Kate milks cows with her dad each morning. She then drives to her full-time job in town at a day-care center. Her fiancé, Travis, works for a local plumber. He moonlights on the weekends. They’ll be married in a couple of months.

“Looks like we’ll be renting an apartment,” says Travis as he, Kate and I take our seats in a restaurant. “Interest rates are mighty high right now.”

Travis and Kate have asked me to offer their wedding Mass and witness their marriage vows. Tonight’s dinner was intended to be a gift from me to them, but Travis is insisting that he’ll pick up the tab.
We scan the menus. Kate gives hers a cursory glance then sets it aside. “I love working with infants,” she says. “You see them do something new each day.”

Her eyes glisten. She and Travis each demonstrate a strong work ethic and I am proud to know them. A few weeks ago, I recommended the gospel passage about the house set on a rock foundation for their wedding Mass. My suggestion came too late. They had already chosen the text about not dividing what God has joined.

Their selection does not surprise me. They are down-to-earth, straight-talking individuals. Marriage is marriage. And marriage is for life. Period. I suspect they view their future in terms of cutting grass and paying bills, not electric cars and costly vacations.

I glance at Kate’s hands and imagine them enfolding an infant’s tender face. To my left, Travis drums the table as he tries to get the waitress’ attention. His hands show evidence of grease, channel locks and copper pipes. Soon, the two of them will be holding each other’s hands and saying, Receive this ring as a sign of my love and fidelity, in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
The waitress arrives. I recommend the filet mignon. Kate chooses fried chicken and Travis orders a deluxe burger.

Our dinner conversation includes laughter and topics that range from work trucks to bridal showers to dairy calves to best-man speeches.

I’m so happy I can barely eat. I offer a silent prayer for their future while they order dessert.
On the drive home, I ponder the pleasant evening. Borrowing a page from Travis and Kate’s own work manual, I decide to add some practical petitions to my previous prayer. I ask God to bless the young couple with reliable vehicles, healthy babies, low interest rates, steady employment and, if still applicable, quality wedding rings at a reasonable price.

04 / 20 / 2023
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