Saturday, June 17, was a milestone of a day for a couple of reasons. It was the first time since the ol' one had his hip replaced more than 18 months ago that he really put his new hip to the test. And, what a test it was. More on that part of the day later.

The more important and more meaningful reason for June 17, 2006, becoming a milestone was that the eldest son of the ol' one's ol' friends, Ray and Diane of Audubon, took a bride. Ray the younger and his fair Carolyn became man and wife.

Now, the ol' one and Ray of Audubon go way back to the days when we were young bucks growing up in the northeast section of Philadelphia. Oh, there were plenty of milestones back then: grade school and high school graduations; school musicales and plays; a few memorable weekends "do-wn-a-shore"; and first decent-paying jobs, among others.

But that recent Saturday held a different kind of significance as far as the ol' one was concerned. There was Ray the younger waiting for Carolyn to join him at the altar of the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church over in Lansdale as the ol' one pondered the scene from pewside.

This was the same person who not all that long ago had honored the ol' one by asking him to serve as his sponsor when he made his Confirma-tion. This was the same person who had to make soccer practice one cold, damp Friday night and then, as soon as practice concluded, had to join his Boy Scout troop up in Marshall's Creek in the Poco-nos for a weekend camp out. The ol' one, Ray of Audubon, and Ray the younger piled into the car and headed north on that cold night, similar to the way the ol' one and his ol' friend had gone north to the Poconos for the weekend to ski on many Friday nights years before.

No, the ol' one and Ray did not pitch a tent that night. We simply dropped off Ray the younger and headed back south.

Ray the Younger and Carolyn had announced their engagement two years ago on the day they both graduated from West Chester Univer-sity. We all were pleasantly surprised as the word got around the graduation party being held at Ray and Diane's home and good time center in Audubon.

Ah, there was another milestone, one to which Ray and Diane had a little bit of difficulty adjusting. The ol' one just smiled and asked Ray, "What do you think about that, Dad?" Ray replied that he and Diane had their suspicions, but now they were confirmed.

And so there we all stood in the pews as Carolyn made her way down the aisle pre-paring to pledge her love and life to Ray the younger, and he to her.

The Rev. Dayle Malloy brought our attention to an important aspect of Ray and Caroyln's courtship. It wasn't so much a traditional court-ship as it was the solidifying of a long-time friendship. Ray and Carolyn have known each other since they sat across from each other in the sixth grade. But it wasn't until Ray the younger was faced with securing a date for the senior prom that things between him and Carolyn started to move into their next phase, not rapidly, but slowly. These two young people were friends who were learning to understand and respect each other.

And so, there in the sanctuary of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran two friends were reaching another milestone in their lives: They were preparing to build a life together on the basis of their strong friendship.

What a concept! What a way to take on life with its many challenges, not just as man and wife but also as long-time friends.

The wedding booklet could not have stated it better: "Today I will marry my friend."

And, so they did.

When it came time to exchange vows, the ol' one had a clear view of Carolyn as she gazed lovingly and friendly at Ray the younger. He didn't move a muscle as he listened intently as Carolyn pledged her love to him. The ol' one had never seen such a look of happiness and certainty as Carolyn also listened intently as Ray pledged his love to her.

There was no hint of uncertainty as these two friends became one.

It dawned slowly on the ol' one that he and everyone else in that special congregation were witnessing the passing of one milestone and the beginning of Ray and Caro-lyn's journey to the next one.

How honored we are to have Ray and Carolyn as friends. Perhaps that's the way all marriages should be made. The union of two lo-vers, of course, but the even more auspicious bonding of two friends dedicated to each other.

Thank you, Ray and Carolyn.

Oh, the ol' one did put his new hip to the test on the dance floor at the reception. It passed with flying colors. Raise a cup o' joe.

Ol' Morgan rails on the porch about life and the the coming hard times. Contact him at olmorganonporch-@yahoo.com.

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