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A Wedding Toast

Life is a tapestry of memories we

weave into place with each breath.

No one can be hired to weave it

for they wouldn’t know how

to render the scenes 

unless we tell them, and

words don’t come equipped to

reach all the places mem’ries can hide.

But, here are some favorites of mine.


In Stockton, Wendy, you were tiny and pink. 

You laughed and squealed when I

gave you a bath and wrapped you

in a towel and held you close

and felt your heartbeat as you slept.

It was a peaceful Sunday afternoon,

and a thoughtless neighbor kept

firing up his unmufflered boat engine

waking you. After the third time

I went out and yelled with a rage

I’d never known was in me.

(I apologized, of course.)


In Sacramento you would

scamper across the river stones

I laid to protect the trees.

You kept me company while I

worked in the yard, and afterward

dangled your feet in the hot tub

where I soaked my aching bones

and we’d go over your a-b-c’s or

do the “Bicky-bye” song as good smells

drifted out from Mom’s kitchen.

I’d come home from work and you’d

tackle me for a hug. You squealed

with delight when I tossed you

toward the ceiling.


You helped me plant a vegetable garden.

You liked harvesting strawberries.

You got a basket for the vole I caught, and

we launched him across the creek,

so he could be free but not eat our carrots.

I showed you how to bait a hook and

even when I was not around you’d

hunt for worms and catch little fish

from the creek behind our house.

I taught you how to ride a bike; a few

pushes and off you went on your own.

We flew to Texas on vacation one Christmas, with

young Sally wailing away, until I rubbed

her gums--shame on me--with brandy. 

At Uncle Dave and Aunty Anne’s you posed in

cowboy boots longer than your legs.


Trips to the Sacramento fish hatchery

were always fun; you’d put a nickel

in the machine and throw granulated fishmeal

to the churning baby salmon. We would

laugh and laugh and do it again and again.

When Sally grew bigger we’d drive in

the fall to the orchards and 

come home and make apple pies.


At night you liked to sit in my lap in my office

and have me read GOOD NIGHT MOON,

on and on until we’d said good night to

crickets, frogs, raccoons and everything

that moved—even the wind.


In Modeto on Days Alone With Dad, we'd

park the car and run halfway up a mountain

just to see the sun come up. We went fishing

from a motorboat and had breakfast in Strawberry

surrounded by hummingbirds at Daphne’s Kitchen.

We backpacked to Gianelli’s Cabin and

swam in an ice cold mountain lake.


We camped as a family among the Big Trees and

slept listening to the patter of rain against the tent.

I caught some trout ; we invited them to dinner.

We vacationed in Disneyland and went to Great America,

and you insisted on riding eve-ry-thing scary!

What was it, Top Gun, you made me climb aboard?

You didn't know I closed my eyes, did you?

We did Math Blast for Mrs. Gurnee, and

for Mrs. Collie I was your typist for the Ancient China report—

thirty pages. You wouldn’t quit!


Remember the California mission? We had

to bake the walls in Mom’s oven? And

here was that long ride to Santa Maria with

Nanny and Grampa, and I said something—

I forget now what it was—but you and Sally

stunned me with an echo from one of my

hot tub sermons. In unison, you  said,

“Because, Dad, you do what’s right because

it’s right, not because it gets you something!”


I remember the ice cactus in Tuscon on

that long stormy drive to Texas in ‘86?

It was the year I introduced you to Mrs. Crow,

the woman who raised me at the children’s home.

And on the return we drilled you and

Sally on multiplication tables. You were

memorizing Carl Sandburg’s poem, "Phyzog."

This face you got, this here phizog you carry around,

you never picked it out for yourself, at all, at all, did you?


I could ramble on about the golden scenes

in my tapestry, but I’ll save some for another time.

Besides, the weaving’s not yet through. Tonight

will occupy a prominent place near center and

contain my wish for you and Barry of

happiness in a union founded on love and respect.

May the tapestry you weave together be

strong and everlastingly filled

with unbounded



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And even though I have a son and he's not married yet....I so relate to it.


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Yes, Lovely!

What a wonderful present you gave your daughter with this poem.