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HERE COMES THE BRIDE; THERE GOES THE SON By William Murchison Print E-mail
by Scott Bennett    Mon, Oct 17, 2005, 01:27 PM

William Murchison

Dear Will,

You’ll recall (with clenched teeth, I shouldn’t wonder!) the letters to you that adorned the editorial page of The Dallas Morning News throughout the ‘80s and ‘90s. Every birthday a new letter from Dad: a new account of the progress of William Polk Murchison III ( born June 12, 1978) along the pathway of life.

Well, ahem…

Notwithstanding that your father stopped some years ago embarrassing you in this obnoxious manner; notwithstanding that he has since retired from The News and taken up other employment; notwithstanding all that…

You’re married! Hooray! Yippee! And like expressions of exuberance and joy over your union Oct. 1 with the lovely Carrie…the story of which I now unfold to readers who may not yet know you but deserve to. I think!

The story is one of, I guess, destiny: New family turns up next door back, oh, in the Jimmy Carter years, but let’s not get into that.

The John Langdon family has two cute little daughters: potential playmates for the quick, irrepressible little boy next door. The younger of the two is the one we’re going to focus on here: name of Carrie. Cute as a bug. Sweet as honey. Smart as paint. To coin a few elegant phrases.

Had you eyes for each other at the time? Your father is durned if he can recall. What he chiefly recalls is Carrie’s family’s departure to Houston after a couple of years, and the family’s consequent disappearance from our radar screen. It could have been the Sahara into which the Langdons disappeared, so utter was the separation of our tribes. Until, until…

I said the element of destiny might be involved. I mean, how else does it look when the two of you meet in the Capitol Hill office of the Hon. Pete Sessions – she leaving the office payroll, you signing onto it – and in the course of talking you discover that, ta-da!, you once lived next door to each other? This Carrie was once that Carrie! Imagine.

From there it’s off to the races: specifically, to the Meanwhile Ranch, Hood County, Texas. And to the Altar.

Oh, I don’t mean instantly. Romance, in the real world, as opposed to the world of the celeb mags, needs time to ripen. But when destiny takes a hand – Bogey’s phrase from “ Casablanca” – tender shoots begin to open. And what follows? A fine West Central Texas twilight, a languid sun yawning beyond a un-rippled lake; an aisle of neatly mown grass; Bach and Schubert on the still country air. And the blessedly familiar words – “Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God…;” and hordes of friends and family; and champagne and laughter and dancing; and a whole lot more “ands,” not to be enumerated now; most still to come -- blanks to fill in at leisure as years accumulate and love finds new channels of meaning and worth.

It was a staple of the old Birthday Letters that Dad, midway, would stretch out a paternal hand: admonishing, encouraging, forecasting, with you – such was the implication at least – thirstily drinking in every word.

I sort of think that’s off now. Carrie might get the notion your father was impeding the handover of power from our house in Dallas to yours in Arlington, Va., the house in which the two of you begin…everything.

Two. That would be the sum of one man plus woman. But here a mathematical mystery intrudes: You add the man, you add the woman, and the sum is one life, just one.

I take it all on faith, never having been good at math. But it was in accordance with the same ancient understanding that your mother and I set out together, 31 years since. The precedent served us so signally I believe it best now just to pull back, saying…

Yes. You’ve done it. You’ve done it well. As well as it could have been done. Onward and upward, the two of you.

No more plain old Will. Your mother and I speak now, and will speak from here on out, of Will and Carrie. I should add we speak gratefully, with more faith and pride and satisfaction and joy; yes and more love, just possibly, than the two of you can imagine.

With every blessing for the years ahead,


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written by Charlotte S. Dearien , March 14, 2009

Well, Bill, you've done it again...come up with such a fine recognition of Family Life. Never will forget when you wrote a column which looked forward to your own marriage to Nancy. We cut it out and re-produced it each time a friend's son was 'going off to marriage.' Yes, brides seem to get all of the attention at wedding time. But, as well you know, "it takes two to tango" righteously to make a good/great family. Well done! Your wife and sons, no doubt, are proud of you for your faithful service to them...and we, the public, are grateful for your having recorded such wonderful testaments, over the years, to American Family Life.

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