Our son, Zach recently married his college sweetheart, Aly. I’m not much for emotions, except perhaps bouts of irritation or over-analytical thinking, according to the wife.
This is in stark contrast to my wife and mother who bawled throughout the entire ceremony. My column today is from the perspective of a somewhat unsentimental, “Spock-like” father of the groom.
“From my perch behind the clergyman, Zach’s fellow college classmate, I could see my son’s face, roiling between sniffles and laughter in, evidently, a state of bliss. Our usually laidback boy was ecstatic to be getting married and unable of controlling his emotions...right there in front of all those people! It was rather amusing.’’
Zachary is the youngest and only boy from our brood of four. Last to be born by five years, he’s also the last to get married. He and Aly had selected this date over a year ago, making plans to be married in a large venue with far too many guests for my tastes. I tried to talk them into a small ceremony up at Valhalla, you know it as Lambeau Field, but Aly ignored my pleas.
Unfortunately, their plans were made before the year 2020 was unleashed upon us, and results were as predictable as pigeons perched above a freshly washed car. China’s bug and governmental overreaction destroyed their dream. There would be no large, grand wedding this year, anywhere.
The young couple was left scrambling. Options included hope of no virus-induced pandemonium in 2021, or go with the original date in a modest format. Opting for the latter leads me to this account from a lawn chair under a tree in their backyard on a drizzly, cold Saturday afternoon. Could anything less be expected from 2020, the Year of the Pigeon? I kept one eye skyward just in case.
I reflected on his previous years. There was the 18-month-old baby whom my wife found in the bottom of a hot tub, who by the grace of God, came back to us in the hospital with the simple reply a duck says “quack, quack.” I thought of the young lad’s blonde mullet that would make any self-respecting hockey player envious, or the Mohawk in high school.
There were the years of anguish and pride with Little League baseball, Sam’s basketball, and Stars football, inducing me to leave my office early to help coach. Game days with my boy were magical, although I wondered if he ever knew it.
“From there it was on to school activities, starting in three sports, something his old man never came close to doing. He was a starting wide receiver on a senior football team that came within one game of going to the championship in Champaign, perhaps a year neither of us will ever forget. I warmed just reflecting on it.’’
Sitting there in the light rain, I smiled again at the time we dropped him off for a college introduction weekend his junior year of high school. We left our impressionable son, whom surely rejected all the vices his old man experienced, off to see what college life would be like. On the way out of town I made a wrong turn and wound up on the backside of the dorm we left him — where he had a football in one hand and a beer in the other.
Surrounded by his college buddies, I bristled again for abetting the liberal “education” received in college. Universities should also better regulate the expensive four-year party scam they are running. Like many others, our boy graduated from college somewhat indolent and disappointedly unprepared for work in business...sort of like a professor.
Fate was looking out for us though, as a stint in Vegas working unexpectedly in logistics, so as to stay independent, was far more of an education. It properly prepared him for the career and responsibilities that lay before him, of which he now is becoming exceptionally proficient.
I realized the best thing coming from that college experiment was by far and away now standing in front of him, freezing and equally trying her utmost to control her emotions. Welcome to our family, Aly.
“From my standpoint, my son and I aren’t as much alike as I thought we would be. He is an avid Packers and Cubs fan, knows his transportation business...but come on, man, rap music and dancing! It took me awhile to come to the realization I have a daughter much more like me than my son, and I’m okay with that, all these years too late.’’
I’m happy for our boy. In fact, I’m thrilled for all of our children. Our daughters have become solid, (Trump-voting?) citizens, and fantastic mothers themselves, although...they did have the perfect model to learn from. But now Zach and Aly have taken a momentous step in their lives, despite the incredible obstacles in the Year of the Pigeon. Like his sisters before him, they are now a team.
We done good, Dawn.