PS... A Column

on Things

By Paul E. Schindler Jr.
Vol. 4 No. 34

Some things are impossible to know, but it is impossible to know these things.

September 10, 2001

Clark's Wedding

I have a day job, so I need to make it clear to anyone who comes here that the opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent those of my employer, my family, or your great-aunt Mathilda. Offer not valid in Wisconsin. You must enter to win.

Some Material in this column comes from anonymous incoming e-mail; such material is usually reproduced in the Arial (Sans Serif) type font to distinguish it from the original material

Table of Contents:

General News:

  • Clark's Wedding
  • Lessons Learned
  • A Special Note about This Week's Column

Computer Industry News:

Web Site of the Week:




Foresite, not Foresight. Family pictures

General News

Clark's Wedding

My friend Clark Smith married Susie McClure at St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Sonoma, California on Saturday, with Kevin Sullivan presiding. That only makes sense, since Clark presided at Kevin's wedding 20-some years ago. Both of them are mail-order ministers, but I need to say right here at the outset that no one in that church would have known it was Kevin's first wedding if he hadn't told them. It was a beautiful service, beautifully performed. The church was perfect. The weather was perfect. Kevin looked more like a minister than most ministers I have seen. The bride was radiant. The groom was handsome.

Kevin, Clark and Susie wrote the service. If they provide me with a transcript, I'll post it because, outside of my own, it is the loveliest I have ever attended.

The groom and the best man were in kilts. I was in a tuxedo, and walked Susie down the aisle.

I may have told this story before, but I'm the cause of this marriage. Susie's first husband, Michael McClure, died of a heart attack last year. I discovered this while attempting to distribute CD copies of my musical, Sam Patch, for which Clark and Michael Wildermuth wrote and performed the music (you can hear acts one and two). I had been missing the tape of the radio musical for two decades until Clark supplied me with a rapidly deteriorating copy on quarter-inch tape. I digitized and remastered it (cutting it from a grotesque 90 minutes to a barely tolerable 60). I also made a CD of the musical performance of the group known as Pope Pius XII (Smith, Wildermuth and McClure) at MIT's Potluck Coffeehouse.

I decided to send CDs to all the band and cast members, which is how I ran across Michael's obituary on the Internet. I told Clark, who sent Susie a letter of condolence. He then visited her in France, she visited him in California (I am telescoping the process here), and they became, first engaged, then married.

I was also asked to be the DJ at the reception, playing Clark's old LPs and 45s as well as some Beatles CDs and a little number called "Radio Hits of the 70s." It was a potluck, and the food was the best I've ever eaten at a wedding. The wine, as befits Clark's job as a wine industry consultant, was stunning.

The reception was held in a lovely country roadhouse called "Little Switzerland." If you are ever anywhere near Sonoma, California, you must stop in. Great décor, wonderful people, classy dance floor. I don't know what their food is like, because we brought our own, but I can't imagine how you can go wrong with a place founded by people from my grandfather's homeland. There's even a poster of St. Galen (the capital of the canton in which Watwil, the family seat, is located) on the wall.

The very best part came last. Clark and Susie, along with Michael Wildermuth (an MIT classmate of ours) and his wife Sharon came back to my room at a local bed and breakfast, where they played guitar and sang folk songs and talked of the old days for three hours after everyone else had gone. It was the most magical moment I have ever experienced at any wedding outside my own.

When we were first married, for years Vicki was convinced that I would always believe my college years were the best years of my life. As our life together has gone on, adult moments have replaced those adolescent moments at the top of the list, and I don't speak constantly of my MIT days anymore. But the time I spent with Clark and Michael, and even the briefer but intense and pleasant time I spent with Kevin, reminded me that, just because those moments have slipped down the list doesn't mean they don't still have a special place in my heart.

Lessons Learned

I hold some grudges. One of them involves a man, now dead by his own hand, who publicly embarrassed me in high school 33 years ago. He was a thoroughly unpleasant man, and I doubt we'd have ever made up, but I regret the small amount of psychic energy I've spent hating a sad, pathetic man who struck out at me because of his own inadequacy.

I don't want to publicly name the man I saw at Clark's wedding to whom this applies, but I hadn't spoken to him in 30 years because of something he said to me and and about me and my then-girlfriend in a public meeting in our living group. This is what I said to him:

"Seeing you again after three decades helped me recapture the joy and value of our youthful relationship and allowed me to see how petty it was to hold onto my perceived slight for so long. No act is unforgivable if its consequences aren't permanent, and no words are permanent unless we make them permanent with our actions."

My relationship with him produced some of the most interesting and exciting activities of my life, and I can't dismiss all that because of some words, however meant, spoken in the heat of a bitter debate. For a long time, I thought I could remember only those last words, but it turns out I couldn't, and I should have held on to that anger for as long as I did, because it diminished me and diminished what we had when we were friends. When presented with the man in the flesh, I didn't say a single bitter angry word, because I no longer felt any of them.

We're both adults now, with lives and families thousands of miles apart which will probably preclude a close relationship, but I'm proud once more to call him my friend, and glad I was able to bury the hatchet while we're both still alive and healthy.

Clark Smith once said to me, "In poker, if you can't imagine what card would improve your hand, there isn't one." It occurs to me that "If you can't imagine an unforgivable sin, there isn't one." No verbal sin, I've decided is unforgivable.

One other lesson I learned was to be ready for the surprise of Joy, a phrase Kevin Sullivan used in the wedding ceremony.

A Special Note About This Week's Column

I have computer news (Marlow sent me word of the Epic Rollover in Linux), I have humor from Kent Peterman. I don't have any movies, but I have neat stuff from Craig Reynolds, Glen Speckert, Bob Djurdjevic and my Washington correspondent. In addition, Rae and I went to a Claremont Colleges open house. But it is late Sunday night, and I am exhausted, and Monday is booked solid, so all you get this week is my wedding news, my lessons and a correction. More next week, I promise

Computer Industry News


Web Site of the Week







You want the facts? Go to the Internet Movie Database



Lee Keough had some kind words about my mention last week of her and Aaron Fischer, then gently noted,

Also, just to send a correction: our company's name is The Forsite Group, not foresight.

The way I spelled it, of course, obscured the web site play on words. If you check last week's column, you'll see I fixed it there.

She also noted there were not family pictures on my website, an oversight I have now remedied here, with pictures of the whole family, Vicki and me, and the girls.

To obtain a weekly reminder when new columns are posted or to offer feedback, advice, praise, or criticism write to me:

Family photos 1,2,3

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