Inquiring minds have been curious about the fate of the wedding arbor showered with faint praise in this space on July 28.

Inquiring minds have been curious about the fate of the wedding arbor showered with faint praise in this space on July 28.

The attentive reader will recall the rustic arch the mother of the bride built with her bare hands out of manzanita harvested on our rural Jacksonville property. As Maureen's assistant, I employed a saw here, a block of sandpaper there, whenever I needed to look busy.

It must be noted that a few imprecations were also deployed in the hand-to-hand combat with the stubborn wood, verbiage that would have mortified my fellow Marines back in the day.

These were rugged jarheads with graduate degrees in the fine art of cursing, mind you.

But don't be too harsh on Maureen. Manzanita is vexing wood.

Yet out of the gnarly, twisted grain emerged what we fervently hoped was a rustic arbor suitable for the Aug. 3 wedding on the beach at Lincoln City. We were aiming for a beach-wood look, a kind of shabby chic on the sand.

Daughter Sheena and son-in-law Justin are a matched pair: gregarious, intelligent and humorous.

Before graduating from law school, he attended the University of Oregon, where he made lifelong friends, nine of whom were groomsmen at the wedding. Sheena studied nursing in college and also developed lasting friendships along the way.

As the groomsmen lined up for the ceremony, one couldn't help noticing they were a beefy bunch. So it should come as no surprise that at least one played Duck football, while half of them, including our man Justin, were UO cheerleaders. These are the fellows who throw the female cheerleaders high into the air as if they were rag dolls.

Yes, Justin agrees his cheerleader tossing days are behind him.

Still, when it came to lugging the heavy, three-piece arbor from the parking lot onto the beach, it was the eight bridesmaids who did the heavy lifting. Marines couldn't have taken the beach any faster.

Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out how the arbor puzzle, having been dismantled for transport, fit back together. Nothing seemed to match up.

And the clock was ticking.

But Sheena's sister Derra and her significant other, Matt, stepped forward to offer a little more brainpower. The two Duck science alums quickly helped piece the arbor back together.

Of course, we could have called in the big gun in the form of Rick, the bride's brother and a 1993 graduate of North Medford High School. As the co-owner of a construction firm, he is a bit of a genius when it comes to building things.

In defense of the arbor, it is actually more balanced than the surreptitious photo here would indicate. In the event the professional photographer had an off day, I snapped it after taking a front row after the bride helped me walk down the sandy aisle.

For all its elbows and serpentine twists, the arbor is balanced. It's the rest of the planet that is slightly askew.

Sheena is the attractive one in the wedding dress, incidentally.

I'm actually Sheena's stepfather but, having raised her since she was a pup in our blended family, I figure I have earned some equity in ensuring she has a wonderful life. Her biological father was on her other side when we walked down the aisle.

The fellow who conducted the ceremony owns a bookstore in Eugene, reflecting the love of books by many in the 130 present. In my book, weddings don't get much better.

But, as always with best-laid plans, there was a snafu or two.

As the reception began, Maureen and I raced back to the kennel where pooches Waldo and Harpo were doing time. We had to bail them out by 6 p.m. or the more than 200 pounds of mutt would have spent the night in lockup. They would have never forgiven us.

We got back just as the reception was wrapping up, too late for the open-mic session. So the crowd had a narrow escape from having to listen to my really bad puns and cornball humor.

Since I walk with a hitch in my gait, I wanted to let them know I didn't walk like this until I worked on the arbor. You get the gist. They were all groaners.

In all seriousness, I also intended to tell them the manzanita represents the strength of character needed for a successful marriage. The deep red grain is strong and durable, while interwoven gray wood reflects the wisdom gained over the years. God knows that life has as many fascinating twists and turns as a manzanita limb.

I came away from the wedding with a renewed optimism about our world. Justin and Sheena are the top of the line when it comes to humanoids. Their friends and family are bright and friendly, the kind of people with whom you want to spend a lifetime.

Meanwhile, the wedding arbor awaits its next date at the beach. There will be a slight rental fee for non-University of Oregon alumni.

Reach reporter Paul Fattig at 541-776-4496 or