Friday, June 3, 2011

Father of the Bride

The house is starting to settle back into its normal state. I have reclaimed my writing desk from the manicurists but I fear it will never be the same. Saturday, through the rain, hail and a threat of tornados, friends, relatives (and some people I didn’t know), slogged tough the mud and ascended the ramp to the barn loft to wish my daughter, Jennifer, and her new husband, Adam well.

As father of the bride, owner of the barn and a guy who likes to embarrass himself in front of others I gave a little talk to the invited. I am sorry that not all 29 of you faithful readers (I am keeping count) were invited to the reception so I am including most of what I said, and some of what I didn’t (but I imagine that I did).
“Rhonda and I want you to know how wonderful it is to have you here with us to celebrate the marriage of our daughter, Jennifer, to Adam, our new son-in-law.
The barn didn’t always look like this. It was Rhonda and Jennifer who had the vision for this day, and it was through Rhonda’s direction that the barn was transformed. For six months she was in charge, but as I reminded her just yesterday, that’s going to change tomorrow.

It’s a good thing Jennifer married a guy with the skills to build this floor, because without Adam, this would not have happened. He is very talented and I was amazed with his skills. I saw him work magic with wood; I tried to help but I was often in the way. I would help him carry stuff but I always seemed to have the heavy end.

Adam and I started to work on this barn in November. Some nights we would set our water bottles next to the heater only to have them freeze solid in a few unattended minutes.

But we had fun. We listened to music, laughed and danced up here together as we fixed the floor. We had a wonderful time getting to know each other. For any of you guys in similar situations I would recommend doing projects with your future son-in-law.

Sometimes Jennifer would say “Oh no,” when she saw that Adam is a lot more like her father and brother than she wanted. Sorry about that Jenn.

Adam, I cannot replace your own father (motion to his father, Steve), or your heavenly father, but I am happy to be your father-in-law. So if you ever find that a burden becomes too much for you to carry, I will be there to help and I’ll take the heavy end.

Jennifer, the easiest thing I ever did was being your dad. I just had to show up. You never gave us any trouble; you have been such a wonderful daughter. But, tonight this may be the hardest thing I have done.

When Jennifer was little, and I mean very little, you could ask her name and she would say “Jenner,” and if you then asked, “But what do they call you,” she would say “Special.” And Jennifer, you are still special. Getting this place ready was a lot of work, but it was worth it and I would do it again 1,000 times over.

Because there is space, we have saved scraps of lumber “just in case.” When Adam needed a board of a certain length to repair the subfloor I would go downstairs and find it.

Underneath this floor is wood that came from the walls of a cabin built by Rhonda’s grandparents in the ‘40’s; that cabin was then passed down to her father, and now her brother Rick, his wife Melissa and their son Preston make their home there. There is also part of the dock from my parent’s cabin. There is wood from decks from this house as well as Rhonda’s mother’s home.

So Jennifer, it is fitting that we celebrate this day by having a party on the floor built by your new husband using materials provided by your parents, grandparents and great grandparents.

May all that this floor represents give you a good foundation to begin your life together.

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