Monday, October 4, 2010


My beautiful sisters, Kate and Celia, wrote something special to share with us during our wedding ceremony. I cried when they read it, both tears of laugher and love. 
Kate: Celia and I spent a lot of time trying to decide what the focus of our talk today should be. At first we were concerned because we’re not the sentimental types, so we didn’t know if we could poeticize about the bonds of sisterhood, the importance of true love, yada yada yada. Then, Em told us we could do whatever we wanted, so of course our mother immediately suggested we do a rap, and dutifully Googled tips about how to write a rap and sent them to us. But, turns out rhythm and rhyming are challenging for us, so we had to go another route.

Celia: To help guide us we decided it was only prudent to consider our audience. When we did that, we realized that most of the people here—with some notable exceptions—did not get to know Em until during or after college. So we thought, “here is our chance to share a little bit about our family and the big sister we knew growing up, and how happy we are that Paul is here to finally take her off our hands.” We picked a few memories to share that we think illustrate some of the characteristics that we love about Em. We feel this will give you a sense of what Paul is getting himself into.

Kate: Where to begin? Well, you can probably tell that Emily is very creative; from the snappy stories and fun photos she posts on her cleverly titled “Em is a Gem” blog. But her creativity goes way back—for example, she was a pretty “creative” dresser back in the day, from short dresses, sky-high heels and platform shoes with flames on them, to the knobby pigtails she used to wear daily. Her outfits definitely gave our parents a few extra gray hairs. But probably the best example of Em’s creativity stems from her love of riding horses. Growing up, Em always wanted her own horse so she could ride whenever she wanted, but our parents didn’t allow her to lease one until she was older. So, in the interim, if you walked past our house on a sunny Saturday afternoon, you’d likely see Em riding around on an invisible horse—and this was a fully decked out invisible horse—it could walk, trot, and gallop, and it sailed over jumps made out of broomsticks and rakes laid across two buckets, with Em riding high. Sometimes an equally imaginative friend would join her for a horse show. But I can’t make too much fun of Em because I was always there in the quote unquote barn (which was generally the basement or garage) ripping up pieces of paper that would serve as “hay” for her horses to eat, and paying me in invisible money. And of course, we’re proud that Em has continued to follow this passion by riding almost daily out here in San Francisco (including the morning of her wedding).

Celia: Em’s love for riding brings up another trait we love about her—she’s adventurous. From the time she rode every roller coaster at Cedar Point amusement park with our poor Dad in a single day, to the time she tested our new “scooter sled”—a sled you stand on and fractured her leg.  Of course our mom now claims she “always knew it wasn’t safe.” Em always opens herself up to new experiences, and doesn’t mind getting her hands dirty, so to speak. I’m thinking about her flying through the air after being tossed off an inflatable rocket while being pulled behind the boat, or hurting her wrist after being tossed off a horse when visiting the Dufrechous in Montana. Paul, we are so glad that you’re an adventurous guy because you’ve really gotten Em into some pretty cool things—sailing, hiking, paddle-boarding, and just exploring fun activities in your new town of San Francisco.  We can’t wait to hear what the two of you will do next.

Kate: Speaking of adventures, another quality about Emily that we love is how she is always up for fun family bonding activities. For example, our yearly Waggoner family vacations were often more work than we bargained for. One spring break, we went to Boston and walked the historic Freedom Trail at least 5 times in blinding snow and whipping winds. A few years later, on trip to the Grand Canyon Mom and Emily went horseback riding in the wild west. Their two old horses struggled to manage the steep and winding trails, and the harrowing experience caught up with Em later because shortly after while we were driving through the desert, we were forced to pull over and Em lost her lunch…on hallowed Native American ground. So, not surprisingly, when it was Em’s turn to choose the spring break destination for the year, she decided to spend the week relaxing by the pool in the Florida Keys.

Celia: Sometimes our family outings were closer to home. We have many fond memories of spending time with Emily and the rest of our family at our farm in Findlay, Ohio. Trips to visit Aunt Linda, Uncle Steve, Grandma, Jason, and all of the critters were a staple of our summers growing up. We spent many days pulling taffy with Grandma and playing put put at Shady Grove, followed by evenings playing night time hide and go seek and hiding from Aunt Linda aka the “Hoobie.” Fortunately for Paul, he got the chance to experience this nighttime tradition at the farm a couple summers ago. We also had a knack for turning some of these light-hearted family games into intense competitions. Whether it was arguing over ghost runners in “family baseball,” line calls in family tennis matches, or who picked the most blueberries at Baumheart Berry farm, Em was always a champ at making the competition fun and exciting.
And last but not least, Em’s love for her family manifested itself in that she picked a husband that we could all agree upon. So never mind how Em knew Paul was the one, here is how we knew.

Kate: Paul, we knew you were the one for a couple of reasons. First of all, you like boating, so it goes without saying that you and our Dad have an instant bond, especially since most of the Waggoner clan is primarily interesting in using the boat for suntanning. And let’s be honest—you’ve got a leg up on some of the gems Em dated in the past. Let’s see, there was the pizza delivery guy, the bouncer at the club with a crazy ex girlfriend, and quite a few more. No wonder our Mom was so excited just to find out that you read the New York Times, and that you were able to engage them in an intelligent conversation.

We also knew you were the one when you laughed at my jokes and when you always patiently tried to explain your dissertation and your job to me in a way that I would understand. This typically involved trying to explain everything to me in terms of potato chips, since it quickly became clear to you that potato chips are something that I appreciate and understand…and I was always eating them when you were around.

Celia: In addition to what Kate has already mentioned, we knew you were the one when you were willing to play endless board games with us during the holidays, when you never covered your ears at the sound of all four of us talking to our cats in screechy baby voices, and when you didn’t go running for cover when Em’s foot appeared inches from your face and demanded a massage.

But of course what is most important and why we are here today, is because we knew you were the one for Em when we saw how well you compliment each other.

Kate: You truly balance each other out and bring out the best in each other. We are so happy for you and excited for you to begin this next part of your lives together.

Kate: Our words of advice? Have fun!

Or as Yoda would say: Fun you will have