Molly is getting married in ten days. The story of her meeting Tip Rawding is a great one. Sit tight. Six years ago, Molly taught math to 8th graders at Rye Junior High School in New Hampshire. The school secretary, one Paula Rawding, said in so many words, Would you (Molly) like to go out with my son Tip? RJHS is a small school and things could get messy if the date didn’t work out, so Molly declined. Life moved on.
That summer Molly took a part-time job with Green Penguin Landscaping, as it turns out, where Tip worked. They hit it off, but alas Tip was dating someone else by then. During that summer, Molly said to Hannah and me, I blew it [by not going out on that date]. But what could she do?
A year later Molly fulfilled one of her lifelong dreams and moved to a warmer part of our country, Virginia, to teach in the Alexandria City Public Schools as a middle school math teacher. Ever the go-getter, a year later she applied to a PhD program in Math Education Leadership at George Mason University. Part of the application process required her to get letters of recommendation. Her former principal at RJHS was a natural to write one.
When Molly called RJHS to get that recommendation, she again got the school secretary, the one and only Paula Rawding, who said in so many words, Tip’s not dating anyone, would it be okay if he called you? Ms. Cool, Molly said, That would be fine. Well, the rest is history and she is now Molly Melinda Rawding.
I’ve got one thing to say. Thank you Paula!
So ten days before her wedding, Molly drives 500 miles north, like all good York Rothermels do, in a mad dash from Virginia to Maine in ten hours, including a stop at her grandmother’s in New Jersey. Tip, in the human resources department at Home Depot in Virginia, will come a week later. Once Hannah comes home from cutting hair at Durgin Pines Nursing Home in Kittery, ME in these pre-wedding evenings, we are on the deck of our one-time B and B having alone time with her. Molly, for now and maybe for a long time, is just where she should be in Virginia. We learn of her new job in Annandale, VA, her thoughts about having kids (yes!), and the details of the wedding, like where the sound system will come from when it is realized the reception venue has none. (Solution – A friend of Tip’s sister Bev came through.)
As 3P approaches on their wedding day, the groomsmen assemble up front. Tip, who has been hidden away so he won’t see Molly, stands in the front as the eight bridesmaids and nephew ring bearer each slowly walk down the aisle of First Parish Church in York, Maine. Molly and I are hidden so no one can see the bride through the windows in the door to the sanctuary. Then the doors open and everyone is looking at us. Well, let’s get real, at her. Truly it is all about Molly.
In the Congregational Church, the minister does not ask, Who gives this woman in marriage? What she does is have the father of the bride kiss the bride on the cheek, proudly and emphatically shake hands with the groom (at this point Tip free-lances by giving me a bear hug), and then I take the couple’s hands and put them together as one. How cool is that. I then walk to my spot next to Hannah and my mother in the front row left.
Tip reads the vows he wrote first. On this most wonderful day before our special friends and amazing family, I, Joseph Tipton Rawding, do take you Molly Rothermel as my wife in Friendship and Love. And then he can say no more. It’s got to be 20 seconds that he stands there composing himself. No one doubts his love for Molly at this moment. He eventually has the big ending. Thank you also for being My Best Friend and Companion and I Promise to do my best to be yours. I love you and always will, My Love. The guy is a poet to boot.
Then Molly begins Tip, you are my best friend and my greatest love. She chokes up and pauses, too. If this ain’t love!. I sit in the first row and think that I’ve been there myself with those very same feelings about Hannah, Molly’s Mom.
Two postscripts. Our one time dental hygienist had on the celling of the treatment room which we could see when we were on our backs during our cleaning which listed twenty ways to happiness. Number one on the list. Choose your spouse wisely. 95% of your happiness depends on that one decision. Amen.
At the rehearsal dinner lasagna cookout the night before, a woman older than I am asked, How does it feel to be losing a daughter? That’s so not the way I feel. I feel we have Tip -and his entire family – joining ours.
Molly and Tip were married on July 3, 2011.
PS Vault forward to 2021 On Monday of this week, Molly and Tip traveled to a B&B in northern Vermont to celebrate their 10th anniversary. Hannah and I had Owen (9) and Max (7) for two days which included going to York Harbor Beach and later the Cape Neddick Beach, pizza from the York House of Pizza, ice cream at the Blinking Cone on Long Sands, and a Netflix movie, Surfs Up. Win/win.