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The Wedding of Heather Grace McKnight and Daniel Michael Eggermann

The Wedding of Heather Grace McKnight and Daniel Michael Eggermann


















    On July Fourth in the year of our Lord, 2008, the fireworks along the shores of the Great South Bay were minimal, but the celebration was contagious, especially at the Bourne Mansion on an estate now managed by St. John's University, in the recent past the site of LaSalle Academy.  The reason for the grand good feelings was not Independence Day (though all of us present were mindful of our debt of gratitude to the Founding Fathers).  We sang and danced and feasted and shouted in conversation in celebration of the marriage of a lawyer and a schoolteacher, Dan Eggermann and Heather McKnight.  But mostly we danced, as the photos below will amply illustrate.




    The festivities really began at three o'clock in the afternoon at Grace United Methodist Church, Valley Stream.  In that church Heather's musical aspirations had been encouraged and, over the years, had been on many occasions the setting for her vocal talent.  Heather did not sing at the service; her friend and classmate from SUNY Fredonia, Kelly DiStefano, soloed, Bob Dylan's, "To Make You Feel My Love," and Ian Bettridge's, "The Irish Wedding Song."  George Simmons, organist and accompanist, friend and mentor to the McKnight sisters over the years, was at the console and piano.  Pastor John Cole presided and retired pastor, Robert Howard, participated.  His message, which sets the theme for the arrangement of photos, is printed below. 

    The bridal party was alternately beautiful and handsome, seventeen in all, mostly family members, several friends, plus a nephew and a niece as the ringbearer and the flower girl. Kimberly Neri, Heather's sister, was the matron of honor, and very much a matron she was, having delivered her and Dan's third child just a few weeks earlier.  Peter Eggermann, a Long Island sailor and sail maker, was his brother's best man.  The readers were Nicole Botta and Kristin McHugh.  The sound of the pipes, so dear to the Celtic heart, could be heard before and after the ceremony.





    As promised, here's the text of the message to and for Dan and Heather:

Life as a Ball Room

            I have a confession to make to you, Heather and Dan.  I failed only one class in my entire life.  Dance class.  Miss Compton’s.  And Phil Jones’, even with private lessons.  The Lindy was my downfall. 

            Those of you not in the know will think me daft for dredging up a failure from my past for a message to newlyweds.  I think Heather and Dan understand where I am going. Because they are well-prepared for this evening’s party, the first dance and all the ones that follow: they’ve been taking lessons.  And they are far better students than I was.  In fact, they told me recently over chicken parmigiana that that is where they met.  No, not in an Italian restaurant, in dance class.  Where Dan went to meet women and Heather went to learn how to do ballroom dancing.  Both succeeded in their quests.  And now they propose to go through life together tripping the light fantastic.  See for yourself in a few hours at the Bourne Mansion.

            Fact is, that might just be an apt parable for your life together, ballroom dancing. It requires a partnership of give and take to do your turns with grace and beauty.  You cannot go your own way for very long or you will surely step on the other’s toes.  Communication, Phil Jones tried to teach me one afternoon in his studio; communication, not only with words, but with gestures and the gentle pressure of the hand.  I commend to you the example of a couple at whose 60th wedding anniversary they danced like Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers (whoever they were), a couple Heather might remember, from Lynbrook and Grace Church, Dorothy and Henry DeBeauchamp.  Yeah, dance, dance, dance together and fulfill the urging of Psalm 150 to “praise God with tambourine and dance.”

            And we – family and friends – will applaud, as we shall this afternoon, the lawyer and the schoolteacher, looking on, mind you, not just as spectators, but as those who love you and want for you the best and pledging ourselves to be there for you when circumstances go against you, as they do in every life, to help you regain your rhythm and balance, the better to weave your way gracefully through the ballrooms of life.

            By your own loyal and loving intention, with help from your friends, all within the overwhelming mercy of God, you will make beautiful music together, just as you are encouraged to do in that Scripture Reading from the Letter to Colossians, about gratitude in your hearts and singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.  And, Dan, if making music isn’t your forte, count on your dance partner to show you how: she’s always been an expert in that art. 

            God bless you!  We all bless you too!

    We gathered again at six in the evening twenty-five miles to the east for an evening filled with toasts, filet mignon, and lots and lots of dancing. Welcome to Bourne Mansion, Oakdale, New York!
























































































            Monday Heather and Dan flew off to Tahiti on their honeymoon.


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