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Published June 28, 2015, 07:59 AM

Jessie Veeder: With this ring, we all become family

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Well, wedding week at the ranch has come and gone. The relatives rolled in, the fences got painted and the ever-changing weather forecast had mercy on the couple hundred people who stood under a big, blue beautiful sky at the ranch in front of the red barn to celebrate love.

By: Jessie Veeder, Forum News Service

WATFORD CITY, N.D. -- Well, wedding week at the ranch has come and gone. The relatives rolled in, the fences got painted and the ever-changing weather forecast had mercy on the couple hundred people who stood under a big, blue beautiful sky at the ranch in front of the red barn to celebrate love.

Because with all the hubbub that goes along with the planning of the day, once my little sister, dressed in white, stood next to a man just weird, patient and kind enough to agree to a forever with her, it was quite clear what the day was truly about.

Love. The joining of two people because they met somewhere and they clicked, so they went on a date to a movie or for drinks and they hit it off, so they went on another date and then maybe she caught a cold and had to break plans and stay home and he showed up with orange juice and chicken noodle soup. And no one had ever done anything like that for her before, so she tried to find ways to keep him around, meet his parents, bring him to her family ranch, get him on a horse and convince him to start a new life in a wild place.

And maybe along the way there were disagreements, wine spilled, plans might have been made and broken. ...

But in the quiet times known only by the two of them, there were stolen kisses, reassurances and eating lasagna on the couch together watching HGTV.

He might have surprised her by leaving a giant picture of a giraffe he painted in her apartment.

She might have driven 20 miles to bring him leftovers for lunch while he was working weekends.

Those are all nice things, the things you do when you have finished falling in love with each other and just are.

In. Love.

But it's not just the love thing these giraffe paintings and stolen kisses equal out to.

No. When you get to the "married" point, it's about more than admiration.

I know this because a wise man once asked me to marry him by asking me to be his family.

I thought about that as my little sister stood next to her groom in front of hundreds of people who gathered from all corners of the country to stand on the dirt that holds our family's history, where our great-grandfather homesteaded and brought his new wife home, where they raised cattle, crops and five children. Where she planted yellow roses that still bloom in the bushes below the cabin. Where he lost her when she was only 36 and their youngest son, our grandpa, was only 8.

On that dirt where we stood to celebrate two people's love, our grandpa was raised to be a hardworking, dedicated cowboy who carried on in his father's footsteps through tough times while raising kids, our dad one of them, a man who fell in love with the land and grew up to take care of it and raise his own children here.

Standing in front of that barn facing my little sister, the bride, our nephew the ring bearer and our flower girl cousin representing another generation of kids to know and love this place, I couldn't help but think ...

With this ring the two become family ...

With this ring, we all become family.

All because 100 years ago two people fell in love and made plans to work together for as long as the future gave them.

I looked over at my husband standing across the aisle and smiled at the thought of the baby in my belly, due to come into this world at the end of November and at the beginning of a long awaited chapter in the story of lives lived and fought for on this place ...

I looked at the tears running down my little sister's cheeks and was glad love made her my little sister and that man she loves my brother.

And with a declaration and a kiss to seal the fate, under the big blue sky, between freshly painted fences, in the middle of the past, present and the unpredictable future, I was glad, once again, love made us all ...

Family.

Jessie Veeder is a musician and writer living with her husband on a ranch near Watford City, N.D. Readers can reach her at jessieveeder@gmail.com.

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