F.O.B. Father of the Bride. I bet there are thousands of you out there in Rome News-Tribune land, and with your important role, thousands of stories. Here’s mine.
I guess it officially started last summer when the bride and I were vacationing down on Jekyll Island. We had just taken a dip in the pool and gathered our frosty beverages when a message flashed on my omnipresent phone.
My daughter Dory’s companion of late sent the following message: May I call you?
I turned to my wife and said, like husbands do, “Why would Eric want to call me on our vacation?”
Dean Laura fixed me with a look that I know all too well. “Now why would he want to call?” she said.
I mumbled something, and she shot back, “Silly, he wants to ask for your daughter’s hand in marriage!”
My response was classic old dude: “Naaaahhh...”
I wondered if people even did this anymore.
Moments later the phone rang, and soon I was reduced to a blubbering bag of dad emotions.
I was going to have a son-in-law.
Then the campaign began. Not since the invasion of Normandy have so many moving parts conspired to produce such a singular event. I see all the dads in Floyd County and beyond nodding in affirmation at this statement. You know.
Firstly, let me state that we were deliriously happy at this nuptial news. We have found the groom to be handsome, talented and possessing a killer sense of humor. None of these qualities really matters. He loves our daughter, and that is the deal and dads, again I see you nodding.
Firstly, part two (is that a thing?). Daughter is over the moon happy. Enough said. First wave to the beach!
So the wedding was held a few weeks ago in one of those fancy historic venues surrounding the square in Roswell, Georgia. Magnolia trees surround the curved driveway, and the ancient floorboards creak with the memories of soldiers, business folk and tittering bridesmaids.
Wedding planners are crafty. They occupy a similar stratum as funeral planners in that they ask questions like, “When do you want us to release the doves?”
Doves? Is that price per bird, or for the whole flock? The sparklers cost how much?
Yes, my readers, there were multiple wedding cake tasting events. There were multiple bridal makeup sessions. There were multiple photography sessions, as in one for the engagement announcement and one for the actual event.
I proposed to beloved daughter, that for the price tag, I could send them off to a memorable location at half the price and they would be just as married. I am thinking Aiken, South Carolina or Opelika, Alabama.
We gathered on a June evening at said venue. I was more than grateful that some of my best friends in the world traveled to celebrate at my side. In my most favored group were two pairs of men in whose weddings I had served as best man and there were two gentlemen who were groomsmen in my own wedding. One was the best man at my wedding, and the godparent ratio was way over the moon.
We had enough musicians in attendance to stock a small choir and a concert band. With both bride and groom professional musicians, it made perfect sense. To my daughter’s surprise, a chair was placed, bride situated and a stunningly talented group of men sang a fraternity serenade to the bride. I conducted the ensemble and sang, and the sound was glorious. The wedding band almost quit on the spot.
The bride and groom love to dance, and they procured one of Atlanta’s great wedding bands and indeed, there was a whole lot of shaking going on. I danced early on with the new bride to Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World.”
As a singer who has performed at a large share of weddings, I can tell my readers that sometimes the tensions of the day break out into small scale warfare. Not so at our affair. Old memories were put aside and the daughter’s mantra of “One Big Family” ruled the day. There were hugs, love and warm greetings from every branch of the family tree. As it should be, we all chanted.
The car bearing the wedding pair disappeared into the sultry Atlanta night as photographer Cindy Harter Sims (herself the bride of one of my original groomsmen, Robert Sims) took the last pictures of the evening.
We all turned and gathered family photos, mementos and bade our farewells. I couldn’t find a frown on the property.
F.O.B. I am proud to join this elite and distinguished group of gentlemen, and I am very proud to continue in this role of a lifetime.
Former Roman Harry Musselwhite is the author of “Martin the Guitar” and is an award-winning filmmaker.