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The Wedding of Allison Elizabeth Starr and Joseph James Esposito

The Wedding of Allison Elizabeth Starr and Joseph James Esposito

September 3, 2004 at Fr Joseph O'Connell Knights of Columbus Hall in Oceanside, New York

    Who'da thought, that the most persistent nostalgia for the old pastor would rise in those young things who in their teen years seemed so oblivious to the old man's feelings... not that I ever wore them (feelings) on my sleeve, just that the junior highs were always so self-involved and so peer-aware that I often seemed to be a stick of wood among their busy, busy interactions.  But, lo and behold, the most frequent summons to pick up the robe and stole I had laid down in retirement comes from those same children now adults making the significant choices of mates and work for a lifetime.  Out of the blue, or so it seems, an Email arrives with a hopeful, almost pleading message: "Pastor, will you officiate at my wedding."  In truth I am wonderfully flattered and, usually, reply immediately, "Love to."


And so it came to pass on the Friday after our return from Vermont that we drove to the South Shore of Long Island at the behest of Allison Starr, Mary and the late Don Starr's younger daughter.  She is the same age I was at the time of marriage, twenty-three.  Her husband, Joe Esposito, has quite a few more years behind him than Allison; but you would never know it from his appearance or the energy with which he danced at the reception.  He is a trucker; Allison presently works as a waitress, but is aiming at a career in hotel management, following her graduation from Nassau Community College.   

    Allison was escorted down the aisle by her mother and her brother, George Read.  Mother Mary lives in Plantville FL. George resides at the family homestead on Locust Street in Valley Stream; he is the repair shop manager at Valley Stream Chevrolet.  I commented to him, knowing of his recent back surgery and the insertion of a metallic prosthesis, "Call us the titanium twins," a reference to my knees.  Sister Tracy was the maid of honor. Tracy works as a reservations executive with Disney World.  When Stacy signed the wedding license, I accused her of practicing to be an MD, so swift and unintelligible were her markings, the consequence, she reports, of initialing endless forms for WDW.  I sought from her, but was granted no promise, a personal tour of the underground labyrinth at Magic Kingdom, which, I've been told, is even more magical than the attractions above ground.  Joe's best man was his best friend, Bill Colombo.   

Among those present was Amanda Bishop, Tracy and Allison's friend of many years and many of those aforesaid junior high adventures during which I, the wooden stick, was supervisor.

Herewith is the message to the bridal couple, interspersed and bookended with photos from the reception:


          Seeing life and the loves within it as a procession of gifts is a near-guarantee to going through your days with gladness… because you just know that at every turn there will be a treasure waiting for you to prize. 

          Now that may sound very Pollyannaish.  Bad things do happen to good people.  It wasn’t that long ago that I made an evening visit to a home on Locust Street to console a grieving family at the loss, the sudden loss, of a relatively young man, a husband, a father, Don.  Other not-so-happy events lurk behind the next turning.  Still, they are always matched by God with a better circumstance, provided we go at the future faithfully, hopefully, courageously, lovingly.

          I invite you in this evening of celebration to consider the treasure God and life have put in your hands and hearts.  Allison, Joe.  She’s a treasure.  Beautiful, of course, but far more than skin deep.  I’ve been privileged to befriend hundreds of young people from Valley Stream, but no one has ever been more hardworking, more self-sufficient, more focused than this treasure standing beside you.  Whatever the two of you set your hearts on, she’ll make sure it comes true.  But I would advise you never to hand wrestle with her.  I know the consequences from bruised arthritic fingers earned at the door to the church following many a Sunday service. 

          Joe, Allison, your treasure.  I’ve really only seen the two of you together once, during that lunch over seafood at Port Jefferson.  But I am a quick study.  Joe adores you… as well he might. And that’s what Don and Mary are looking for in their daughter’s husband, a fellow who loves and respects and understands her.  I was especially impressed with the promise he volunteered, to support you in the career for which your college studies have prepared you… even to changing the babies’ diapers!  A mature, sensitive, wise helpmate, Allison, a treasure, I would note, you deserve.

          You and Tracy (and George a few years before you) memorized for confirmation class the Scripture Reading you have selected for this service, I Corinthians 13.  It celebrates the treasure of all treasures, God’s love for us in Jesus Christ.  And it details its consequences among us, what it means to live a life informed by the knowledge of God’s amazing, undeserved, and unfailing grace. Now that’s a treasure!  One we are invited to spend on each other.  You know, by being kind and patient, by not always insisting that it’s my way or the highway, by being ready to forgive, by seeing in each other how the good qualities are always more plentiful than the unlovely ones.

          A faithful life goes into the future with gratitude, accentuating the positive, if not always able to eliminate the negative (some of you will catch my reference).  And you two have so much for which to be thankful, especially the gift you are to each other.  Count your blessings by Joe and by Allison at the end of every day; and, you know what?, you’ll invite this throng to come celebrate with you silver and gold in the years to come.

          God bless you Allison and Joe.  We bless you too.










    Allison and Joe flew off to Aruba for their honeymoon.  As this report is prepared, the weatherman reports that hurricane Ivan, in a most unusual route for a tropical storm, may be shadowing them.  Upon their return, sun-blanched or rain-soaked, they will reside on Adele Place in Baldwin.

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