The story of Ralph and Jane..

This isn’t Ralph and Jane…  :)…

The story of Ralph and Jane is long, and short — beautiful, simple and complicated — like life.

Ralph and Jane grew up in a small town in central Iowa.  They “dated” a little while in junior high and were in the same group of friends.  As these things go — they dated other folks, grew up and left their small town.

They both married, had careers, kids, and went on to live productive lives.  They were good parents, supportive spouses to other folks and kept their side of the ethical street clean.  Eventually, both of their marriages dissolved — and they took on the challenges of single-parenthood.  They gave their kids solid values, were productive members of society and stayed out of legal trouble.

Jane lived much of her adult life in Omaha.  Eventually her kids grew up, had kids of their own and Jane lived a life full of work, friends and family.  Jane  has an amazing group of friends — two groups really, the “first wives’ club” and the “Omaha peliton”  Jane is the person people call if they have an event to organize or if they just need the opinion of someone with a good, solid head on their shoulders.  One of her friends, when faced with a major life event called Jane for advice about whether it was reasonable to ask a couple of big favors of another couple of friends — Jane’s answer was quintessential Jane –“that’s what friends do for one another.  None of us have family here, so we call on our friends when we need them.”…

Ralph lived much of his adult life in St. Paul.  He did a great job being a wise and patient parent to his kids.  He paid his bills, loved his family and read a lot.  Ralph loves to travel and read — and he has so much knowledge that friends turn to Ralph for a broad perspective on problems — or whenever they need a great conversation.  Ralph’s organizational skills aren’t great — but he gets things done sooner or later without a lot of fuss.  As Ralph’s eldest niece, I know my uncle loves me and the rest of our family and would help us out however he could.  He’s the one we call when we need some practical advice on life.

A while back, Ralph and Jane ended up e-mailing one another.  By that time, Ralph was living in Florida — Jane in Omaha.  They corresponded for 7 months before they met face to face for the first time in several decades.  Soon, my family was introduced to the wonder that is Jane.  Jane has the organizational skills that most of my amazing and charismatic clan lacks.  She handles organizational tasks with grace, making everyone she organizes feel lucky to get to work with her.

After many visits, Jane realized that she could do her work from Florida — so she moved.  Ralph found himself with a true life partner.  Someone whose strengths compensated for his weaknesses, and someone who is deeply loving and committed to her family, as well as his.  My family accepted Jane a part of our clan long before they married.

About a year ago, Ralph proposed — in Las Vegas.  Getting married instantly wasn’t in his plan and neither of them thought it was a good idea to start their lives as a new couple without their close friends and family, so a plan was hatched to have a wedding in Florida in October of 2011.

Their wedding weekend was fantastic.  It started with a rehearsal dinner for the whole group.  Ever the organizer, by the time we got here, Jane had mailed us a map with all the key event locations noted and a nice letter to all of their guests about the plan for the weekend.  This simply wouldn’t happen if it were up to Ralph…. Every guest even had a name tag for the rehearsal dinner including their name and their relationship to Ralph and Jane.  It was a brilliant idea and served to spark conversation.

The wedding itself was in an historic church here in Florida.  A beautiful ceremony that included a full Episcopalian service, wonderful music, readings by close family and a lot to think about concerning partnerships.  I especially appreciated the idea that a marriage isn’t 50/50, it’s 100 / 100, otherwise, half of each person isn’t dedicated to the marriage. The wedding reception was at a small Spanish restaurant.  The food was fantastic and the wine even better.  At the end of the evening, we had a leisurely stroll down St. Augistine’s historic St. George street.

The last “event” of the weekend was Clan Ross day at the beach house — the cousins cooked, everyone enjoyed themselves by the beach and we had a wonderful and relaxing weekend enjoying each other’s company — and some darned good food — my generation can cook!  It was a perfect way to end the weekend, as it was a chance for our families to relax together, have casual conversations, laugh a lot and really welcome Jane into our clan.

Many years ago, Ralph’s daughter said she was worried about her dad being alone.  Sparky the cat was good company, but not quite the partner his daughter had in mind for him.  Little did she know that his life partner was on her own path toward Ralph and our family.  We are so blessed to call Jane a Ross — she brings grace, humility and the ability to organize us in a sweet and unassuming way.  Just as Andy brings cooking skills to our clan, Jane brings the ability to make a list and get it done.  We’re lucky to have her, and Ralph’s life will be significantly better than it otherwise would have been.


One Response

  1. Thank you for telling us this..its good to hear that things like this happen…and it makes awful stressful things bearable for events such as this.

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