The Wedding of Mandy Howie and Edward Bruce Roth Jr
The Wedding of Mandy Howie and Edward Bruce Roth Jr.
Saturday, March 29th, in the early evening Marryin' Bob presided over the nuptials of another former Junior High and his beloved. Eddie Roth and Mandy Howie, offspring of firemanic families, joined hands and hearts at the Stewart Manor Country Club before a crowd of family and friends, not a few of whom serve as fireman volunteers in Valley Stream and Lawrence. Eddie holds down several jobs, including part-time custodian at Forest Road School, while awaiting word of certification and employment as a county firefighter dispatcher. Mandy's Dad was chief of the Meadowmere Park Volunteer Fire Department for several years. Eddie's Dad, who died last August 31st, had been celebrated earlier by the Valley Stream Fire Department as an honorary chief for his lifetime of service.
I have in my rounds come upon people with a fondness for a particular color. Purple seems to have the most devotees. In Valley Stream it was Lois Ward, Tom's sweetheart of many, many years. I've always been partial to maroon or blue. But never before have I seen or heard of an obsession with orange. That's the bride's favorite color, amply evident in the photos here, and in one in particular of the couple's wedding footwear. Napkins, flowers, maybe even vegetables on the main dish, show Mandy's preference.
We were supposed to have an outdoor wedding; but the weather, true to its bias this entire winter of 2014, was not just bad, it was positively forbidding. My umbrella turned inside out on the short walk from the parking lot to the main entrance. My dress suit and robe are still at the dry cleaner's for rehabilitation. If the rain roared its unwelcome, the country club was warm, cozy, and had a fire blazing behind the bride and groom during the wedding and the feast.
The bride's sister, Michelle Howie, was the maid of honor; the groom's brother, Matthew, was the best man. Eddie's sister, Michelle, was a bridesmaid, and her son, Jackson, the ring bearer.
At Eddie's request I limited my message during the service to a few words. Actually, I probably do the same for every wedding; but with Eddie looking on, if not at his watch, I had added reason to be brief. Here's what I said:
“Marriage Is for Life”
Has anyone read my Love Letter to Barbara (my wife) on my website? No, I’m not trying to drum up some traffic. I want to reprise a thought or two contained in that letter, which, after all, is the essence of my thoughts about marriage after almost sixty years of that blessed condition.
So here it is, Eddie and Mandy: love may be what we think to celebrate when a man and woman connect in marriage; but the truth of it is that what you are actually giving to one another is life. Sure that means children; but it means even more. It means your time. Your patience. Your consideration. Your self. Looking out for one another. You know, the sickness and health thing. The richer or poorer thing. All those moments together which, when added up, make life. That’s what we affirm this early evening. And that’s what we have pledged to help you make together: life, a very good life.
I know, from watching the two of you over ravioli in Port Jefferson, that that’s where your hearts are, that in your marriage and with your love, you want to make a good life together. Ever since Adam and Eve that’s what God wants for us, that together we may make sweet music, and another generation, and a better world. Or to put it the way I have to my bride of fifty-nine years on her recent birthday, that I am eternally grateful and indebted to her because she has given me life, a good life, again and again.
Go to it Eddie and Mandy. We’re with you. So is God.
The reception followed immediately after the benediction. Of course, of course, good food and drink abounded. And I got in a second inning as pastor, offering this prayer before we sat down to filet mignon:
Lord Jesus, no stranger to wedding parties, in fact, the means by which the spirit flows, come to this one, Mandy and Eddie’s wedding feast. Hear the laughter and music, the good wishes and the loving sentiments; and hear them not only as blessings upon bride and groom; but as confirmation of your generous spirit. You have heard us promise to uphold and care for them: hold us to the promise and use us to be among those through whom their life together prospers and deepens. Join with us in the merry-making this evening that the happy sounds we make may rise to God in heaven, like prayers, prayers of praise and joy for the gifts of life and love. For with you and with Eddie and Mandy we have plenty to be happy about. Thank you, good Lord. Amen and hallelujah.
Good conversation too, plenty of dancing, high spirits, and occasional nostalgic sighs (mine, mostly) filled the evening hours. Barbara and I spent the night at La Quinta in Garden City and at breakfast the following morning found ourselves surrounded by the same happy crowd as the night before. Eddie and Mandy had not planned on a honeymoon; but, at the last minute, they received an invitation they could not turn down, to fly off for a few days to Puerto Rico.