Bob wiped away a tear with a blue paisley handkerchief as he returned to his seat. He had just finished dancing with his granddaughter, Reba. He had given her away earlier in the evening, but before he did, he ensured that the groom promised to love and care for her before he relinquished his girl into someone else’s care.
You see, he knows the importance of love, care and respect, and how that affects someone’s entire life. And he wanted to ensure the same love for his granddaughter that he had experienced in his own life.
Bob and his wife Peggy had a special dance that evening. Before they started dancing, Bob told a story. He told of how their song was Unchained Melody by The Righteous Brothers. If it was sung by anyone else, it was just a pretty song, but when it was by The Righteous Brothers, it was THEIR song. This took on special meaning for them when he found out that he was going to Vietnam. That was a turbulent time for many people, and so many families were separated. Sometimes war is romanticized, but in reality, there is nothing romantic about seeing your beloved leaving, feeling like your heart is being ripped out of you, and there is nothing you can do to stop it.
You see, they didn’t know if he would be coming back or not- they had no promise of anything other than the time that they had at that moment. So, in the drive for him to be deployed, they would pull over Every. Single. Time. that song came on. They would stop, get out of the car and dance. No matter if they were on the side of a road or in the middle of nowhere. Sure, it made their drive longer. It delayed him going away. It delayed the pain of parting, and it made the gnawing anxiety that was going to be their ever-present companion for the foreseeable future, draw on even longer. But it gave them that precious, precious time together, and it created treasured memories that they still cherish over 50 years later. While they danced to that song on this night, there was hardly a dry eye in the crowd at seeing the genuine love those two still so obviously share.
This is the family and the example that Reba and Kaoki have to admire and emulate as they start their own beginning and their own beautiful family. Their girls, Zoey and April are absolute dolls, and were so excited for this day to come and to be a part of it, as the next block was added to the foundation of their family.
Reba and Kaoki, we are so genuinely grateful to get to be invited into your life and getting to experience one of the most important days of your life right there beside you. You both are such beautiful and amazing people, we are so happy for you to be starting your life together!
You will have challenges, you will have disagreements, but you will have the best days of your life together, and you will be able to create a love that your girls- and their children- can look back on and say: that’s my story. That’s the love that my family had, and that’s what I want. What a special privilege that is to create your own love story!
There are so many beautiful parts of life that sometimes get snatched away, or just covered over when we get caught up in the more mundane parts of life, but, on this day, everybody present got to see a little bit of beauty in the world. There was beauty in the surroundings. There was beauty in the love and preparation of the ceremony and reception. There was beauty in the friendships and connections between the bridal party and guests, and there was certainly beauty in the founding of a new family. However, we also got a glimpse into the beauty of history, and the legacy that a lasting love can leave.