The Wedding

My middle son got married last weekend, the first of six.  I should probably clarify.  LOL.  He’s the first of six siblings to get married, not the first of him getting married six times.  That would be bad.  My ex-wife and I had a daughter, then 3 boys in a row, then twin girls.  They’re all adults now, for the most part.  The twins will officially be adults next year upon graduating high school.  They are all wonderful, beautiful human beings.  But this is Nick’s time to shine, so let me brag on my boy and his new bride.

He’s smart.  He’s funny.  He has an entrepreneurial spirit and a heart of gold.  He’s one of the most loving and genuine people you would ever meet.  He’s a problem-solver with a calming demeaner.  Trustworthy, honest, kind, dependable.  He’s everything and more that I could have ever hoped for him at this point in his life.  I really can’t put into words how proud I am of my boy.

He married his high school sweetheart.  She is positively an awesome individual with a beautiful smile.  She’s the loud one, you can hear her laugh coming a mile away and it makes you want to smile.  She doesn’t know a stranger, as far as I’ve seen, and will befriend anyone she meets.  She’s very excitable and will go in a million different directions during a single conversation.  To say the least, she is very entertaining.  They are a perfect match.  They balance each other out nicely.  I love them both dearly.

To be completely honest, in the months leading up to the blessed nuptials, I asked them numerous times if they really thought they were ready.  Partly because I’m the dad and want to make sure and partly because I’m older and wiser and had my doubts.  I asked because I love and care for them.  It’s not that I doubted their love for each other, there is no question there at all.  It’s just the world we live in.  It’s hard and unforgiving.  And they are young, not financially secure in any sense of the concept, and don’t have the jobs that will provide for a spectacular future.  That sounds vaguely familiar.  Oh, that’s how my ex and I started out and we were married for 26 years and did very well for the most part providing for 6 kids.  I think that’s how most young couples start out; young, dumb, naïve, indestructible, and completely unaware of what the world has in store for them. But they assured me they were ready.

It was a nice ceremony.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  There was a little humor and a lot of love.  I was impressed with the vows they each wrote.  Very touching.  There was a best man and a maid of honor, that’s all.  Nothing flashy or extravagant.  No tuxedos, no flower girls, no live music.  The reception was “catered” by local fast food restaurants.  The whole event was low-key and easy.  I like it.  I think it shows that these two youngsters are just fine with not having a fancy lifestyle right away and can stay in a budget.  It’s exactly how they wanted it and I think it was awesome.

To my son and new daughter, I love you.  I’m proud of you.  Great things lie ahead for you both.  Not that I ever give the best advice, but let me leave you with some wisdom, learned from experience.  Stay focused.  Stay faithful.  Be honest.  Be giving.  Be forgiving.  Be understanding.  Be clear.  Spend wisely.  Save what you can.  Invest for your future.  Not just monetarily, but invest in each other and in life.  Be humble.  Be charitable.  Stay close to God.  Take things in stride.  Nothing is ever the end of the world and if something is too good to be true, it probably is.  So, be smart, the world is already planning on how to take advantage of you.  Most importantly, as I’ve said to you many times, be a decent human being, clean up after yourself, and make good decisions. 

I love you both. 

Dad

The Brick

I bought a house.  Way ahead of schedule for what my original plans were.  I thought it would be at least a couple more years before I was in a position to buy, but sometimes things work out.  It’s a great house, built in 1972, and had only one owner until I bought it last month.  The gentleman that bought the house almost 50 years ago passed away in January.  It does need a few minor things taken care of, but it got a brand-new roof and a complete electrical re-wire before closing.  The seller was extremely accommodating in selling the house she grew up in.

The move was a huge pain, not fun.  The closing had to be moved back a week, so I was worried about getting out of the condo I was renting by the time I said I would.  On top of that, Hurricane Sally was approaching the Gulf Coast.  And to make matters more stressful for me, I was the on-call guy at work for the week that my closing got pushed to.  We got our stuff moved in just before the weather deteriorated, all while working in between moving loads of stuff from one place to another.  And then the storm hit.  I worked a total of 17 days in a row.  I haven’t even come close to getting settle in yet at my new home.  But, I’m here, and I’m happy.  Things will fall into place as they will.  No hurry.

During my move I found many memories while packing.  It’s amazing to find stuff you haven’t seen in years and relive old times while going through closets and boxes.  One thing I found was a brick.  Just a simple, red brick.  It has no monetary value.  It’s not pretty or decorative.  But it might be the last one left of the bricks that were part of my grandparents’ house which was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  They had already sold that house at the end of Beach Bayou Rd in Biloxi, Mississippi years before, but my childhood memories of it still remained.

Grandma had all the Tupperware you would expect in a house during that era.  She had a tan sugar dish with a lid that opened on both sides.  Open one side and it pours out from a small hole; the other side was big enough to put a spoon in.  Of course, she had the orange pitcher with the push down lid.  Is Tupperware even a thing anymore?  Grandpa had a music room where he composed.  I don’t know if he did his paintings in there as well, or just his music.  I have all his music somewhere in a box that hasn’t been unpacked yet.  I always loved his music.  I have a number of his paintings as well, at least one of which is already hanging here at my new house. 

From when I was a child visiting my grandparents’ house, I can remember looking at the stars with my uncle out in the yard and him taking me on the water in his blue fiberglass boat; only time I’ve caught a shark.  I remember my aunt and cousins living in the next house up the road.  We had way too much fun as kids jumping ditches up and down the street.  Grandma would always fuss at us for that because of the snakes in the ditches.  We never got bit.  I remember the times my sister and I would spend the night at the red brick house on the bayou.  So many wonderful memories.  And all that’s left from that house is a brick. 

In 1969, Hurricane Camille devastated the Mississippi Coastal area.  At that time, it was one of the most intense hurricanes to make U.S. landfall.  It was a Category 5 storm. Camille brought 7 ½ feet of water into my grandparents’ home.  When the water receded and the sun came out, they cleaned and rebuilt.  As far as fixing the damage to their home, they left only the watermark in the detached laundry room as a reminder of how high the water had come.  Basically, their house was underwater except for the roof.  In 2005, when I finally got through on the phone to my grandparents after Katrina, I asked how it compared to Camille.  My grandfather told me Katrina made Camille look like an afternoon thunder storm. 

My first opportunity to go to Biloxi after Katrina was in early in 2007, for my grandfather’s funeral.  While there, I took my oldest boy and explored the area, giving him a glimpse into an early childhood chapter of my life.  We went by the old house on Beach Bayou Rd.  As we drove down to where the road disappears into the bayou, I couldn’t see the house.  It was gone.  Only the foundation and a few bricks that still made a small corner of the house remained.  I wanted to cry.  It was all gone.  Only the memories remain. 

I took a brick that day.  I still have it.  It just sits on a window sill in my bedroom at my new home.  It’s place at the condo I moved from was on the window sill in my bedroom there.  Before that, it was on the very top of a small wall unit in my now ex-wife’s house.  There’s no elaborate display for it.  No fancy case.  No markings as to where it came from or how it got here.  It’s just a brick.  But it’s all that’s left from some of my most cherished childhood memories.  It mostly stays of sight, I barely notice it’s there.  Most days I don’t even think about it. 

Maybe our memories are like that brick.  Out of sight, out of mind.  Then once in a while we notice.  Something prompts us to take a walk down memory lane.  Hopefully good memories, but it can go both ways.  I hope your memories are like my brick, mostly good.  Thanks for enjoying my memories with me today.  Good day, God bless.

Dave