Here’s to Roy

by Steve on March 4, 2007

We attended a very special wedding last night. All weddings are special but even more so in this case – the bride lost her father to an inoperable brain tumor just a few weeks ago. When he was diagnosed and the finality hit him, he didn’t stop for a minute. True to his character throughout his life, he loved and lived every minute that he had remaining. His primary goal that kept him fighting was to walk his oldest daughter down the aisle.

The ceremony was short with all unnecessary components deleted so that his wife and daughters might make it through the event without breaking down. The bride, who had hoped and prayed that her father would be there, couldn’t bear to replace him and walked the aisle without an escort. My wife, upon seeing the bride walking alone, commented that it was so sad to see her without her father. I looked at the smile on the young woman’s face and whispered, “She’s not alone.”

It was graceful, cheerful, and yes there were some tears but they were tears of joy. It was the celebration that it should have been. When we arrived at the reception all the tables were set in traditional fashion but something unusual caught my eye. At each place setting there was a shot glass of Jack Daniels imprinted with the words, “Here’s to Roy.” The father of the bride had few vices but did on occasion enjoy Gentleman Jack along with a cigar and he always enjoyed a good party. Nobody touched the glasses knowing they had to be there for a special reason. All the traditional elements of a reception took place in orderly fashion while the guests mingled and rotated by the bar. With all the photographed events out of the way, the groom took the microphone, thanked everyone for coming, and handed it over to his new wife. She proceeded to tell the tale of a trip that she and her dad had taken to the Philippines. It was classic Roy all the way and she laughed as she recalled the memories. She had the room rolling because we all recognized and loved the man she was describing. At the end we all raised our glasses in his honor. There was apple juice available as a substitute for those too young, too old, or just not inclined so that nobody would be left out. It was a grand occasion, a celebration of life, both new and old.

Over in a corner of the room proudly displayed on a decorated table was a framed sketch, a portrait of Roy. In the frame along side his portrait was a poem that he had written to his daughter when he realized that he might not make it to witness this special day. In it he described a father’s love and reassured her that she would carry it with her always. Also on the table were a bottle of Gentleman Jack and a cigar, the seals unbroken. Roy may not have been there in body but his spirit filled the room.

Here’s to you, my friend. We all miss you terribly. Your girls did great, but then again I’m sure you already knew that.

{ 1 comment }

Pinch March 4, 2007 at 18:25


That was great. Had even ME, this hard-bitten Tomcat RIO starting to tear up, what with my recent marriage and all.

Thanks and pass our best to the family, if you can.


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