Come Rain or Come Shine, The Book

I once prayed, Lord, please let Jan Karon live long enough to get Dooley and Lace married. The answer to that prayer was a whelming flood; I started crying on page 32 and sniffed and sobbed my way—punctuated by laughs—to the final page. Redemption, benediction, healing, holy amazement, connection. Reading this brings the satisfaction of resolution, the “two bits” after the “shave and a haircut”.

Weddings are my thing. Joyful solemnity, giving, sharing, joining, celebrating, laughing, crying, hugging, singing, dancing, rejoicing, thanksgiving. I love a good wedding and I’ve been to a few profoundly remarkable ones.

There was joy in the air; you could sniff it as plain as new-cut hay.

The focus of Come Rain or Come Shineis on the month before and the day of The Big Knot. Dooley and Lace want a small, intimate ceremony at Meadowgate Farm. Karon enjoys poking fun at the myth of a ‘simple country wedding.’  There are obstacles and annoyances. There are secrets and surprises. There is the unrelenting pressure of diminishing time to get the place wedding-ready.

DSC_0964The main character is Lace Harper. Her journals reveal her heart, her hopes, her fears, her loves. She wants to find a wedding dress for under $100; she is thankful for the callouses which document her hard work. She wants to get it—this whole starting a new family—right. I appreciated the ways Dooley and Lace honor the memory of Sadie Baxter (benefactor) and Russell Jacks (Dooley’s grandpa) in their wedding. Fun stuff: there is a Pinterest page for Lace Harper’s wedding!

Jan Karon and Wendell Berry are both skilled at portraying a community where giving, helping, and reciprocating are the norm. In their novels they don’t cover up the hurts, the anger, the tensions, the troubles. Weddings can be awkward with family drama. Karon handles the presence of Dooley’s birth mom, Pauline Leeper, in the same room as his siblings with utmost care. There is no easy resolution, no instant reconciliation, just baby steps, tiny beginnings towards the on-ramp to healing.

I connected with this book in many ways. This summer we went to a small, simple country wedding (see picture above) in a pasture. My son and daughter-in-law have a wind storm and fallen trees in their wedding story, too. I know what it is to be gob-smacked by blessings, reduced to silent tears of joy. Live music is the best for dancing the night away. I love the song in the title.

‘Why can’t life always be lived under the stars,’ she said, ‘with great music and family and friends?’

♪♫♪ Come Rain or Come Shine ♪♫♪ is a standard (music by Harold Arlen, lyrics Johnny Mercer) that has been covered by scores of recording artists. I used it ten years ago when I made a PowerPoint slideshow for Curt’s folks’ 50th wedding anniversary. In the course of my work, I listened to B.B. King and Eric Clapton on endless repetition. And I can honestly say, I never tired of it. But there are so many recordings of this song, that I put my listening of them in this post.

This book.

I finished it last night. I started it again this morning.


Wonderful Wedding Moments


Saturday we celebrated the wedding of Julie and Daniel, the fourth and final wedding of the year in our church community.   In this lovely picture (credit: Matthew Hurley), we are dancing a Virginia Reel.  Isn’t Julie beautiful?  She is wearing the same dress her mom, aunt and grandma wore with a gorgeous pair of cowboy boots underneath.  Directly behind her is Isaiah (white shirt) for whom many of you prayed to wake up from a coma.  There he is, dancing!  I’m leaning forward, ready to twirl around.

It was a wonderful wedding. I woke this morning through a floodtide of memories…moments worth recording:

~  The groomsmen’s toasts were simply amazing.  My friend leaned over and whispered, “If these are the kind of guys Daniel is friends with, it speaks very highly of him.”  The masterpiece was the song written by one of the best men, Daniel Went Down to Wallowa, modeled on The Devil Went Down to Georgia



 ~  Collaborating with a college freshman on the composition of a violin descant for St. Patrick’s Breastplate, the bridal processional, was a hoot! We had more fun isolating a musical phrase and pulling a blues riff from it when we should have been focusing on the descant. Julie entered during the centerpiece of the song: Christ be with me.  My first exposure to NoteWorthy Composer software has me drooling.

~  I looked across the table and said, “Krista, You. are. beautiful.”  Her mother, holding with a squirming grandson agreed, “She really is.”  Krista smiled and explained, “My husband’s love makes me beautiful.”  And.  It was so sweet and genuine, not a Sunday School answer, if you know what I mean.

~  The. Kiss.

~   Our Bonnie (mother of the bride, a friend who belongs to us all) displayed extraordinary beauty and serenity.  Hosting a wedding reception in her back pasture was no worry.  She glowed with the light of grace.  It has been five years since she fought Stage 3 cancer.  We are so thankful for God’s kindness displayed in her life.

~  The entrance of the cake, held high and carried around all the tables and delivered to the head table by a Best Man (there were two), while a jig was played on the violin.  

~  When I heard the men were wearing Wranglers I was a skeptic.  However. They looked exceedingly handsome in their Chocolate Black Wranglers with cowboy boots, formal vests and, after the ceremony, cowboy hats.

~  It has been a glorious summer.  Glory can be fatiguing but it is a Good Tired.  A Happy Tired.  Looking back with a young friend, we smiled and sighed and took a deep, cleansing breath.  “Well,” she said, “I guess it’s time to start a new season of love!” 


Huckleberry Find

The forecast is for a smokin’ hot afternoon.
Whatcha gonna do?

Go up in elevation and pick huckleberries, that’s what.
After a morning of worship and a picnic lunch,
our friends Matt and Carol (with their newbie son Isaac)
shared their secret spot with a few friends. 

Generous folks. 
Anyone who brings a huckleberry pie to a potluck
is generous beyond the beyonds.


Huckleberries are very small and don’t grow in clusters.
It took Curt and I all afternoon to pick one gallon.

Tip of the day: Huckleberries have so much flavor,
you can mix them with blueberries in recipes to stretch them.

Caught red-handed!