That’s what my new grandson-in-law, Tero Ronkainen, entitled the PowerPoint presentation he gave in lieu of a speech at the reaffirmation of his wedding vows in Richmond on August 31st. Recently I wrote a column about Sarah, my adventurous granddaughter who chose Finland for study abroad the first semester of her sophomore year at UNC-Greensboro. Her unusual choice (made because no one had chosen it before) resulted in a dramatic change in her life’s trajectory – she met and fell in love with a Finnish boy.
After four years of courtship by Skype, e-mail and frequent flights across the sea, while Sarah finished college, took a course at Sotheby’s in London, and completed her master’s degree in City Design and Social Sciences from the London School of Economics, they were married in Helsinki, Finland on August 17th. Since only her immediate family could attend from America, they planned a reaffirmation of their vows in Richmond two weeks later.
When Sarah unpacked her wedding dress her mother was shocked. “You can’t wear that dress for the service,” she said, “it’s filthy!” The train was indeed black with dirt picked up as Sarah walked about the small island in the Gulf of Finland where the ceremony was held. Fortunately, she had chosen a dress with a zip on/off train, enabling the dress to be worn for other occasions. Kathy (her mother and my daughter) zipped it off, filled the hotel bathtub with warm soapy water, and doused it up and down in the water. The dirt disappeared down the drain; the train was rinsed, and draped over the shower rod. It was dry and ready to be reattached in time for the ceremony.
After the couple repeated their vows, this time in English, before the pastor who had known Sarah since she was a toddler, the bride made a short speech expressing her joy to have all her family and friends present.
Now it was Tero’s turn. He spoke in fluent English since much of his childhood was spent in the United States where his dad was in medical school. “I’m not much good at making speeches,” he said. “But since I work for a company that arranges mergers with businesses, I have prepared a presentation like those I present in my work. I call this Merger 1: The Merger of the Finn and the American.”
Among the advantages of this merger he listed living in the same time zone and having a closet for clothing instead of a suitcase and saving money by eliminating overseas flights. His unusual approach was clever and humorous and at the end of the presentation the merger was unanimously approved!
– Mary Jo Shannon