"From this hour I ordain myself loos'd of limits and imaginary lines, going where I list, my own master total and absolute, Listening to others, considering well what they say, Pausing, searching, receiving, contemplating, Gently, but with undeniable will, divesting myself of the holds that would hold me."
Walt Whitman (1819-92)
"When I look back now over my life and call to mind what I might have had simply for taking and did not take, my heart is like to break."
Akhenaton (d. c.1354 BC)
And now, the current weather, from some random person we pulled off the street:
Thursday, July 01, 2004
Mrs. Weaver's Hurricane
tra-di-tion Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English tradicioun, from Middle French & Latin; Middle French tradition, from Latin tradition-, traditio action of handing over, tradition -- more at TREASON
1 : an inherited, established, or customary pattern of thought, action, or behavior (as a religious practice or a social custom)
2 : the handing down of information, beliefs, and customs by word of mouth or by example from one generation to another without written instruction
3 : cultural continuity in social attitudes, customs, and institutions
4 : When blazing your own trail, cast to the wind.
There I stood, in the cemetary, looking at a preacher in a sport shirt talking to a man in a black suit. The man in the suit had tattoos peeking out over the neck of his immaculate shirt. Meanwhile, a girl with yet more tattoos took their picture.
This scene was not out of place.
Everyone was, of course, quite happy.
Perhaps I should back up a bit.
We'll go all the way back to Father's day. I haven't been able to talk about this on line, so its nice now to be able to.
Those of you who have read my blog for some time will know that my son and daughter are actually my stepson and stepdaughter. At least as far as genetics go. Both, however, I have raised as my own, and love as my own. Other than the sentance above and perhaps the occasional medical form, I'll never describe either of them as "step" anything.
So, on Father's Day, I was waiting here at home for my daughter to bring a Father's Day card to me. She has bought me a card for many years now, and I always think they are very special.
I think maybe I should let you in on something here, because it's going to be a big part of this story. My daughter's name is Jessica, and under her professional name of "Jessika" is the owner of the largest tattoo and piercing company in the state of Virginia, River City Tattoo Company (Note: link can lead to some R rated material a couple of levels deep.) She is also a nationally reknowned body piercer.
Yeah, I know, it took me a while to get used to it. But, largely because I trust her and know her character, I was willing to let her grow as she wanted to. The net result? I'm extremely proud of her, she has kept her moral and Christian anchor in the midst of an industry that is rife with the worst that humankind can supply.
In the dark, she is a light. A bright one.
So here I was, Father's Day, waiting on her to get off work and drop by. About 10ish, there was a knock at the door and it was her. We sat on the couch, and she handed me my card straight away.
I opened it, and read it out loud, like I usually do.
"Because You Mean So Much," it began.
"A Dad, someone you respect, appreciate, and love." I opened the card.
"Just by being the wonderful person you are, you make such a difference in the lives you touch. No wonder you're loved so much, and wished life's very best -- on Father's Day, and always."
I looked up. "That's nice, thank you." I read the signature.
"You're the best. I love you very much. Happy Grandfather's Day! Love, Jessica"
Grandfather's day? Grandfather's day?
I looked at her wide eyed. "Does this mean what I think it means?" I wasn't really sure how to react.
"Yes," she beamed.
"Yes." She smiled even bigger.
"I mean, like you've tested...?"
"Seven of them. All positive."
I think I must have just looked at her stunned for, well, longer than I ever have before.
I was overjoyed for her, and she was overjoyed because it was the very first time she had ever struck me speechless.
So that was June 20th.
Jessica and her boyfriend Rob had been talking marriage for some time, and she told me that they would probably be speeding the plans up.
Wednesday night, that would have been the 23rd, Jessica kept asking me if Rob had talked to me about anything. He hadn't. I don't think she believed me.
Sunday, which would be the 27th, Rob popped the question, and of course Jessica accepted. She was immediately the proud owner of a mind bogglingly big engagement ring.
She called and told us, and let us know that she would be getting married soon.
Tuesday the 29th she called. She was getting married on Wednesday the 30th, at one in the afternoon.
When my daughter wants quick, she gets quick.
It was going to be a very small outdoor wedding. I dug through my closet looking for something nice to wear and finally came across something. Kay had to go out and buy a dress, of course.
You know, maybe you women out there can help me with this. Every single time we do anything, she has to go out and buy a new dress or a new outfit. Sometimes she will come home with five or six. The next time we do anything, be it a week or a month or a year, she has to go out again and get another new outfit.
Perhaps it's just me, but it seems like there is something I'm missing here. Oh well, figure that one out later.
Suffice it to say that she got a nice new dress that looked good on her.
I ran all over town and put together a goodie box for Jessica and Rob with all kinds of fancy snacks and some good Champaigne.
Wednesday the 30th. We all gathered for the wedding at the place where Rob had proposed to her three days earlier, a cemetary. I sat in my car at the entrance thinking that this was very odd. The group was real small, just a few people.
I was one of the few present that was undecorated with something or other involving needles stuck in skin.
The color du jour seemed to be black. There were several of Jessica's employees there, and each one of them was a fashion statement.
With an exclamation point.
I have noticed that almost everyone she works with is incredibly nice to be around. There's not a lot of profanity, if any, and they are pretty smart people who care about how they look, and it was obvious that each one of them had decked out for the occasion. (I'll see if I can get a picture up, all mine turned out badly.)
We got in the cars and drove through the cemetary to a little place overlooking the James River. It was beautiful.
Now, I understood. This place was indeed special, exceptional, beautiful.
So there, in a cemetary, with the backdrop of the rapids on the James River in the background, my daughter stood, radiant as sunlight in her wedding dress. Rob was dressed in his police dress uniform (he's a policeman, by the way) and spent the entire ceremony gazing deeply into her eyes.
That look, that was a look of deepest adoration. That look is one you want to see in your son in law, believe me.
Calmly, we stood among the gravestones and watched my daughter become Mrs. Jessica Weaver.
Then there was the inevitable round of photographs, with first this group then that group then every combination of the two, then somebody figured out that another spot was better so we went and did some more over there.
The grooms family took us to an after wedding dinner at a wonderful restaurant in downtown Richmond called the Tobacco Company, which was built in an old tobacco warehouse from the 1800's. Jessica had bought cigars for everyone, including the girls, and had supplied the table with lighters shaped like guns.
It was, after all, a shotgun wedding.
They are embarking on a very special adventure, one that will last the rest of their lives. They are bound not only by love, but now by marriage and then by blood. The two of them will grow together as one, and the two together will be more than the two apart could ever have been.
Wow, had a little poetic shiver there. Better call the greeting card company. You never know what those things might lead to.
Nothing in life is as good as the marriage of true minds between man and woman. As good? It is life itself.
Pearl S. Buck