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Tacoma: From the chill of Mt. Rainier to the heat of molten glass, to the tenderness of a wedding kiss.

Tacoma: From the chill of Mt. Rainier to the heat of molten glass, to the tenderness of a wedding kiss.

One sure measure of a city on the way up is the people who move there.

When the smart crowd shows up, things change.

Of course it takes more than intelligence. It also takes commitment and patience.

Combine intelligence, commitment, and patience in newly weds who choose to make Tacoma their home, and the fuse is lit for a big breakout.

While each emerging city shares a common theme with others, so does each wedding.

Ordinarily, two people gather their friends and family to bear witness to their intentions. It’s called a wedding ceremony with a legal representative officiating.

On the urban side, a city like Tacoma gathers like minded people who share a vision of the future and work to make it happen.

When these two forces meet, new families with big dreams in a city on the cusp of greatness, expect shocking results.

BoomperPdx and his wife Boomette received an invitation to a thirty-something wedding in Tacoma. The groom was the son of a baby boomer coaching colleague.

Their plan called for a wedding ceremony, a catered dinner, and a dance party afterward followed by a breakfast the next day.

Our idea was ‘Get To Know Tacoma’ before the wedding, so we left a day early.

What we found was a city more similar to Portland than expected.

Between the Murano Hotel/ Art Glass Museum, Union Station, and Stadium High School, Tacoma has enough new and old monumental architecture to cause stirrings in the soup of history.

Add the Tacoma Dome and its proximity to Seattle, and the million plus population of the Tacoma metro area grows more powerful.

It’s hard to ignore the evidence of grand moments in time from different eras. Some dreams came up short, others are works in progress, while still others combine the past and present.

Inside this often overlooked piece of the northwestern urban jungle/forest, two people met on an altar Saturday evening for a most remarkable wedding.

The bride’s uncle was the wedding official, making it a family affair to share with the guests.

One of the guests was the groom’s uncle, a Franciscan friar wearing his order’s brown hooded robe. Both men added a gravity to the ceremony missed in most weddings.

As a baby boomer man married to the same woman nearly thirty years, I enjoyed the references to fidelity in this wedding, another aspect many skip over lightly.

With a crowd of young men and women watching one of their own settling down, an emphasis on fidelity reached out to them.

The message I heard was, “If you’re not going to play by the rules of marriage, don’t join the legions of married people.”

Both the minister in charge and the Franciscan Father held the same opinion.

During breakfast the next morning at the Tacoma Lawn Tennis Club, I talked to Brother Bill about fidelity.

“Here’s how it works. If you want to dive into the marriage pool you better know how to swim. And you’d better like the water temperature too, because that’s the only pool you’ll be swimming in during sickness and health, for richer or poorer, ’til death do you part. No wading pools, no hot tubs, no lap pools.”

Why did I say this to a man wearing the same brown robes men of faith have worn for centuries? I wanted him to know for certain that he was talking to someone who ‘got with the program’ and still lives the marriage vows.

If he threw a silent blessing my way, all the better. His smile suggested as much when he said, “These are words of wisdom.”

Call me naive, but if this man said he could part the waters of Commencement Bay, I’d believe him.

The windows behind us showed a swimming pool and a wading pool.

While the streets of Tacoma wind in and out of Old and New Town, change names and numbers without warning, and come to dead ends at the least helpful moment, the newly weds eased up an on-ramp to the expressway of married life.

In choosing Tacoma, they will be the riches the city needs to move in the right direction. A structural engineer like the groom might say, “We are the bridge that will span the frightening abyss between today and tomorrow.”

When a couple like the new Mr. and Mrs. leading the way with their wonderful mix of tradition and modern, we can look forward to an exciting ride.


About David Gillaspie
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