Sunday, August 16, 2015
A FATHER DAUGHTER DANCE
Don’t overwhelm friends and family with your writerly skills at a wedding when you’re asked to give a speech. My daughter is getting married this week and right before the dinner I and the father of the groom will be asked to speak.
As far as writing goes, I know not to use cliché, as in, “I’m not losing a daughter but gaining a son.” I change that to either, “I’ll treat you as if you are my own son,” or “know that I love you and I will never waiver.” It’s easy. Ben and Laura are a great match.
Next problem, it’s a civil ceremony. There will be no prayer, except through the philosophy of various readings, toasts and the words of the friend who is marrying them. My toast comes before the meal. I, being trained to the point of almost becoming a priest back when, think of strange things like the symbolism of a reception meal and comparing it to food that feeds the soul like manna or Eucharist. So, I’ll say something like, “I’ll keep this short because of our supper, but consider that this meal represents our communion with the newlyweds and our promise to love them.”
Next, is just me, with the me diminished, because the wedding is not about me.
When I was a freshman in college I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart and miserable. I shared with my mom that I worried about never getting married, that nobody would want me for the rest of her life. Mom counseled me about how I was great catch but more importantly started in on a Catholic lecture about vocation. “You son, may find a calling to become a priest or stay single or marry.” One is not better than the other, it depends on what path the Lord has set for you to walk.”
Interesting, right? It was the sixties; I marched for civil and equal rights so when it came time for Del and me to raise two daughters I remembered my mom’s words and applied my own twist. “Daughter, you are a complete human being, God has given you many talents. Follow the golden Rule. Use your gifts well and show me what you have done with them. You choose which vocation you feel is right for you and we will support you. This man, our new son, is so right for you. I know you have chosen the right path.”
The worst thing you can do at a wedding right before a meal is go on and on, so I’ll raise my glass, “To Ben and Laura.”
So what possible entertainment (via video) can I unleash on you this week? Someday I’ll find that classic scene form a movie, I’ve forgotten the name of, that shows brides in dresses for different times of the year, but for now—let’s lighten it up with counterpoint to the heavy I put on you above:
Oh Daddy by Adrian Belew, 3 min video 1989:
Okay, for those who insist on crying at weddings and who took the title of my post literally, here's a father daughter dance that should come with Kleenex: