KRULL: The circle, still unbroken

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John Krull

By John Krull
Special to WTHR.com

JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. – We sway in a large circle, arms draped over each other’s shoulders, bride and groom among us, as the music blares.

Some sing along:

Closing time
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from
Closing time
This room won’t be open ’til your brothers or you sisters come
So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits
I hope you have found a friend
Closing time
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end

We’re winding down a wedding reception. We’ve gathered to celebrate the union of Abbey and Richard.

Richard is a former student of mine, now a dear friend. Abbey is a wonderful young woman of both grace and grit, his heart’s partner.

Richard is a member of a tight group, most of whom are in the wedding party. He often was the glue in a tribe that always has loved and squabbled with equal fervor. Richard always made the best peace. He has a rare gift for reading moments and people. He knows, intuitively, how to break tension with either goofiness or grace and restore good feeling.

His friends long have wanted him to pair with a mate who has a heart as large as his own. He found her in Abbey. That is why they have embraced her.

A little while ago, the maid of honor and best man made their toasts.

Abbey is the oldest child in her family. Her mother died a few years back. Abbey’s maid of honor is her sister, who spoke about the calm and strength Abbey projected during their time of loss.

Dan, another former student of mine and a classmate of Richard’s, is the best man. Dan talks about a time when he experienced immense tragedy. Richard, he says, drove to the newspaper where Dan worked and asked the editor to give him Dan’s assignments so Dan could spend more time with his family.

As best man and maid of honor speak, people dab at their eyes and stifle cries, grateful that two such fine people walk among us.

A hundred miles north of here, another former student of mine – a decade younger than this crew – also is getting married. Several friends and colleagues are there. And further away still, a current student and another friend and colleague attend the Emmy Awards dinner in northern Ohio, where they wait to find out if a documentary a dozen of my students worked on will win.

We trade reports back and forth from each site, tracking how various members of this extended tribe are doing.

Here, Evan – another of my former students – finds a live stream of the Emmy celebration on his phone. He monitors it while those gathered here wander to watch and see how things are going. They’re rooting for these students who were in elementary school when they were in college as if they themselves were the ones in competition.

Like they were pulling for a younger brother or sister.

Then we’re swaying in the circle, locked in one large, moving hug.

Closing time.

We fade into the night.

Morning comes.

Before we all begin to make our ways back home, my wife and I stop by the hotel room where Evan and his wife, Liz, are staying with their 2-month-old son, Will. Will is a strapping lad, a heartbreaker with so curious a disposition that he reaches out for everything around him.

Evan and Liz are kind enough to let me hold him.

I cradle Will in my arms and listen to him burble as he tries to fit his thumb in his mouth and struggles to grasp his blanket or my sleeve.

I can’t stop smiling, thinking that this little boy soon will discover how fortunate he is. He was born to parents who love him and love each other – and who have provided him with a small army of adopted aunts and uncles who will do anything for him.

Then I think about the circle, the one in which we all swayed together and the one that circle is part of.

How far the circle reaches.

How strong its bonds.

John Krull is director of Franklin College’s Pulliam School of Journalism, host of “No Limits” on WFYI 90.1 FM Indianapolis and publisher of TheStatehouseFile.com, a WTHR newsgathering partner.