Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
January 31st, 2010


This year the 37th annual March for Life in Washington D.C. and the 6th annual Walk for Life in San Francisco drew record crowds but the media coverage was, as usual, dismal to non-existent.   The estimates for the DC march were from a quarter-million to 400,000 and for the Frisco walk 35,000. Here, for the record, are a couple of videos representative of these momentous events. How long can they be swept under the rug?

Dave Daubenmire reports from Washington:

David Bereit reports on the San Francisco Walk for Life:

January 18th, 2010


“Don’t be proud.  You are allowed.”   This little bit of doggerel came to mind this morning at mass.   From me?  From God?  Who knows?   But it’s right on.

What does it mean?  Here I am, half-way to 87, and I got up this morning, hopped into my Jeep, and attended 7:30 mass. (I’m short, and getting up into the Jeep does require a literal leap.)  It was 14 degrees out there and the windows were covered with frost.    Before mass a few of us  pray morning prayers, alternating, the left side, then the right, but this morning I was the only one responding on the right.  I did OK even though reading out loud has always been one of my bugaboos.  I was feeling pretty pleased with myself.

People are always commenting on how well I’m doing at my age.  No cane, no walker (. . .yet.  They don’t see me staggering around the house.)    How I still have my hair (like I actually will it to grow!  And it puzzles me that I have any left, considering all I find on the floor.)  How I do my own blogging (spend 60 years at a typewriter/computer  and some skills are bound to stick.)  How my mind is still sharp (if you really knew how much less sharp it is, you’d be as amazed as I am dismayed.)  How I pray at the abortion mill twice a week (they don’t know that there are leg warmers over my long johns under my slacks and I can hop into a warm vehicle when I get too cold.)  And so on.

We all have talents and aptitudes that we take for granted and don’t appreciate.  Yet we are painfully aware that others have talents and aptitudes which we lack.   Others are prettier, shapelier, smarter, more articulate, better informed.   They sing better, dance better, are more outgoing.      We can develop our native talents and hone our aptitudes but the fact that we have talents and aptitudes to start with is not of our doing.

What the message I received this morning was saying is, “Yes, you are able to do all this stuff, but don’t  get all puffed up about it.  You were allowed to go to mass this morning. Today you can do it.  You don’t know if you will be able to do it  tomorrow.”   All is grace; all is gift.

Yesterday I had a follow-up thyroid ultrasound.   We will see what next week will bring, won’t we?


From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  — John 1:16

January 15th, 2010


I might have been happier if it had been one of my own family having a dream fulfilled, but I am still very happy that Maddy, 16-year-old daughter of a blogger I’ve been following for a couple of years, has passed the Boston auditions for American Idol and gone on to Hollywood. For almost two years the writer of MommyLife, Barbara Curtis, has impressed me with her family, her spirituality, her political views, her book reviews, and on and on. Barbara’s 8th child had Down’s syndrome and Maddy was her ninth. After Maddy was born the family adopted three more Down’s children. Her website reads:  “Mother of 12 lives to write about it.”

I did not intend to write about Barbara but about Maddy, the American Idol contestant. Just looking at the family constellation you know that there is no way Maddy could be spoiled! Blessed with a lovely voice, Maddy had in recent years some experience in singing competitions and in school productions. She also cantored at her church.

Barbara writes:

I can’t remember if I gave you the background on this, but this was entirely Maddy’s idea. She came home from school one day last June and said she wanted to audition. I said, let’s look up when the auditions are. They were that weekend in Boston and so 24 hours later we were on our way. That may seem ridiculous to some, but it was no more of a stretch than things we’ve done for our other kids. When Matt wanted to be an astronaut, we sent him off to Space Camp. When Josh wanted to play football, Tripp and I were the furthest thing from football fans and yet Tripp immersed himself in the game and we bought our first TV so we could watch it as a family. And so on. I like to think of each child as a gift from God – I mean literally, with ribbons to untie and paper to undo and tissue to unwrap. They are so full of surprises and joy.

 The Boston audition went well. Maddy sang Hallelujah by Leonard Cohen – the contestants just get up there and sing a short snatch of song without accompaniment – and she was not only approved  by the three judges but Simon Cowell delightfully commented that, unlike many in her age bracket, she was “not annoying.”

 Not being a regular follower of American Idol, I am trusting that Barbara will keep us all informed on her website as to when we have to watch the next stage of this exciting adventure.

In the meantime, Maddy, know that there is an 86-year-old Grammy in Connecticut who is pulling and praying for you. May I offer this little prayersong which my friend Patti sings sometimes as a response at mass. You may know it already; if not, I’m sure she’d sing it for you if you call her. It’s a great little prayer for times of testing

Here I am Lord

I’ve come to do your will –

Make of me what pleases you

Here I am, here I am, Lord.

Care for your gift, Maddy,  and use it well. Hallelujah!

January 14th, 2010


I don’t know the origin of this trenchant rendering of the problems of moving in with one’s aged, ill, demented parents.   It arrived in my email and it seemed to be just so appropriate for this blog. So here it is.  (Goggle tells me Cosmo writes for the Sunday Times (UK).

Boomeranger: Cosmo Landesman has moved back in with his parents

Boomeranger: Cosmo Landesman has moved back in with his parents

The news that a record number of adults have moved back into their parents’ home has me worried.

The boomerang generation – as they are called – apparently think that moving back is a quick solution to their problems, financial or emotional. Some may even contemplate the joys of a second childhood, with Mum and Dad taking care of all their domestic needs.

But boomerangers beware: moving back with Mum and Dad can seriously damage your life – and theirs too!

I know this because for more than two-and-a-half years I’ve been living with my elderly parents. And in that time, I’ve nearly killed my mother and given my father a heart attack. I’ve seen my hair turn totally grey, my hopes turn to ashes, and my sex life bite the dust.

Worst of all, every day I have to watch two people whom I love dearly become increasingly ravaged by old age and sickness.

You may wonder how a successful adult ended up a desperate fifty-something living with his parents?

In the latter part of 2006, when my marriage collapsed, the rowing with my ex-wife got so bad I had to move out for the sake of my four-year-old son and my sanity.

But where could I go? I couldn’t afford the growing solicitor’s fees for divorce proceedings and the cost of renting somewhere half decent. And to be honest, I feared the loneliness of a life on my own in a grungy one-bedroom flat in Sidcup.

Then I had a bright idea: I’d go and stay with my parents for a bit.

Yes, I was an early boomeranger, expecting free shelter, free food and a free laundry service. I wanted to take a break from the harsh realities of divorce and retreat to adolescence; to be taken care of by my adoring mother and strong dad.

The fact that they were old – my father Jay was nearly 90 and my mother was in her 80s – never interfered with my fantasy. Boomerangers remember their parents as they were, not as they are.

The first shock I got was on moving from my neat and elegant flat in Bloomsbury to my parents’ home.

They may live in a four-storey house in a fashionable and expensive street in Islington, North London, where houses go for between £1million and £2 million, but my parents’ house must be the most expensive slum in Britain.

My parents are old bohemians with a life-long aversion to tidiness and a hatred of cleanliness. They always regarded dusting and vacuuming as a ‘bourgeois hang-up’.

Inside, their house now looks like The Junk Shop That Time Forgot. There are great towering heaps of plastic bags, shelves of forgotten foods, heaps of broken electrical equipment. (Needless to say, I don’t do dinner parties.)

On the day of my return, I found that my old bedroom had become a dank, dusty storage room packed with great piles of unsold books of my mother’s poetry, alongside dozens of huge plastic packets of my father’s incontinence pads.

From my father’s room next door wafted the smell of stale cigarette smoke. ‘Welcome home, son!’ he said. This was not exactly the ‘babe lair’ I’d been dreaming of.

All my friends, anxious to cheer me up, kept assuring me that I would, post-divorce, have a queue of women banging on my bedroom door. The first woman I managed to get back to the house and sneak into my room woke me up in the middle of the night and asked: ‘Why is there a naked old man lurking in your hallway, drinking a cocktail and wearing a fedora hat?’

Cosmo Landesman

Fantasy: Cosmo with his parents Jay and Fran – but boomerangers remember their parents as they were, not as they are

The mother of my youth was a cool and easy-going beauty who took great care of her kids. But time had made her old, and old age had made her angry, impatient and quite bonkers.

Over the years, she has acquired an elaborate system of rules and regulations regarding the use of her sitting room, her kitchen, her sink and her cutlery. If I so much as put a spoon out of place, she would go ballistic and scream at me, while I – reverting instantly to an angry little boy – would retaliate with louder screams.

Our rows always ended with her blood-curling shriek of: ‘Every bone in my body aches. I’m blind. I am old and I will be dead soon – and then you will be sorry!’ (‘No,’ I’d mutter under my breath, ‘I’ll be happy!’) By the way, although my mother suffers from macular degeneration, she was not blind; she was visually impaired. I know this because one afternoon she screamed at me for leaving a pair of boxer shorts out in the garden to dry.

‘I don’t want to look out at my garden and see your underwear!’ she yelled.

‘Hold on. I thought you were blind?’ I said.

‘I am blind. And I am old! And every bone in my body aches, and I will be dead soon and you will be sorry!’

It was then – after months of this treatment – that something in me snapped. Here I was, going through a major life crisis, and all my mother cared about was her kitchen and her garden and the horrors of my underwear. In frustration, I picked up a small cushion and threw it at her.

To my utter horror, she fell back like a bowling pin and lay silently on the ground. ‘Oh my God, you’ve killed her,’ said my dad, who then cried “Ahhhh!” and began to clutch his chest.

‘Help!’ gasped my dad. ‘Help,’ cried my mother as she lay on the floor. ‘Help,’ I cried. ‘I think I’ve killed my parents!’

We tend to sentimentalize the old, to see them as sweet lovable dears – but most people have no idea just how irritating, how utterly exasperating it is, living with two old people

I ran to her aid, and then his. Mother couldn’t remember where she was or what she was doing. My father had to be put to be bed. For the next couple of days I crept around them, being the solicitous good son. I feared that I might have damaged Mother’s memory permanently.

It wasn’t until I heard her cry of ‘I’m blind. I’m old! Every bone in my body aches, and I will be dead soon and you’ll be sorry’ that I knew she was back to her old self.

About a year after my return, my father got sick again and he could no longer bathe or dress himself, and my mother’s eyesight got worse. I didn’t appreciate just how bad it was until I found her sitting alone stroking a dead mouse (she thought it was one of her grandson’s toys).

It was then that I had to make a choice: get out and get on with my own life, or stay and look after them. I decided to stay for no other reason than I wanted to make their last few years of life as good as possible. They had looked after me: now it was my turn to look after them.

We tend to sentimentalize the old, to see them as sweet lovable dears – but most people have no idea just how irritating, how utterly exasperating it is, living with two old people.

Yes I love them, but let me count the ways they drive me crazy. For starters, it’s their slowness, which I know is not their fault. Should I encounter my father on the stairs, I might as well go back to my room, make a cup of tea, read War And Peace, and only then will he have reached the top.

He walks with the slow, heavy stomp of a zombie and makes this blood-curdling noise that is a mix between a hum, a groan and a grunt.

And if you think teenagers make a racket, then you should hear old people. My parents have the radio and television on at full blast – sometimes both at the same time – and leave them on all night!

And my poor mum now suffers from a chronic sense of dizziness. It’s a feeling that she is about to fall over, which causes her to suddenly cry out ‘Weeeeeeeeeeeee!’, like a small child on a fairground ride.

Happier times: A younger Cosmo (right) with his parents and brother

Happier times: A younger Cosmo (right) with his parents and brother

But I must drive them crazy, too. Who wants to live with a grumpy middle-aged son who is always nagging them about their mess, their noise, their habit of sleeping all day, and who lectures them about the need for exercise and healthy eating.

And yet there are things to be gained from living with my parents. It forces you to learn the art of patience – something I haven’t quite managed yet. It also gives you a ringside seat to your future, for as my mother says to me: ‘One day you’ll be old like us – and then you’ll see what it’s really like.’

When you visit your parents, you see them as they wish to be seen: all neat, capable and independent. When you live with them, you see their secrets and their sadness.

Over the past six months, my father’s dementia has got really bad. This once-stylish and witty man can barely finish a sentence. He sits on his own, fiddling with keys and staring into space. That awful vandal, time, and its sadistic sidekick, old age, have taken him away from me.

Meanwhile, the mum who read me stories and made me cinnamon toast when I was a sick boy now talks about suicide daily.

And yet, for all that, I have seen something beautiful about my parents.

After 65 years of marriage, they are still very much in love. No matter how much she aches, or how dizzy she feels, my mother always ends the day by giving my dad a big kiss, wrapping her arms around him and saying ‘I love you’.

I wish I could find the words to express my love for them. I want to tell my dad all the things I was too embarrassed to say – to let him know what a great dad he was to me.

But now I fear that it’s too late. He often doesn’t know who I am or where he is. At night, I can hear him weep and cry out for his mother.

He used to tell me: ‘I don’t want to die’, but now the look in his eyes says he wants to go.

My New Year resolution is the same as last year’s: to try to be more patient with my parents. I feel a lot of guilt because I carry this great love for them, and yet most days I want to scream at them.

So how have I dealt with it all? Humour. (And drink.)

Some people don’t get it. When my mother gets upset, she always says to me: ‘I’m going to the rooftop to jump!’ And I always say: ‘Mother, I will only be too glad to escort you and give you a push.’

When I told this to a friend, she was shocked and asked: ‘How can you speak to your poor mum that way?’ I tried to explain to her that if I didn’t see the funny side of living with my parents, my heart would simply break.

January 12th, 2010


Some people are blessed with good genes, good fortune, and good health, and go on to old age amazing everyone with their vitality. Rachel Veitch is not only a remarkable 89-year-old but she drives a 1954 Mercury Comet Caliente which she bought new and has driven over a half-million miles. Both are still going strong.  This video clip shows how vibrant 89 can be!

On the other hand, I have just read a description by Father Richard John Neuhaus of his bout with cancer, subsequent surgery, recuperation, and further surgery,  in a First Things article which he titled Born Toward Dying.  It is quite a long piece but because Father was such an articulate man it really hits home with the details of his illness, his medical experiences, his suffering, his thoughts, and even his vision.

At one point he writes:

There was absolutely nothing I could do or wanted to do, except to lie there and let them do whatever they do in such a place. Indifferent to time, I neither knew nor cared whether it was night or day. I recall counting sixteen different tubes and other things plugged into my body before I stopped counting.

Father Neuhaus was dealt quite a different hand than Rachel Veitch and died at the age of only 72. Born Toward Dying is not fun reading but it is something you will not soon forget.   When I subscribed to First Things I always turned first to Father Neuhaus’ comments.  His wisdom, insights, and even holiness were apparent.  He was much loved and is much missed since his death a year ago.

We do not get to choose what our old age will be like.


The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord! —  Job 1:21

Ours not to reason why; ours but to do and die. — Alfred Lord Tennyson

January 9th, 2010


What message does the photo below send?



From ChristianNewsWire:
“As a candidate, Mr. Obama made his Christian faith and involvement in a local church community with regular church attendance a key component of his campaign. Once he was elected President, there has been no relationship with a local church and he did not even attend any Christmas services celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ with his family.

“The issue is not if a person has to attend church to be an effective President. They do not. The issue for Mr. Obama is one of integrity and honesty with the American people.

“The President’s actions give the appearance that his regular attendance during the campaign and his comments about how important his local church community was to his family were not deeply held core beliefs but rather a crass political calculation to curry favor with the faith community.

“Along with his lack of church involvement since being elected President, Mr. Obama has shown other troubling signs regarding the depth of his Christian faith,  a faith which he says is a foundational aspect of his life.

“A few examples:

“The President covered up a white cross and a symbol for the name of Jesus at a Georgetown University speech.

“President Obama did not publicly celebrate the National Day of Prayer at the White House yet celebrated Gay and Lesbian Pride Month as well as Islamic religious observations at the White House.

“For the first time in 43 years, the Obama Administration banned a military flyover at a “God and Country Rally” in Nampa, Idaho.

“On a White House Christmas tree, the President asked that no religious ornaments be sent in, yet they displayed an ornament with the image of the brutal dictator, Mao Zedong, a leader who oversaw the deaths of over 50,000,000 million of his own people.

“The President issued strong support for a Senate Health Care Bill which included public monies to fund abortions.

“In the midst of the worst economic downturn in decades, Team Obama spent $150,000,000 on the Presidential Inauguration ignoring the needs of the poor and struggling across the country.

“President Obama refused to meet with the Dali Lama to discuss human and religious rights after the Chinese government asked him not to.”

Enough said.

See also my previous blogpost:  Is Obama Christian?


He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. — 1 John 2:4

January 5th, 2010


When my brother-in-law, Chuck Vining, 85, sent me the following newspaper clipping this week I was considerably enlightened. I had not even known he was once a Marine. Chuck’s family and my family have always lived on opposite coasts and have met rarely. Because this story of his Marine adventures will be news to the rest of my family, I thought I’d include it on my blog.


chuck 3

When 18-year-old Chuck  (Charles) Vining boarded a train in Chicago bound for Marine Corps boot camp in San Diego he looked up at the platform where his father was waving and saw tears streaming down his face. Vining says his dad, who served in the Army during World War I, was a real tough guy. “It was the first time in my life I ever saw my dad cry,” Vining said. “It really surprised me.”

After training,  the Marines were shipped across the Pacific Ocean to retake the islands that had been invaded by Japan, Vining said. From Guadalcanal to Guam, Vining said his Marine division stormed the islands in pursuit of the enemy .– running, ducking, shooting, and bombing over and over again,  one island at a time.   “We had to jump out in the water and climb up the cliff as best we could and keep from getting shot…They could see us coming and we could see them,” Vining said.

Machine gun fire from U.S. ships offshore into enemy positions covered the Marines during the invasions. “That’s how it was all over the Pacific,” he said. One night, while sitting with three of his buddies by an unlit campfire – to prevent the enemy from detecting them – they watched as shells were being shot back and forth across the night sky. “You could see a bomb coming down was going to land pretty close to the men,” he said.

“I saw the bomb and said ‘Duck,’” said Vining, who was lying on his back at the time the shell hit. After the tremendous crash and explosion, a horrific scene surrounded Vining. “The guy on my left had his head blown off, the guy on my right was splattered, and the guy in front of me was split open,” he said. “I didn’t have a scratch.” All three were dead. “The bomb came down unexpectedly.” he said. “It was so sad, so sad, to see your buddies go like that.”

Another close encounter awaited Vining on the island of Guadalcanal. He was lying in the bushes with a gun in his hand while Japanese soldiers came walking toward the Marines’ position.    One of the soldiers stepped on Vining as he walked through the brush. “He didn’t realize it at first,” Vining said, “That’s when I turned around and got him – bang! – You just never know what is going to happen until it happens.”

In Guam, Vining’s final battle stop of the war, he and several Marines were checking some caves in the mountains near the edge of the water. “A Japanese soldier jumped up out of the ground and started shooting but, thankfully, the gun didn’t go off,” he said. “It was a thrill and a half to hear the gun go ‘click, click, click.’” he said. “You’ll always, always remember that!”

The enemy’s weapon was pointed right at Vining, but his Marine buddies had his back. “The other guys took care of him,” Vining said.

After Guam, Vining was sent home on furlough. His next assignments were stateside. He worked guard duty in Miami, Florida, followed by a trip to Camp Pendleton on the coast for more training before shipping back to the Pacific. Vining was at Camp Pendleton when the war in Japan ended. He and his buddy had enough points to be discharged, but top brass had other plans – they were assigned occupation duty in China

They were sent by landing craft to Hawaii, where they would catch a ship to China.   On the way across the Pacific, the giant flat-fronted vessel got hammered by a big storm that ultimately delayed their arrival. “We were one day late,” he said. “The ship for China left without us. We had to stay in Hawaii three months, watching the Hula girls and eating poi.” His time on Oahu – he had no military assignment – was spent enjoying the sights and sounds of the islands. “I fell in love with Hawaii in those three months,” he said. “I’ve been over there hundreds of times.”
– – – – – – – – – – -Denise Goolsby, The Desert Sun

January 3rd, 2010



I’ve just come from a veritable blogfest!  Elizabeth Esther of the Saturday Evening Blog Post has assembled (and is still assembling) a collection of the favorite posts of various bloggers in 2009.   Each blogger is invited to choose the 2009 post they would like to share and to add a link for it to Mr. Linky.    (See the Saturday Evening Blog Post site for complete details.)  When I last looked,  78 people had provided favorite posts.  As she says, “You’re next!.

I must admit, however, besides the wonderfulness of being able to quickly review the favorite posts of 77 people, I have the distinct feeling of being quite out of place.  The blogs are mostly bubbly and bursting with babies, and child-raising experiences .    I was there once there myself – the newborns are SO precious — and it’s truly all very wonderful!  Then I come back to my own blog with its parchment wallpaper and sedateness and wonder why anyone would stop there to read.   Of course my original reason for blogging was to preserve my memories and thoughts as an old lady,  primarily for my family,  and perhaps shed some light on the aging process for others on the downhill slope.

And my favorite post for 2009?  My thoughts on evolution – The Evolution Fairy Tale!    But if I have written anything momentous in 2009, that is it.   Sorry.

I invite others to join in the blogfest and enjoy the best of 2009.  (Thank you, Elizabeth Esther, for this feast.)   Leave a link to your own favorite post.  And if you don’t chose to read about evolution today, that’s OK.  I still think it’s an important post.  Enjoy the babies.  God knows they’re our hope!

January 3rd, 2010


The heart knows.   Mommy knows.   Daddy knows.  There’s a baby in there!

Daddy Love

Grandson Jason loves his son, Caleb.



Turn the hearts of the children to their parents

Turn the hearts of the parents to their young

Turn the hearts of us all to one another

Turn the hearts of us all unto the Lord.

Song from Malachi 4:6

January 2nd, 2010


Eat, Pray, Love is a truly remarkable book about  one woman’s journey for one year – four months in Italy so she could learn to speak Italian simply because she liked the sound of it, four months in an ashram in India to learn how to  experience God, and four months in Bali where she thought she might find balance but also found a lover.

As the book opens, Elizabeth Gilbert describes an earlier time in her life when she had decided she did not want to be married anymore.  She really, really didn’t want to be married anymore and the only thing more unthinkable than leaving was staying.  In desperation she tried praying.

Her first attempt at praying, on the bathroom floor , “like –  to God,” somehow convinced her there was a God though nothing remarkable happened, and the only voice she heard was her own, saying, “Go back to bed, Liz.”  Yes, she only heard her own voice but it was a voice she had never heard before – wise, calm, compassionate, “how can I describe the warmth of affection in that voice?”  This began what she calls the beginning of a religious conversation.

“When I pray I do not address my prayers to The Universe, the Great Void, The Force,  The Supreme Self, The Whole, The Creator, The Light, The Higher Power, or even the most poetic manifestation of God’s name, taken, I believe, from the Gnostic gospels, “The Shadow of the Turning.” …  But we each do need a functional name for this indescribability and “God” is the name that feels the most warm to me, so that’s what I use.  I should also confess hat I generally refer to God as “Him,” which doesn’t bother me because, to my mind, it’s just a convenient personal pronoun, not a precise anatomical description or a cause for revolution.”

In the EAT section of the book as Liz travelled around Italy in each new town she would inquire where the best food could be found, go to that place, and order the best food they had to offer.  Not everyone could afford to be so self-indulgent, but it seems that Liz has the wherewithal.

She tells us she has no trouble making friends wherever she goes and this becomes even  more apparent in the PRAY section, in India, where she starts out in the ashram scrubbing floors but ends up as a kind of hostess/caretaker watching over newcomers.  “One Thursday afternoon in the back of the temple, right in the midst of my Key Hostess duties, wearing my name tag and everything–I am suddenly transported through the portal of the universe and taken to the center of God’s palm.”  Her further description of this experience is worth the price of the book.  I liked also her quote from Pope Pius XI who sent delegates to Libya in 1954 with the instructions: “Do NOT think you are going among Infidels.  Muslims attain salvation, too.  The ways of Providence are infinite.”

In the LOVE section Liz finds love–enough said.    Elizabeth Gilbert knows how to write, she approaches life with gusto, she tells the truth, she is a seeker, and it seems she has had more experiences in a year than most people have in a lifetime.  Still, at the end of the book, she is only 35, hardly dry behind the ears.  I am sure she will write more and I am also sure I will want to read what she writes and learn what she has learned.

Postscript:  I should have investigated earlier but have just learned that Eat, Pray, Love was a mega-hit, translated into 30 languages, and is being made into a movie starring Julia Roberts.  And, of course, Liz is still writing, her most recent book being Committed in which she considers the pros and cons of marriage to her lover (both are quite shy of marriage).   Since they do end up married this might very well be a good choice for those who wonder if marriage is more than “an unnecessary  piece of paper.”