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patterns of ink

How fruitless to be ever thinking yet never embrace a thought... to have the power to believe and believe it's all for naught. I, too, have reckoned time and truth (content to wonder if not think) in metaphors and meaning and endless patterns of ink. Perhaps a few may find their way to the world where others live, sharing not just thoughts I've gathered but those I wish to give. Tom Kapanka

Sunday, July 01, 2007

When It Hit Me

Not when I woke at six
to droning hair driers beyond our door.
Or when I stepped into the room
that had been hers for seven years
to see her mother lacing up the gown.
Or when she walked with elegance
down the driveway
for morning photos at the shore,
or down the hallway of the church
to show me the ring and band together,
or down the slope of tall pines
after outdoor pictures with them all.
Down the aisle with me
the smiles were sure and eyes were clear.
And when they two now one
walked beaming in between
both sets of parents,
we all four beamed along
and followed through the brimming eyes
of those who shared our joy.
Not when the bubbles blew
and they ran to board the trolley car
that came to shuffled them through town.
Not at the celebration hall
where we walked in announced
to a thousand crystal candles,
and roses and linen and happy faces
at each turn and festooned columns
in the soft blue glow of an embrace
around the love and youth before them.
Not at the toasts that made us laugh
or the many prayers
that turned our thoughts to Truth.
Not even—to my surprise
(but for one pause and hard swallow)—
when I spoke to thank our guests
and told them of the twists and turns
that brought us to this time and place.
Not even when I gave the groom
that little ring I’d given her
those many years before,
a token of what kept her just for him.
And when we kissed farewell
in the final scurry of the day
and the little car I’d seen
a hundred times in our driveway
drove draped away in makeshift merriment,
I laughed and cheered with all the rest.
Not in the countless hugs
of those still standing there
to help with all the little chores
that come when such things end.
To one and all it seemed the perfect day
and was in every way.
There was, perhaps, a smiling tear or two
that dried untouched with little notice,
but in not one moment had I been
filled with anything but joy
and deeper love for all those around us
and the hand I’ve held for 27 years.
Not once did it hit me in the way I’d feared.
Not at the church or hall
or in the short drive home.
And when I walked into the house
with a tired tux flung over my shoulder,
I felt only the weight of a long day
in each tread to the top of the stairs.
But standing there,
with our room to the right,
I made the mistake of looking left to hers
and was drawn in to the bed
she’d made at six A.M.
There beside it, by the clock ,
was her glass of water
from the night before
with a few sips left behind…
and that was when ...

Click on each photo to enlarge.

I wrote this early the next morning and added the pictures and comments in the days that followed. #1= a photo posed just down the street from the church. Kelly the photographer let grandma take a snapshot. #2= This trolley is a local attraction the girls have often enjoyed.
#3= Kim and Nat were co-maids of honor, but Kim gave the toast. Nat was so much fun to watch that day with the older girls. Seeing her stand shoulder to shoulder with them put the first lump in my throat that day. #4 That's me speaking briefly and giving Keith the ring I'd given Em (It's on my little finger). I actually smiled and laughed as I spoke. At the end I hit the "THAT was easy" Staples button from my desk. But then I went on to give the little ring and looked a bit serious. =) #5 Before the garter and bouquet toss, the parents and couple were called up on the dais for a prayer of blessing. Groom's father Dave is behind him. #6 snapshot was taken by my stepfather (see him in the reflection?). My brother Dave, whose house was in a terrible fire less than two weeks before, is taking the video on the other side of the car. Once things settle down for him, he may post some short clips I can link to on Youtube. [Youtube clips in opening lines added 7-18-07.]
On July 5th, I added four additional snapshot taken by groom's sister (and bride's hairdresser): #7= groomsmen in the tall white pines behind the church. (The ladies joined them in a photo not yet available.) #8= inside the trolley. #9 seven siblings inside the trolley. (Best man was taking the picture with one hand and trying to lean into the frame. =) By the way, they had a riot on that ride across town.#10 the "festooned columns in the soft blue glow of an embrace around the love and youth before them."
Some more gathered snapshots here.. Keith looked on during these photos.


Blogger the walking man said...

Made it through the day, congratulations! It may be a few years yet but that room won't stay empty for long because pretty soon it will be "granpa can little Tom spend the week-end with you? he really wants too visit."

Peace beyond passion


1/7/07 5:34 AM  
Blogger a brand new high school english teacher said...

Sounds as though the day went perfectly as planned - especially when you spied her water glass. Revel in the moment, POI - and thank you for sharing so deeply. A

1/7/07 11:11 AM  
Blogger Josie said...

Well, I wasn't able to get all the way through your post without tearing up. That was beautiful. It looked like an absolutely gorgeous wedding. The ladies in your family have very(!) good taste.

What a lovely couple they are.

Yes, I agree with Mark, that room will be full of little voices again.


1/7/07 10:26 PM  
Blogger Jody said...

Tom, I have yet to click the photos for a closer look, because my eyes are blurred with tears. At first for happiness and joy and that feeling that something so Perfect had occured. Then near the end, it was the growing lump in my throat that I didn't expect. When you glanced back to her room...
I couldn't help myself, for I have felt that same reality in regards to my Teagan. And her empty room. SO happy for you and for Emily and Keith and for little Kip too. I imagine one day, I will feel similar thoughts and emotions with all my other children too. {By the way, I was awake at 6:20 on Saturday morn...and my first thoughts turned to prayers for the Bride and Groom- that their Love would be a reflection to all of the Giver of Love. Sounds as id my prayer was heard.}

1/7/07 10:46 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

TWM (Mark),
Thanks for "staying tuned" with us through this event. Yep, I made it. Julie held up great, too. She was a joy to watch and be beside.

Yes, in time, I suppose that will be the level of new joy. I truly look forward to that. I've had the gray hair now for a few years--might as well be a grandpa. =) (The bride and groom are were both seniors at Grand Valley State last year, but they still have student teaching to do this semester so I'm guessing it will be a while.)

(Now that I know what name you go by, I won't use "ABNHSET") It was just a beautiful day in West Michigan to begin with, perfect temps, clear blue sky, the slightest of breeze, but add to that the joy that we were reveling in... Oh, Happy Day!

Being from Vancouver, BC, you know the definition of perfect days near the shore. This was the kind of day where the entire wedding and reception could have been outdoors (but knowing what the shoreline can sometimes dish up, we didn't take that risk). So much was done outside. When I have more pictures (these were taken by family members), I'll post them. They were a happy couple to watch.

Jody, (and all)
Thank you so much for thinking of them and prying for them that early in the morning. At that very moment, Em was getting her hair done and Keith later told us he was fixing himself a big breakfast. =)

I can't explain the relaxed, comfortable and fun interplay the whole day was. At one point, before the wedding, I was enjoying a wing-back chair in the church foyer smiling as I watched the bell ringer and flower girl playing with my youngest daughter. Someone walked by and said, "I don't think I've ever seen the father of the bride that comfortable at this point in the schedule."

Julie and I truly were enjoying the unfolding day (and know that lots of people were praying for us). About a half hour before guests began arriving, the groom asked to meet with all the groomsmen, pastor, some uncles and grandfathers and the dads in a room. We got in a circle for a time of prayer. Whoever wanted to pray just did. It was then I knew we were all focused on the right things and everything else would be fine! (The ladies did the same things.)

The whole day from beginning to end (not just the ceremony) seemed an act of praise and worship.

It was a long but beautiful day made for a pillow.

Who would have guessed that even Kip would play a role in part of my family's joy on such a day, but having him there as we unwound Sunday was a blessing we would otherwise have taken for granted.

I know you understand in a much more profound way that empty rooms can have meaning. This feeling was far short of grief, but at that moment at the end of that beautiful day... it was the sight of that glass of water that got me. It said it all.

Sunday we had company all day in a backyard feast and time of visiting that we couldn't do Saturday. It was another beautiful day. Then last night we went to a Michael Card concert on the waterfront. Our new in-laws were there, too. It was a great way to end the weekend and begin this "week off." Summer can now begin!

Thanks for letting me "post" an update by way of this extended reply. =)

2/7/07 6:12 AM  
Blogger J_G said...

The Bride and Groom are a very handsome couple. The wedding gown is very beautiful. I wish the young couple a long and happy marriage. God bless them and their families. The weather looked to be just perfect, congratulations!!!

2/7/07 8:18 AM  
Blogger jewell said...

The wedding was the most beautiful one I have attended. I was wiping tears away practically the whole way through it and I am not even related :). What you did with the ring you had given Emily was such a neat idea. Rick gave one to Lauren a few months back and think we might steal your idea. As I sat there I was just reminded how important our job is as parents to point our kids to God and how the parents of the bride and groom were being rewarded for a job well done. I have admired Keith & Emily so much in their dating relationship and in their service to God & others.
My mother told me that she held up quite well at our wedding but cried all the way home to Kentucky, a 7 hour trip :)

2/7/07 5:24 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

We have had three "picture perfect" days in a row here, but our company from Kansas (who were going to stay the week) had to go home Sunday afternoon due to 11-14 inches of rain and flooding in their basements. =(

Did you see the other day that I confused you with a former student? I had videotaped her wedding several years ago and thought she left a comment. Sorry about that.

Thank you so much for sharing how it was to sit where you were. I haven't yet had a chance to talk with any guests (other than relatives). On two occasions before the weddin, Emily said, "Dad, don't get sentimental. I'll never get down there if you do." I said, "I won't if you won't." So we had a pact.

While the guests were watching that video at the beginning of the wedding, we were far down a hallway doing the Hokey Pokey with a few of the bridesmaids. (I was actually sitting down smiling at them...THEY were doing the Hokey Pokey.) It was all a diversion to keep our minds off of the moments ahead. For me, it was the first couple minutes of the video when she was six and we were talking about "the man she will someday marry"--that was the part I couldn't watch before coming down the aisle.

I can understand your mom’s feelings. It’s hard to explain because they aren’t even moving that far away. It’s just the end of the years when it was natural to go in and sit on the side of the bed and talk, etc. I think that is what hit me. I confess, just typing the words right now brings back the same lump in my throat.

Thank you for reading here and sharing. I'll pass it along to Julie.

2/7/07 6:26 PM  
Blogger jewell said...

I just read the previous comment where you had me "mixed up" with someone else. No biggie! Now you know it's me :)

2/7/07 6:43 PM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

I am so happy for you that I could join in crying.

2/7/07 7:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mr K -

My sister (who also reads your blog) said "It can't be possible - hand me my cane!" since we both have memories of Emily as a young girl. She looks just like I remember Mrs. K looking when she was my second grade teacher! =) It's a wedding time of the year, as my baby brother is getting married this weekend. I'm glad you had a beautiful day to celebrate - reminded me of my own day 3 years ago. Congratulations!


2/7/07 9:13 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

The comment below you is from a former student (1994) but not the one who shares your name. =)

Tell Carolynn hello (of if you're reading this--Hi Carolynn). So little Phillip is getting married. Your folks will know what I'm talking about. I hope the day is as nice as Em's was.

Dr. John,
You've probably performed more weddings than you can remember, but I'm sure a few were very close to home. Thanks for sharing in our joy from way up in the U.P.

2/7/07 10:23 PM  
Blogger SusieQ said...

Yes, tears are definitely the appropriate response to this heartfelt post about your daughter's wedding.

I can relate to the point at which it hit you that your daughter was married and starting a new life and a new home of her own. There is something about our children's bedrooms. When they leave home either for college or to marry, they leave behind their spirit in these spaces. It lingers in the smallest of things.

These are lovely photos. I did enlarge all of them in order to appreciate them more fully. Your daughter is beautiful! Her husband handsome! And her father very distinguished looking!

2/7/07 11:14 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

You're right. Some may wonder how a young lady of 22 could still leave such a void in our home. She commuted to GVSU, and while she also worked and led a busy "young adult" life, she was still here every night and very much a home body. She and Keith will have a nice apartment and enjoy "being home" there. We are very happy for them. They have been such good examples of love and patience in this "courtship." It's time. This is a good thing, an excellent thing, but still there are those nostalgic, sentimental moments that I dared not let myself think about before the wedding.

2/7/07 11:39 PM  
Blogger HeiressChild said...

hi tom, beautiful pics. i teared up too as i read your beautiful post. my daughter been's gone and married for over 3-1/2 yrs, and i'm just starting to do things in "her" bedroom. *lol* i'm glad everything was beautiful on you all's special day.

3/7/07 6:37 AM  
Blogger Lone Grey Squirrel said...

everything looks beautiful. It must have been a great day. Congrats and best wishes to the newly weds.

3/7/07 7:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes, i'm reading (when i can)! :)

thanks for the shout-out, and for spelling my name right after all these years- wow! (that's impressive.)

congrats to you and the whole family. now where is my afghan and cane? :) oof-dah.


3/7/07 8:18 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

We've had company staying in our house since the day after the wedding and that room has already become a "guest room." Em's queen-size bed has gone over to the apartment and the long-awaited room swapping has already taken place. That doesn't change a thing about these sentiments... it just means that we entertain and enjoy having "summer company" here in one of the vacation destinations of the Midwest. It also means that my wife Julie is a very efficient housekeeper who copes with things by taking on creative projects. =) The rooms look great, but the large bedroom that was hers for seven years is not her sisters.

Here is is Tuesday and the days are still just gorgeous!

Did I misspell your name a lot back then or did the whole school? I don't remember so I am equally amazed that I got it right. I still have close friends whose names I misspell--you think YOU'RE getting old! You were always so spunky I don't imagine you with a cane 'til well past 2050. Thanks for reading here!

3/7/07 10:11 AM  
Blogger leslie said...

You had me tearing up, too, reading your lovely poem. The photos are beautiful, as is the bride. She is one very lucky young lady to have such a loving father to take her to her groom and let her go with love. My daughters will never have that moment as their father died when they were only 12 and 15 years old. D#1's wedding was bittersweet and D#2 still has that day to come. But I'm so happy for you all that you were able to share that JOY together. God bless you all.

3/7/07 1:51 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I didn't know your circumstances.
As I was sitting there in the church lobby watching the bride and bridesmaids ward off the gitters by doing the Hokey Pokey. It actually occurred to me that I was there--I don't mean that I was "present" I mean I was "alive."
I thought of my late father and was wishing he could have been there. (He was in some of the pictures in the video.) So in that very small way I can sense the bitter sweet time you mention. I have other friends who will face similar circumstances.
In the previous post called "Attachment," that is part of what I mean about the fear that comes with caring. Fathers fear not being there. It's a care that I have to "cast upon Him," our Heavenly father. It may sound trite, I don't mean for it to, but the void is so great I can think of no other way to fill it. The burden so heavy I can think of no other way to bear it.

3/7/07 10:27 PM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

Congrats on your new son-in-law! All that planning and I'm willing to bet the day was a blur--that the event went by way too fast. Shall I add: Not until I received all those wedding bills! I can't wait to see the YouTube video.

3/7/07 10:54 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I must confess, we're looking forward to them coming back from Accapulco (which was a gift not from mom and dad). She has vacationed with his family and he has vacationed with ours and it will be very natural to include them (as a new home) with ours and his. Our families have been friends since BEFORE they started dating. So it's a new branch on two close family trees.

Because of the fire at my brother Dave's house and them being in a different house 'til after Thanksgiving, Dave doesn't have a full editing suite put together yet. It may some time to get the video done, but maybe he'll created some Youtube clips of parts that are done in the meantime. If so, I'll post them.

4/7/07 9:29 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Good Morning POI - Brand New English Teacher here with a bit of a tweak in my blog so now I can be recognized by my mom-given name !! Happy 4th to you and yours. A

4/7/07 11:48 AM  
Blogger Dr.John said...

Hope your having a great 4th of July.

4/7/07 6:07 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

That will be easier than ABNHSET. =)

We had a great 4th. My wife's sister and family are still here with us (so glad all the company didn't leave at once after the wedding). We went to some of the great "vacation" spots of West Michigan and ended the day with fireworks on Lake Michigan. It was fun.

Dr. John,
We went sailing on Lake Michigan Tuesday evening and it was down right cold out there away from the shore. Fortunately, we had jackets and blankets--unfortunately we did not have scarfs! I can only imagine how chilly some of these nights have been up in the U.P.

5/7/07 4:45 AM  
Blogger EA Monroe said...

Thanks for sharing such a wonderful day and your thoughts. You have a lovely and special family. Hope you had a great Fourth of July, Tom! Thanks for the visit. I'd like to add your blog to my "crusin'" sidebar. You have a fantastic blog.

5/7/07 8:45 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

We did have a great 4th.Thank you.

I'd be honored to be on your sidebar. I've noticed a similar nostalgic thread in some of our posted stories.

5/7/07 1:35 PM  
Blogger Donnetta Lee said...

Tom: This is absolutely wonderful writing. Can't tell you how much I enjoyed it. And the pictures! Happy, happy people-happy, happy day. Another milestone of life is met. Congratulations to everyone.

5/7/07 8:01 PM  
Blogger Josie said...

Tom, I love the added pictures. That one of the groomsmen in front of the trees is a prize winner! Thank you for sharing them with us.

5/7/07 11:32 PM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

It was a very happy day. I couldn't help but write about it the next morning. The week after a wedding is a pleasant unwinding process. Thanks for stopping by.

We've had a fun week with family, enjoying some of the local attractions we take for granted and seeing them anew through our guests' eyes. Our company left yesterday so the house is quiet again. Too quiet. =)

The White Pine is Michigan's state tree. That stand was about 50-60 feet tall (at the back of the church parking lot). I'm hoping someone got a shot that includes their height in contrast to the subjects below--it would look like an Ensel Adams.

A week ago today was the rehearsal. That hardly seems possible. We can't wait to see the photographer's photos and my brother's video, but gathering digital pictures from friends has been a way to revel a little longer, see some things we missed, and seal the memories in our minds.

6/7/07 6:54 AM  
Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

You probably know me by now -- I went right to the YouTube part. Great footage! If I ever lose my state job, I now have an idea of "How To Shoot A Wedding." He did an excellent job. (Unlike all those catfish videos I've edited.) You must be very proud. Congrats! BTW, please have your brother-in-law critique my video, I'm sure he can give me some pointers.

21/7/07 7:53 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

That would be quite a change of pace and clientele =) [For those who don't know, JRT is a teacher in our Michigan Department of Corrections.]
Actually, Dave the videographer is my brother (closest in age to myself). He's been shooting weddings and making films in general for over 15 years. He's done some great work for his school district, too. I owned a similar business for many years back in the analogue era, but I'm not up-to-date with the new digital capabilities and have not done much of this work for several years.
I told Dave about
that you told me about and he's going to check it out.

22/7/07 6:36 AM  
Blogger Tracie said...

Oh my. I am such an emotional person and boy did this give me a good cry! Thank you for letting us see just a little more of the person behind the words. You are so blessed. This was beautiful.

30/7/07 8:54 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

It's a month later. Sometimes it seems long ago sometimes it seems like last weekend, but I still enjoy scrolling down to this post and thinking back on this wonderful day.

2/8/07 5:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a beautiful daughter Emily turned out to be. I remember babysitting her back in the day. I know that ages me, but I'm perfectly okay saying that because I don't feel old. I still feel so young, and it excites me to read such posts as this. I'm a bit behind the time, I know I'm nearly a month out, but I thought I'd still post. BTW, this is Joanna (Cowley) Baltzly! :) Your blog intrigues me and I read it every so often! :) You're family looks GREAT! Every one of you! The girls have made the biggest change, obviously!

Take care! Say hello to your beautiful wife from me!

12/8/07 1:38 AM  
Blogger patterns of ink said...

I like finding comments like this in the archives. So good to hear from you. We cherish those days when you and your friends and siblings were students of ours. Great times! Thank you for the kind words. Hope all is going well for you. Please tell everyone in your family we said hello.

13/8/07 10:14 AM  

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