(Published Sunday May 13 in The Times and The News-Star)
I didn’t know how I’d feel about our baby girl getting married, but Saturday and Cinco de Wedding have come and gone, and now I know.
For starters, there were no blue lights, no bloodshed, and no one had to make bail, making it one of the more unusual and successful weddings I have ever attended.
By “successful” we mean that the parties who claimed eternal love for each other wound up for-sure married — the ink pen worked and they were still willing and so they signed the contract while the band was playing, something I had suggested to them during mild Wedding Week chaos would mean they’d be married at day’s end even if a bridesmaid slipped or it rained, and the first happened and the second didn’t — so all was more than well.
Safe at home.
I didn’t know how I’d feel because this was a first in our experience. The whole thing was unusually fun and fairly woe-free. About 48 hours out, a weird anxiety or empty feeling was in my mid-chest, one of those deals where it’s all of a sudden sort of hard to breathe, and if dads of brides-to-be ask, I’ll tell them to be aware this might happen. It’s not really sadness; I think it is just the missing of a little girl, the missing of a time. And change.
Then again it might have been anticipating the pulled-pork soft tacos and homemade salsa at the looming Cinco de Reception. But I’m just a guy: how would I know?
Turned out to be one of the best days of my life and, to use a ‘Seinfeld’ line, even more succulent than I had hoped.
A semi-heavy reception-supper rain Friday evening washed all the pollen off, and Saturday dawned blue-skied and cool. My Three Musketeers college friends and brothers from out of town rode in to ride shotgun and put out fires, which we did with a proficiency that surprised the bride’s mom a little and ourselves a lot.
The ceremony was twinkly lights, beaming groom, fetching bride, and smiles on good-looking faces of healthy young groomsmen and bridesmaids who’ve shared birthday parties and tricycle rides and term paper jitters. They all looked so sharp I didn’t know if I was at a wedding or a beauty pageant or a Chippendales bachelorette party. (It was a wedding for sure but I found it entertaining that our tallest bridesmaid, the daughter of a college classmate of mine who had to wrestle with Karl Malone through every Louisiana Tech basketball practice back in the day, grabbed eight boards and scored 12 points during the ceremony. Money! But…maybe I just dreamed that part; it was a dreamy sort of day.)
The reception was cake-cutting, more twinkly lights, round tables and white folding chairs and tablecloths, soft tacos and red beans and rice, chocolate strawberries, and then these kids dancing for more than two hours, almost three. They never stopped. I helped by standing with the Musketeers, way over to the side. We guarded the chocolate and the chips.
If I could do anything over, I’d ice down some more water bottles and use “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the daddy/bride dance instead of “Farmer’s Daughter” by Merle Haggard. It was the sentimental Haggard lyrics that got me:
“He could be the richest man in seven counties,
“And not be good enough to take her hand
“But he swears he really loves the farmer’s daughter,
“And I know the farmer’s daughter loves the man.”
That sort of thing. I’m still trying to convince myself this song was more appropriate for a wedding than “It’s one, two, three strikes you’re out…”
The Three Musketeers and I cleaned up — honestly don’t know what we would have done without them — as our priceless gang of friends who could be there at the Cinco de Reception cleared. More than 250 to-die-for little bride’s-cake cupcakes had vanished — red velvet, crème cheese in the middle, white frosting on top, I ate four — but a little of the Cake Proper remained. We put it in two aluminum pans; we gave one to the band and one to our friends at the Fire Station. The top of the cake I took home so we could eat it and possibly mate it with another cake so we could have more.
Icing was everywhere. On my suit. My elbows. My rain jacket in the back seat. My floor mats. I was still finding it on me Monday.
There’s still a little bit of icing and cake on my passenger side door. (I don’t know either, but there is.) I started to wipe it off — but I didn’t. I liked it being there. It won’t be there for long. I’ll let time decide when it needs to go.