Dress Sandals

Something interesting about trying to “tidy” all of the house at once for sale (i.e. going through everything and getting rid of what you don’t want/need or else you will forever be carting around unnecessary stuff) is the little things you find and the memories they bring back. For more years than I’d like to admit to I subscribed to Runner’s World and Backpacker magazines and never had time to read them. It seems crazy to recycle a magazine I paid for but never read so the stack of magazines would just grow and grow and grow. Over the weekend I found a hefty stack and went through the purge process (rip out anything I want to keep and toss the rest). In the midst of running and backpacking I found a copy of Adirondack Life. I flipped through it and found an article: “Hairy Tale”. It claims to be a “celebration of Adirondack beards”.  It feels like to be in the mountains and to be a man you need to have some sort of a beard. Much pride is taken in a good beard. Looking at the photos of these men and their epic beards, who do I see? Our wedding officiant Ron!

Ron is a rather interesting fellow. I would say he is somewhere in his 60s with an abundance of bushy gray and white hair. The article claims Ron has had his beard since 1981. We did a destination wedding and weren’t having a religious ceremony so we needed to find an officiant. He was available for our date so we decided why not? We made a trip up to check out our various vendors and met with Ron. Being the Town Supervisor we figured we would be meeting with a respectable looking business man. We were soo wrong. We walked into the coffee shop where we were meeting him and there he was, a middle aged hippy of a rather “healthy” size. A quiet and introverted man, I wondered if this was really the right person to be joining us together. He seemed on board with all of our ideas and said he could come up with the ceremony or we could put our own together and we would work through the details at the rehearsal. After many (many) hours of putting the ceremony together I sent him a copy and all I got back was Thanks, see you at the rehearsal. Hmm.

At the rehearsal he was wearing a Hawaiian shirt, shorts, beat up sandals, with his hair pulled back into a ponytail. We walked through and blocked the important parts, a complete professional. Rehearsal done, he asked what the dress code was? Was this a black tie event? Shorts and t-shirt? We said dressy but casual to which he said “I’ll wear my dress sandals”

The day of the wedding I had more important things on my mind than what Ron was wearing. When we got to the ceremony (the shore of a private pond) everything was beautiful. Taking it all in when walking down the isle, I realized that he was absolutely serious. He was dressed in shades of white and khaki linen, wearing his dress sandals. As soon as he started the ceremony any of the concerns I had about him vanished. He brought so much tenderness and caring into the words I had agonized over. He had a slight smile at the corners of his mouth and a twinkle in his eye. He brought all of the pieces together and pulled off a perfect ceremony. The middle aged hippy with the bushy beard and dress sandals will always hold a special spot in my heart.

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