Chippewa Herald * March 23, 2014     Hit Counter by Digits

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Spring break in...New Jersey?

by Tom Arneberg, Community Columnist

Here's a glimpse of my spring break this year: I was totally relaxed...lying on a fully reclined lounger...personal attendant fussing over me...basking in the warmth of the bright orb overhead.

Yes, you beach-goers have nothing on my DENTAL CHECKUP last week! (And not a cloud in the ceiling!)

I honestly do find the dentist's chair to be quite relaxing. But other than that blissful morning, our family's spring break was pretty uneventful.

That will all change soon, however. We're getting ready to drive the mighty "ARNEBUS" (our 1999 conversion van) on a road trip to New Jersey for the first Arneberg wedding of the next generation!

Yes, our oldest son Ben is getting married. The girl of his dreams, Camille, grew up mostly overseas, since her mother was an attorney for the U.S. State Department. While Ben and Camille both live in Boston now, Ocean City is where her parents live, so that's where the wedding will be.

On the way to the Jersey shore, we're picking up Ben and Jasper at the Philadelphia airport. So for the last hour of our trip, we'll have a complete family reunion -- all seven of us in the Arnebus! Just like old times.

On Camille's first visit to Wisconsin in her whole life last June, we made sure to immerse her in midwestern culture. She biked through Irvine Park, ate plenty of cheese curds, drank home-made chocolate malts, and even paid a visit to the SPAM Museum with us.

Her real initiation was taking our family photo for our Christmas card. Picture her standing high on a chair in the Nelson Cheese Factory in Nelson, Wisconsin, snapping photo after photo of the seven us wearing cheese heads and holding various cheese products. (Not to mention posing with us for another photo-op with a tourist from Las Vegas who was intrigued with our get-up and had been hoping against hope to see some real cheese-heads up close.)

Bear in mind that this was all two months BEFORE Ben proposed to her. So when Camille said yes, she knew full well what she was getting into.

My favorite part of their love story was the "evaluation" phase in the autumn of 2012. When Ben first met Camille at their church in Boston, he immediately noticed that she is a beautiful young lady. (I know, it's hard to believe that a 22-year-old male would notice a thing like that.) But how do you measure what really matters -- what's in her heart?

Being a very careful decision-maker, Ben concocted a plan. To get to know Camille better, he recruited her to work with him in the middle school "Tween" ministry.

I can't think of a better way to check out someone's character than working side by side corralling dozens of wild fifth- and sixth-graders every Friday night!

Ben's proposal in Boston Common last August included flower petals on a blanket, candles that smelled like baked goods, and a live string quartet. He arranged for his friends to play Etta James's "At Last," one of Camille's favorite songs, and even persuaded a street performer to add the vocals.

A passerby caught the action on his cell phone and ran into them later at a restaurant where he was able to give them a copy of the video, which has gone viral -- at least in our family.

I was thrilled that Ben took both pieces of advice I've always given: Don't be afraid to marry young (once you're sure it's the right person), and keep the engagement short -- six months is ideal.

He is quite sure that Camille is the right one! And I think about now he's glad he doesn't have to wait much longer.

We are looking forward to a majestic and spirit-filled ceremony. Besides the usual siblings and roommates, the wedding party will also feature several of Ben's comrades from the parachute team at the Air Force Academy. They'll miss the rehearsal dinner due to pilot training, but those guys are always good at dropping in at just the right time.

The long-range forecast for the wedding weekend calls for temperatures in the 30s and 40s. I guess that's par for the course in this muted spring season.

But we're not too worried -- there will be plenty of warmth in our hearts as we officially welcome another member to the Arnebunch.!
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