The Wedding of Brenda Joy Munson and Gregory Todd Rutherford
Saturday, October 17th, 2015, at three o'clock in the afternoon, a warm early fall day, at Grace United Methodist Church, Valley Stream NY, Brenda Munson and Greg Rutherford were united in marriage in a service in the church's chapel. I presided and the church's pastor, Gertude Nation, participated.
Shortly after a visit in mid-May to the parish I served for one shy of thirty years, one of my junior highs, now an executive in Manhattan, emailed me to request that I preside at her wedding. It would be her first marriage. She had left home in the Nassau suburb for domiciles west fifteen years before I retired; prior to which she was a regular in my Sunday afternoon junior high youth fellowships, the church's girls' basketball team, and the sacred dance group. For a couple of years she also worked on weekends as the church building custodian. And she was the sister of my second church secretary and the daughter of the woman who was my secretary for nearly twenty years. I didn't have to weigh any decision about doing the nuptials and replied to Brenda: "Sure!"
She and her groom-to-be, Greg Rutherford, met for lunch with Barbara and me in Port Jefferson in late June. For the Connecticut Yankees it was another pleasant ferry ride across Long Island Sound, this time to renew ties with Brenda, meet Greg, and let them decide whether or not the old pastor was still up to it. We enjoyed a nostalgic and informative couple of hours in an Italian restaurant a brief walk from the ferry pier... and, as we parted, Brenda was still of a mind to have me preside at their marriage.
The wedding service was very much a family affair in a setting with which the Munsons and O'Briens (Brenda's sister's family) were abundantly acquainted. Brenda's friend from Grace Church, violinist Kim Neri, played the music before and after the wedding, accompanied by the church's music director Kenneth Richardson. Brenda's nephew and niece, Kyle and Samantha O'Brien, ushered and distributed the worship programs.
Brenda and Greg asked for the service, among other things like traditional vows and simplicity of ritual, brevity. I did my best with the message to them. Judge for yourself:
The O'Brien children, four of whom spent many Sunday afternoons with me as we fulfilled the motto I coined for the Junior High Youth Fellowship: "Join the Junior Highs and See the World," meaning mostly New York City and its surrounding enticements. In the photo which follows you can glimpse (as in a mirror darkly) the silhouettes of the now-not-so-young O'Brien offspring. Greeting them and catching up on the way they are making through life was an expected pleasure of the nuptial events... which, happily, afforded me the opportunity to learn just what my O'Brien junior highs, the generation before them, and the generation after them, were up to.
The wedding was surrounded with culinary treats in and near the gourmet capital of Nassau County, Rockville Centre. The Blue Moon Cafe, the Coral House and the Chat Noir convinced me that West Hartford, previously first on my list for four star places to dine, may have to give over to Long Island's grub hub.
The bride and groom and others in the bridal party flew off the following week to Mexico to visit with Greg's dad, a retired U. S. naval officer.
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