The Big Moments
As some subscribers will note, it has been a while. There has been a lot of stuff going on in the Morin family lately, most spectacularly, the marriage on my darling daughter, Kate, to Jonah Brotman, in Kansas City on Saturday, October 10th at 4:00 pm.
So let’s talk about that a little.
Kate is an amazingly self-sufficient lady who has been “away” from home since she was 13 (freshman in boarding school). She graduated from Syracuse (MCL from Newhouse!), moved to Manhattan to work for a start-up, met a man, decided to follow him to Kansas City (I drove, remember?), and there you have it. She and her mother meticulously planned every detail (did I tell you another of my daughter’s admirable qualities is frugality?).
For instance, where would mom and dad stay?
Why, no ordinary hotel would produce the sort of at-home-with-our-friends quality that makes a wedding glisten. So Kate jumped on VRBO and lo, here we were at the 3-story penthouse condominium at the Rieger Hotel building. Way to go, baby!
Among all of its sterling qualities, my favorite is that it is where Al Capone stayed when he was in town to visit with his “associates.” Allegedly. Sure looked like a place he’d pick: only one way in, one way out. So that is where eight of us called home – the eight including my brood and two best friends whom I first met in 1970 and 1971.
Kansas City is a very cool town. Everything just has a throw-back quality to it. So where better to throw a wedding reception than a repurposed manufacturing building in the middle of the city? (It’s prior use was a taxi cab repair facility.)
And what better to do than hire the best blues band in Kansas City? (Mind you, this was KATE’s idea.)
Now this sort of planning puts a lot of pressure on an old man. As the summer arrived, the phone calls between Kate and mom grew in frequency and urgency even as the list of “issues” shrank in number and importance. I was, mercifully, kept at a distance.
But I was not far away in my mind. I knew I would want to give a toast of some sort. But could I even hope to hold it together? Could I really say anything at all in praise of my daughter in front of 75 people and remain coherent? I had serious doubts. And her? Heck, she’s worse than me. I didn’t want a lot of wedding pictures with smeared make-up, right?
So I did something funny, and I wrote a song around the theme that children never really leave you. I sent the band the music in July and fretted daily about remembering the words (something I am not good at) for the next three months.
Those days crawled by, it seemed, but one morning, we were up at 5:00 in Scituate and seemingly moments later (which was in fact 3 days) back at home, and life had changed in a profound way I still can’t describe.
In between, we ate, drank and laughed together, met new friends and family, saw new places (check out the Nelson Atkins Museum!), and soon I found myself standing with my daughter, waiting for the music to cue for our walk down the aisle. For both of us, all of the calmness and control of the past months spun at the end of a gossamer thread.
What followed was all a blur, but included a beautiful 4 minute ceremony, a mercifully brief receiving line, and a party that both the bartenders and the band said was their favorite wedding ever. You can see how Kate and her mom kicked off the dancing portion of the festivities!
My purpose in telling this story is to reflect on the fact that, in the Big Moments in life, you are rarely ever prepared. You might prepare, you might think you’re ready for what comes, but when it plows over you like an avalanche, you’re best to just hold on and go for the ride.
So here I am, three weeks after that whirlwind stretch from early afternoon to late evening of Saturday, October 10th, every day remembering that Walk, that song running on a loop in my brain, the handkerchief in the pocket of my suit that says,
and I know that I don’t want to be prepared for those moments, because being overwhelmed by them is pretty fine indeed.
p.s. (We rolled that song out at the end of all the speechifying, and it was pretty well received.)
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Tags: guild, jonah brotman, kansas city, kate morin, pete morin, rieger hotel, wedding