Last summer, as we gathered on a deck outside the Odd Fellows Hall in Eastsound, a dark-haired, bespectacled, bearded man with a gentle manner presided over the wedding of our daughter and her wife.
Eight months later, we joined Simone and Kyndall and Paul, the man who married them, for drinks at a Portland restaurant.
It was a weeknight gathering at the Over and Out, a nice little spot tucked into the back of The Observatory, a popular restaurant in their Montavilla neighborhood. The two places are connected by a hallway and share he same kitchen and staff.t
Over drinks and appetizers, we thanked Paul for becoming a Universal Life Church minister so he could legally perform the marriage ceremony.
Then, as now, I marveled at the bonds of friendship amongst these three, forged in Pittsburgh; sustained despite their living apart on opposite coasts; and reinforced during Paul’s visit to Portland. I know what it’s like to try to show an out-of-state guest the highlights of this city and beyond — the coast, the mountains, the Columbia River Gorge — in just a few days. There’s never enough time.
I’m pretty sure, though, that Paul is getting a pretty good taste of the city, knowing that S&K have so many interesting and gracious friends.
Thinking back to the wedding last August, I remember being impressed by Paul, this unassuming guy from Philadelphia, who found just the right words of welcome to put everyone at ease. With just the right tone, a touch of humor and a genuine respect for the two strong women standing before him — and all of us — he was the perfect choice for such a special occasion.
Here’s to you, Reverend Paul.