge. Be forgetful of time. Try to do as much, see as much, experience as much, and love as much as you can as a couple, because no matter what, there will never be enough time. Be forgetful of where you have been. Now there is only where you will go.
• • •
Be forgetful of possessions. The only tangible thing of any importance is that hand that is in your hand right now. Let the world fall away, let every possession be taken from you—and you are still the wealthiest people in the world. Be forgetful of how to talk. Know your partner well enough to say a thousand words, without saying a single word. Be forgetful of how many times you have said, “I love you” and always assume you haven’t said it enough. Be forgetful of the world around you, for you two are now a world unto yourselves. * * *
There are of course, some things you must never forget. This moment and the vows you are about to speak are among those things that can never be forgotten. Meagan and Robert: You stand here today surrounded by your family and friends. 33 years ago, some of the same family and friends surrounded a young couple on the day of their marriage, and witnessed them saying the words you will say today. The vows you will make to each other on this day of your marriage, are the same vows that Robert’s parents spoke to each other on the day of their marriage 33 years ago. Do you Robert, take Meagan, to be your lawful wedded wife, to love, cherish, to have and to hold, and do you promise, forsaking all others to be faithful to her and to her alone, as long as you both shall live? ROBERT: “I do.” Do you Meagan, take Robert, to be your lawful wedded husband, to love, cherish, to have and to hold, and do you promise, forsaking all others to be faithful to him and to him alone, as long as you both shall live? MEAGAN: “I do.” Please repeat after me: ROBERT: “I, Robert, take you Meagan, to be my wedded wife, and I do promise to be your loving and faithful husband, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live.” MEAGAN: “I, Meagan, take you Robert, to be my wedded husband, and I do promise to be your loving and faithful wife, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in sickness and in health as long as we both shall live.”
As a token of the vows that you have made, and as an indication of the faithfulness with
which you intend to keep them, you may now exchange wedding rings. Robert, as you place this ring on the finger of your beloved, repeat these words: “This ring I give you as a token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love.” Meagan, as you place this ring on the finger of your beloved, repeat these words: “This ring I give you as a token and pledge of our constant faith and abiding love.” * * * By the power invested in me, I now pronounce you husband and wife.
Robert, please kiss my sister. [Kiss] * * * Almost exactly 30 years ago, some of the same family and friends that surround you today, watched a young couple marry on another beautiful summer afternoon. On that day, Judge William Wells, Meagan’s grandfather, officiated at the wedding of Meagan’s parents. Since "Papa" is no longer with us, please allow me to speak for him. I will conclude this ceremony with some of the same words that our grandfather used to conclude our parents’ wedding so many years ago: “May you two, now married, keep this covenant you have made. May you be a blessing and a comfort to each other, sharers of each other's joys, consolers in each other's sorrows, helpers to each other in all the vicissitudes of life. May you encourage each other in whatever you set out to achieve. May you, trusting each other, trust life and not be afraid. Yet may you not only accept and give affection between yourself, but also together have affection and consideration for others. We who are here present, those who are absent thinking of you, hope that the inspiration of this hour will not be forgotten. May you continue to love one another, forever.” May I be the first to proudly introduce to you Mr. and Mrs. Robert M. Clark ******************* [Music and Recessional]