Monday, February 20, 2012
How Did I Get Here?
I attended an amazing family wedding at the Hall of Springs in Saratoga on Saturday night. It was the marriage of my paternal cousin, Jen F and her husband from Connecticut, Ryan N. The celebration was the first time in years that the ENTIRE family was together, and I spent most of the celebration trying to take advantage of what will go down as one of the glorious days in our family’s history. Sadly the last event that brought family in was the death of my father. And the next such event could be a tragedy, so I wanted to soak up every second of this night of excess and great company
Jen’s wedding has been the buzz about a year, as Jen is the undisputed #1 grandchild out of the 22 of us, the Princess of the family, and the first girl married. Her celebration promised to be the Royal Wedding of this generation. It was. The last year was whisperings and rumors about how over the top Bob would go with this thing. No amount of speculation could prepare me for what Bob finally put together. As you know I am not a fan of weddings, but the wedding of Bob F.’s daughter was not to be missed, and guess what, all 325 guests who accepted fully agreed. Even Siena’s President, Father Kevin Mullen, who married the lucky couple, was ready to party hardy.
A word about Bob F, the man who married my father’s only sister, Maggie, after meeting her at Siena. He is a modern day Atticus Finch, the ultimate hero. A hugely successful insurance sales owner in his working life, who has recently retired to a life of reading biographies, daily walks though his Loudonville neighborhood, and top-shelf trips to Vegas. Even his kids call him Bob, and all three of them worship him, would run through a brick wall for him. Why? Because if anybody needs anything Bob’s there. End of story. The man has never made a wrong move, said a wrong thing in the 30 years that I have known him.
He has been the star of every show, and on Saturday night, Bob was the star of the show, no doubt about it, even though he spent the whole night telling everyone else how important they were, thanking family members, grandparents, cousins, you name it. When he walked his daughter down the aisle at St. Pius, the congregation gave shouts of “All right, Bob,” and “You the man, Bob.” His reception speech was a home run on every level. His life has been happy and richly successful. He’s just a great guy. When I finally shook his hand, I said, “I come to you on this the day of your daughter’s wedding . . .” That wasn’t in a movie. I made that up.
I had a smile painted on from the second the reception started until the end of the very last song, played by a ten-piece band, of course. I even missed SNL for this thing. My whole family was with me, and everyone was just happy. But my greatest happiness came from watching my #1 girl on the dance floor, the life of the party she was, a confident, educated, successful, intelligent, powerful person, who has decided to spend her life with me. What a fool, huh? How did I get so lucky? Her presence in my life has immediately legitimized me, and so often, in social situations, I will praise her to anyone who will listen. And she always wants me to stop, but I never will. I’m thinking of that Talking Heads song that says, “How did I get here?” This woman is the only good thing that has ever happened to me. That was easy to see on Saturday night. And as I watched her dance, I glanced fast across the huge dance floor, and saw Bob, the star of the show, watching his wife of 32 years dance, the same way I watched mine of 1.5 years.
About a week before the big wedding, I had a dream. I was on a rooftop parking lot atop a tall building, and down below, on the street, the NYG’s Championship parade was passing by, I could hear it. When I turned around, I saw an old girlfriend of mine, I knew it was her, and she was dressed for a wedding, and she wanted me to take her to this wedding. We actually broke up the day before a wedding in ’05, I went stag, it was awful. In the dream I went to her and we danced on the roof, but I knew I wasn’t taking her to any wedding. Halfway through the dance, I saw my wife a few feet behind, near the building's ledge, also dressed for a wedding. I kissed my first girlfriend goodbye, and went to my wife, and together we walked off, down the stairs. I didn’t know what the dream meant until this past Saturday night.