No. 1184



It has been said that marriage is a deal when a man gives away half of his groceries to get the other half cooked. You may or may not think this is funny, but it is nevertheless true -- after I finish this column I am heading to the grocery store.
Here in my later years I am happy to say the Lord has given me a fantastic wife with whom to spend the rest of my days. Both of us lost our mates later in life, and on September 8, 2015, Janis and I were married. We truly complete each other. We are from the older generation, and a Godly marriage where we are totally committed to each other is very important to both of us.
Apparently this is not the case, I am sad to say, for millions of the younger generation who are opting to live with each other without the traditional marriage vows, those that say, “For better or worse till death do us part.” According to Demographic Intelligence, an organization that keeps track of things like this, the marriage rate in America has hit a record low as one-fourth of millennials are likely to eschew marriage entirely. However, a lot of people would like to see marriage remain strong. It offers benefits to children, says Sam Sturgeon, Demographic Intelligence president.
It is with this backdrop that I would like to tell you about one of the most unique weddings I have ever attended. Over the past 20 plus years I have had the very best next-door neighbors that I have ever had in my life. They are Tom and Crystal Voegele, and Crystal has three beautiful daughters from a previous marriage. Her oldest daughter Canyon married Ryan Baker on June 9, 2018, in a ceremony at their home. Tom is a retired school principal and now has a tree service with employees who use “boom” trucks, chain saws, stump grinders and other equipment to perform a valuable service for people and companies all over our area.
Here is what made this wedding so unique. A few years back, Tom had a pond dug and stocked it with fish. He also built a dock, with benches and a beautiful pavilion on the pond bank like in the parks, where they can have family gatherings, barbecues and other outings even on rainy days. For seating at the wedding under the pavilion, they had a friend bring bales of straw to use rather than traditional chairs, and covered each one with a beautiful quilt to protect clothing. Out on the dock they had a beautiful altar with floral decorations, where Pastor Todd Vick could give the rites for Canyon and Ryan.
Another touch they added that I had never seen before: before the ceremony they had captured several beautiful butterflies. As the ceremony began, a number of participants released each one in honor of a deceased relative who had been special in Canyon and Ryan’s life. One I remember was Crystal’s father and Canyon’s grandfather, Bo Blankenship, who had recently passed away. I was privileged to know Bo personally. When everyone was seated, the ringbearers, the best man, the bridesmaids, and everyone involved had walked down the aisle between the bales of straw, the minister performed the ceremony and they were pronounced Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Baker.
After photos were taken, and smiles were all around, it was time to walk across the road to where a great tent and bar had been set up and some delicious food was ready for everyone to enjoy. What a day. God speed, Ryan and Canyon. You did it right.
(Editor’s Note: JIM DAVIDSON is an author, public speaker, syndicated columnist and founder of the Bookcase for Every Child project. Since its inception in 1995, Jim’s column has been self-syndicated to over 375 newspapers in 35 states, making it one of the most successful in the history of American journalism.)