Personal, spiritual wedding ceremony at the Cornell Club

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Rob and Marisa, as you may know, first chatted on December 28th, 2010, which happens to be Rob’s birthday. Their conversation flowed spontaneously and without effort. They shared stories and laughed. The worries of the world faded. Both felt comforted, as though they recognized a kindred spirit. They arranged to meet in Forest Hills two days later on a very cold winter day. In fact, some of you might recall the infamous snow storm that had nearly paralyzed New York that week. They chatted in the Austin Diner over ten cups of chamomile tea and coffee each. Kicked out at closing, they detoured to a most romantic and appealing space called “McDonald’s.” There the date continued. In total, this first date lasted fifteen hours…until the next train made its way from Forest Hills to Kew Gardens at 5:45 a.m.

More dates followed. Every meeting quickly filled with an amazing mix of joy, adventure, and tranquility. A date planned at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, for example, accidentally became a date at MoMA. After walking through the displays of color splashing bearing a remarkable similarity to the displays at IKEA, they walked along Sixth avenue to Central Park for a carriage ride. With the temperatures too cold for most tourists, the park was a refuge. It was a calm haven for their thoughts into which God began whispering to both: “this is the one for whom you have waited.” It did not take long for Marisa and Rob to heed this voice.

It is not the 1950s, but a full grown man dating an Italian woman is still not much different from a guy dating an Italian girl. At some point, Rob had to meet Mr. Barone. And sure enough, Rob did not think Mr. Barone liked his prospective son-in-law much: Mr. Barone left the room during Rob’s visit. Fortunately, Mr. Barone did like him. He requested that Marisa put on a recording of his baritone voice singing in the Steinway Hall upon his arrival in the United States. He even propped up his accordion and played a few tunes for them. They toasted to life and health.

The charm and enchantment of that evening lasted. As the months moved along, Rob started to secretly plan a marriage proposal. Unfortunately, the planning did not go farther than picking the date of September 10th. Luckily, the heavens were more thoughtfully aligning the afternoon. At an impromptu visit to the Shrine of Our Lady of Long Island in Eastport, Marisa and Rob found themselves among twenty couples on a marriage retreat. The priest welcomed them with the words: “we hope you can join us in a future retreat, but first we have to get you married.” Taking the sign, Rob got down on bended knee, pulled out an engagement ring, and asked Marisa to marry him. Of course, she replied “yes” immediately.

Rob, you are Marisa’s heart and peace. You are her rock. As Marisa put it, “it is easy to be there for someone in good times. But it is in the bad times that we truly see the heart of our partner.” Many times over have you proved to be a caring, loving, and giving soul. You make Marisa laugh – sometimes uncontrollably, especially with your imitations of Bill Clinton, Rainmain, Rocky, and Austin Powers. You do your best to please Marisa and bring her joy. She promises never to take you for granted: you are the rare and precious person who is willing to give unconditionally. For these reasons and many more, Marisa is deeply thankful for your love.

Marisa, you are Rob’s mirror. You bring out the best in Rob; you bring out his truest self. All his life Rob has desired someone to hear and listen to him as you do so naturally. Rob sincerely admires your strength and beauty. You are authentic; you are a complete person. He had basically resigned himself to bachelorhood. But your spirit captivated him. He can relax around you. As his favorite audience, you inspire him to be more creative. During turbulence, you lift his spirits. In fact, when you laugh, he tries to be funnier to make you laugh harder. For these reasons and many more, Rob is deeply thankful for your love.

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