What were you doing 32 years ago? Think about it, 1978. I started working at the airport at my dream job. I had been married for 3 years. I weighted a lot less than I do now, and I thought I was Teflon. My Dad was still working at the airport, so I was working at the same place as him, I was the coolest guy. Disco was rolling, and dancing was the thing. I had some of those stacked shoes and some pants that John Daly would not wear today!! Live was good. Well on August 30th that year a marriage happened. It was not unlike any other at the time, but man was it a special thing. You see my claimed sister got married that day, and 32 years later she celebrated it with us all. I didn’t know her then and she didn’t know me. She has since met some of my friends from that era and says she would not have liked me to much back then. I guess we all change, at least I know I have. Her, I am not so sure. I have got to believe she is still exactly like she was even back then. A cheerleader, and of course the best looking girl in school, she is the one everyone could understand. She is the one that spoke to everyone and seemed to get along with everyone, what a talent. She married a guy who, like me, I think maybe had a little bit of wild in him. But she saw the diamond in the rough and married him anyway, and what a great choice on her part. He had been a magnificent father to her 4 kids, a tireless partner and supporter of her., a welcoming soul for her father and mother who have, and still live with them. What a guy. Let’s think about that last statement. He has lived with her parents their entire 32 years of marriage. Could you do that? Her Mother has passed but her dad “Tone the Bone” has lived with them for the entire 32 years.
As we sat down for dinner, on their special night, her dad “Tone the Bone”, got up to make the first toast. His voice always seems so strong until, he starts talking about her. He just can’t do it without getting all emotional about it and then we all get that way. He started out with he has lived with her for her entire life. What an accomplishment for a father to live with his daughter all of her life. He has seen it all the birth of the kids the death of his wife and the growth of us all while living with his heart and soul, his daughter, what a blessing for Tone. He spoke of how her husband has become a son to him, something the husband will tell you without a bit of prompting, he loves Tone like he was his dad. He spoke of the children and his wife and how they all just have grown together and how special the entire 32 years has been for him. As we all sat there I wondered what that must have been like for them to spend 32 years together and still be so in touch with each other and have each other’s best interest at heart. Seems like something in today’s world that is extremely rare. How blessed am I to even be at this table, much less, to consider these people my family.
As I look back over that same 32 years I can see things that were great, and things I would like to forget. However, I only have one regret; I wished I had been at that wedding! If I had been, think of the joy and the fun I would have had enjoying all of the things Tone spoke of during his toast. Were there bad times? I am sure. But as it always seems in life the good times seem to be ones we always talk about and remember. And trust me there have been a ton of good times in this family. I have seen the videos!! The boys when they were younger tag teaming the family dog, a boxer named Rolex, and the dog actually pinning one of them to the living room floor. The young daughter kissing the little boy next to her during a school program until he actually walked to the other side of the stage! The speech the son gave at his high school graduation, because he was the class president. The football games at UT where the two sons were cheerleaders and came running out on that field carrying the UT flag, the wedding in North Carolina, the announcement of the upcoming grandchild, the engagement of the oldest just a week ago, the pending engagement of the daughter. Seems this family is a joy attractor. What a 32 years! May we all have this kind of impact; not only on our own children, but those we call our friends as well. I think I am a better person for knowing these people. They have changed my life in ways they will never know. I love each and every one of them and truly think of them as my family.
Wow what a 32 years. Makes me want to go put on some KC and the Sunshine Band put on those Stacked Shoes and dance!!! Wait a minute, I would pull every muscle in my body and I have to work tomorrow!! So I guess I will just be thankful that I had shared the last, oh say 8 years, with this very special group. And it’s not every day you get a sister out of the deal either. Love you angel, thanks for the memories.
The Blessed Man