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Sorry to go so far off topic, y'all, but it is the weekend and I am simply in a state of joy that I wanted to share with the friends I've never that comes from two different quarters: the first with plenty of warning, and the second a complete surprise.

I bugged out of here yesterday shortly after the open...mentally putting the Market on hold (not something I do very often)...and hit the open highway with the T-tops in the trunk, a Thermos full of coffee, and bluegrass blasting from all nine speakers. I was off to Greenville, SC, to attend a nephew's wedding…my sister's youngest son. Also attending would be family members up the Wazoo whom I hadn't seen in ages, so I was anxious for the double blessing of wedding and family reunion. Cameron (the groom) lives in Denver and Jen (the bride) lives in Ohio, but they wanted to get married in their school church (the both graduated from Clemson in May) so their many school chums could easily attend…and family from both sides were happy to travel from literally all corners of the country to share their happy day with them.

Cameron and Jen are such a special pair of young'uns…so mature for 22, so firmly committed to God, to each other and to their life together that is just starting out. I don't tear up easily, but I did so as I noticed Jen's beaming smile, unrelenting through the entire ceremony…and Cameron's unmistakable pride and devotion for his lady that shown so vividly on his face. Their conviction was even evident in their voices as they boldly proclaimed their vows before us all and even seemed to relish (unlike many at the alter who seem timid, shy, nervous, or overwhelmed) the monumental dimensions of the moment. Also surprisingly wondrous, as Bjorn (the Best Man and Cameron's older brother) so aptly pointed out in his toast, was the quality comrades by whom Cameron and Jen chose to surround themselves during their four years at Clemson…and I found myself unconsciously nodding in agreement with Bjorn's comments as I had met many of those kids at the May graduation. Nowhere among them was there a single aimless, in-your-face, body-pierced social rebel. These were all kids wise well beyond their years, kids who have developed worthwhile goals and are already on their way to achieving them…kids any parent would be proud to call their own. Frankly, I was shocked to have enjoyed over the two (graduation and wedding) weekends so many interesting and challenging conversations with so many whose minds appear to defy the calendar.

So, I salute you, Cameron and Jen, as you now wend your way to Nova Scotia…to explore the world and one another. Have a wonderful honeymoon…and a wonderful life together. I hope that the world returns to you even a fraction of what you two will undoubtedly offer it…that is, your love, your hearts and your unselfish commitment to serving others so that this sphere of ours is better for your having been here.

Cameron starts teaching public school 3rd grade in Charlotte, NC, in September…the Denver boy slowly learning (whether he knows it, or not) the finer aspects of redneck life. I love that kid!

My own two boys were at the wedding, too, and the oldest was accompanied by his lovely wife of 2+ years. Almost apologetically during the reception…for they did not wish to divert any of the day's limelight from the happy couple…Brooks proudly, but quietly informed me that Agnes is with child. Hey, y'all!!! I'M GONNA BE A GRANDFATHER IN FEBRUARY!

...a grinnin' fool
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