Wednesday, June 18, 2008
6/18/08 "Romancing the Rose"
6/18/08 Chatterbox Betty Kaiser Has June gloom got you down? Then read on. Today’s trio of stories include a romantic couple dancing in the moonlight, the fragrant Portland Rose Festival and a lovely June bride to brighten your day. Ron and Linda Palmer’s son Matt and daughter Kirsten play major parts in these events, We begin with the popular Portland festival as a backdrop and end with a Virginia countryside wedding. The Portland Rose Festival Foundation announced “Romancing the Rose” as the winner of its much anticipated poster contest on April 25. Matt Palmer and his wife Trae‘s image adorned the winning entry. A beautiful oil painting of them by Trae’s uncle Ted Chilless (noted portrait artist and retired architect) was the contest winner and they waltzed into history for the year 2008. The poster scene displays a romantic couple (the Palmers) that has been dancing all night. In the daybreak scene, the sun is beginning to rise over Mt. Hood, illuminating the buildings of downtown Portland. Palmer and his wife are gazing lovingly at each other and holding a beautiful rose in their clasped hands. Those who know Matt say that it depicts his profile perfectly. Matt is a 1989 graduate of Cottage Grove High School where he was class president in both his junior and senior year. An outstanding athlete, he was an All-state performer in track and field; and he also made the winning touchdowns his senior year when CGHS beat both Churchill and Sheldon High Schools. He was Cottage Grove’s Junior First Citizen in 1989 and went on to graduate from the University of Oregon in 1994. Matt and Trae were married in 2002 and now live in Portland where he is an insurance broker and she an insurance executive. They have an adorable three-year old daughter Camillia who someday will admire her parents — on poster board — as they gracefully danced their way into hearts all across the City of Roses. Now, here’s a little FYI for you in case you’ve never been to the Rose Festival: put it on your calendar for next year. Everything is grand about this event. There is a grand floral parade; a grand floral run; a grand floral walk; grand food and a colorful Dragon Boat Race at Tom McCall Riverfront Park. There are bagpipes, clowns, dancing girls, horses, marching bands and drum majorettes. Bigfoot even made an appearance this year on the Oregon Realtors Float. And yes, there are also roses. This year, Clackamas County Circuit Judge Susie Norby got into the romantic spirit of the event by conducting a contest and choosing three couples to be publicly remarried on a float during the parade. Each couple’s had a romantic or sentimental connection with the festival. In 2007 the Rose Festival was named the best event in the world, winning the highly coveted Grand Pinnacle Award. It also garnered kudos as the second largest all-floral parade and best overall parade in the U.S. This year an estimated two million people attended dozens of events during the festival, generating about $80 million dollars! Pretty impressive. As this event ended on the west coast, another was about to begin on the east coast. There, a long-standing courtship was about to culminate in marriage. Matt’s sister, Maj. Kirsten Palmer, United States Air Force and her fiancé Capt. Roger Lang were counting down the days to their wedding on (appropriately enough) — Flag Day, June 14. Kirsten, like her brother, was student body president her senior year at Cottage Grove High School. At Lincoln Middle School, after studying the solar system, she first got the bug to become an astronaut. But first she would have to be admitted into the U.S. Air Force Military Academy and become a pilot. The academy’s rigorous admission standards dictated that she perform multiple community service projects and do well academically and athletically. She rose to the challenge in all three areas. Well, her community service record was stellar, including four years as a counselor at the outdoor school and as a page for Sen. Bob Packwood; her grades were good; and athletically, she excelled in volleyball and track. In 1991, three weeks after graduation from high school, Kirsten was on her way to the U.S. Air Force Academy; a great education; a new way of life and a lifetime career. As a cadet she received free tuition, room and board and a monthly allotment. The Air Force has been her home ever since. Along the way she decided against becoming a pilot and received a Bachelor of Science in Management degree. She found this field challenging and has been stationed at Arizona, Germany and So. Carolina . Currently she is at the Pentagon. The couple-to-be met when they were both assigned to the 75th Airlift Squadron at Ramstein Air Base in Germany. He has been a pilot for 9 years, flying everything from the C-9 medevac aircraft to the C-20 (Gulfstream 3) and C-37 (Gulfstream 5) aircraft. He is now at Andrews Air Force Base where he transports our nation’s senior leadership around the world. Last week, family and friends happily traveled to Virginia and the Historic Long Branch for the ceremony. This breathtaking 1811 manor house sits at the foot of the picturesque Blue Ridge Mountains. The manor’s decor includes a long winding staircase, 18th and 19th century furnishings and an outdoor terrace. The grounds are graced by acres of gardens with 400 acres are devoted to care of horses. At the time of this writing, in the beautiful setting above, Kirsten and Roger have said their “I do’s” and are looking forward to a future of shared joys. Congratulations and best wishes to them and the entire family. May all your tomorrows be coming up roses! Betty Kaiser’s Chatterbox is about people, places, family, and other matters of the heart. Read her weekly columns in the Cottage Grove Sentinel.