Voices of the Clarion: Lessons from Dad

Picking out china one of the few wedding thrills for guys

Posted: Sunday, June 12, 2005

Sometimes growing up, my father had some interesting life lessons for me. One of them was about fine china.

One time, in my early high school years, he told me about the months leading up to his wedding. When it came to making decisions about the wedding, it is really the bride and her mother who call the shots, he told me.

So when he was asked to go and help pick a china pattern, he jumped at the opportunity — out of principal, of course.

Well, shopping for the china turned into an argument because, according to my father, nobody was listening to his opinion.

I did not know what a china pattern was or how that was related to a wedding. But he said I would someday learn and added that it is very expensive.

Being 5 feet, 7 inches and about 130 pounds at the time, I puffed out my chest and declared in the most macho way I could, "That sounds like a big waste of money. When I get married, I'm not going to get any china."

Dad started to hassle with me and tried to explain that there are some things you just go along with.

I'm getting married in August, and a couple of weeks ago the issue of picking out a china pattern became real.

My future wife, Rochelle, is a caring and understanding person who always asks me what I think, and the whole event of planning the wedding is exciting.

Her mother, who has similar qualities, also has been great about asking me what I think. Right now, she is in Illinois with her family who, bless them, are taking care of the wedding plans while I roam around the Alaska countryside. They are also doing a great job of welcoming me into their family.

Rochelle has been so thoughtful with every aspect of this wedding — right down to asking me how I wanted the wedding cake.

For example, I told her I wanted a green one with blue polka dots.

I don't blame them for forgetting to ask me about the china pattern when she went to register.

Since that day with my father, I found some other things to get on a high horse about, and the china became a nonissue.

But when the wedding came into the picture, my father reminded me about the conversation with a smug grin on his face. Although china is not necessarily exciting for a guy, I was excited about it because Rochelle was.

I don't think I am the only guy who is clueless about fine china. When I mentioned it to one of my male co-workers he said, "What? Did you say you want to find China?"

One day the phone rang and Rochelle was updating me on the wedding plans. She casually mentioned that she just went ahead and picked out the china without me.

"Excuse me?" I said.

I don't think she realized the significance of what had just happened, but I had to chuckle.

I still don't know what kind of china we are getting, but at least she's happy about it.

Mark Quiner is a reporter for the Clarion.

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