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Award Winning Book

Fun summer reading. “Monkeys In My Coconut Tree” by Ed Thompson, is a compilation of fun, easy-to-read stories of fun, family, and faith. It was a Reader’s Favorite 2016 Silver Medal Winner. So come on, check it out. Read some of the reviews and download your copy by clicking HERE. (Also available at Amazon.com, iTunes and others.)

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Father of the Bride

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Abby & Alex engagement

I am a father of the bride.

And, no, I have never been able to watch the “Father of the Bride” movie without tearing up. The scene that always gets to me is when Steve Martin (the dad) is playing basketball in the driveway with his daughter (played by Kimberly Williams-Paisley — now the wife of one my favorite country singers).

As they reminisce, the scene keeps flashing back to when the bride was a little girl playing with her daddy and all of a sudden I’m a slobbering basket case. When that movie came out in 1991, my little girl, Abby, was all of one year old and it all seemed so far away. But even then, I think she was secretly scheming to leave me one day.

So of course, I have no idea how I’m going to get through the wedding. It doesn’t help that they will be living in Australia, roughly three airplanes and some 24 hours worth of flight and airport terminal time away. In my mind, she was going to get married and they would live in the house next door — or even better, he could live next door and Abby could stay in her own room in my house.

The truth is, I really am very excited for her. I even like the creep she’s marrying. His name is Alex and I tried not to like him, but he won me over. His love and care for my daughter calms my heart and there is no question she is crazy in love with him. He is God’s ideal choice for my daughter and they compliment each other so well.

I wrote a song a few years ago envisioning the day some guy would ask me if he could marry my daughter. I knew the day was inevitable and I knew then, as I know now, I would be an emotional mess. It’s called, “What do I know?” Part of the lyrics go:

So now he asks me, “Will I give her away?”
My head is swimming, I stammer to say
“Will you love her forever?”
My world is spinning so
What do I know?

(NOTE: You can go to iTunes and download the song for $0.99 and help me pay for this wedding 🙂

It has now been over 30 years ago that I asked the extremely cute, sweet, and smart Vermont girl to marry me. How I pulled that one off remains a beautiful mystery. Of course, I was totally oblivious to any pain or struggle her father may have been going through giving his daughter away to some creep from Miami. But he did and I am forever grateful.

Now it’s my turn.

Abby’s big day is almost here and I can’t help but think of the very first wedding all the way back in the Garden of Eden. The passage in Genesis 2:23-24 explains that when God brought Eve to Adam like a typical man, he looked at her and after he picked his jaw up from the ground he mustered a profound, “At last!”

Adam then pulls himself together and goes on to say, “This is bone from my bone, and flesh from my flesh. She will be called ‘woman,’ because she was taken from ‘man.'” The passage concludes by saying, “This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife and the two are united into one.”

December 28th is almost here. I think I hear Alex saying, “At last!”

Elliptical Gym Confusion

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My daughter is getting married soon, so I thought it would be a good idea to get in better shape. After all, when the pastor asks, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man,” I don’t want to be doubled over trying to catch my breath after walking her down the aisle.

I joined a little neighborhood gym offering month-to-month memberships which seemed like a good idea. It had been a long time since I had been in a gym with the purpose of actually using it, so I had my doubts about lasting even the first month. The other good thing was that this gym is real close to a Cuban bakery so I would be able to reward myself with a guava pastry after my vigorous workouts.

Like most gyms, there is a row of treadmills the size of Mini Coopers perfectly positioned so if one person falls off to the side, he or she will knock everyone else in the row over like giant dominoes. I stepped up to the NASA built console and began pushing buttons waiting for something to happen. After 15 minutes, my treadmill was still motionless, but I had given my index finger a hearty workout. I wondered if that constituted a sufficient workout deserving of a pastry.

While I was mulling this over, I noticed a lonely elliptical machine which seemed to have a minimal array of buttons and blinking lights. I got off the treadmill, sucked in my belly as I walked past some nicely shaped leotards about half my age, and strolled over to the lonely machine.

I really had no idea what “elliptical” meant and made a mental note to look it up when I got home. Remembering I constantly misplace my mental notes, I used my cellphone and called myself and left a message. “Hello Ed, this is Ed. What’s up? Listen, I’m at the gym and was wondering if you could find out what “elliptical” means when you get home. Thanks. I hope you’re having a good day. Talk to you later.” I also left my cell number so I could call myself back.

I figured out the elliptical machine console and spent the next half hour or so working up a legitimate and healthy sweat. I was so pleased with my workout, in fact, I decided to bypass my well deserved Cuban pastry reward. I made a mental note to have an extra stack of pancakes for breakfast.

When I got home, I checked my messages and was surprised to see I had missed a call from myself. The message was to find out what “elliptical” meant so I could have a better understanding of what I was subjecting my body to during those long, rhythmic, circular, oval shaped motions on that machine.

Dictionary.com explained that elliptical means, “pertaining to or having the form of an ellipse,” which of course was no help at all. A secondary definition says it means, “tending to be ambiguous, cryptic, or obscure” of which I certainly agreed.

Obviously a look at the word, “ellipse” would clear up the matter. Here is the actual definition of “ellipse” from Dictionary.com: “a plane curve such that the sums of the distances of each point in its periphery from two fixed points, the foci, are equal. It is a conic section formed by the intersection of a right circular cone by a plane that cuts the axis and the surface of the cone. Typical equation: (x 2 / a 2 ) + (y 2 / b 2 ) = 1. If a = b the ellipse is a circle.”

After reading the definition, I had to take a nap.

The next day at the gym, I stopped at the front desk as I glanced at the elliptical machine with a wary eye. I was certain the nice young man could help so I asked him if he could verify that “a = b” on that machine or if, at least, the foci were equal.

He looked up at me with a blank stare and pleasant smile and after a long pause said, “Hola, puedo ayudarle?”

I called myself and left a message to learn Spanish.

Father of Girls

My Dad’s favorite singer was Perry Como or, as Bing Crosby referred to him, “the man who invented casual.” I can picture Dad sitting in the living room with his eyes closed and head tilted back soaking up Como’s every note. “Now he is a singer,” Dad would say, “every note is effortless.”

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“Mr. C,” as he was nicknamed, sold millions of records. He also pioneered the weekly musical variety television show. He was the 7th of 13 children and when his parents emigrated from Italy, he was the first to be born in the United States. Along with his smooth-as-silk voice, he was known for his high integrity and demand for decency. If he felt something in one of his TV shows crossed the line, he would publicly apologize for it in his next show. Imagine…

One Christmas back in 2003 while visiting my parents’ home, we were listening to Perry softly crooning many of our favorite Christmas songs. Then came The Father of Girls. I had not heard the song before and was captivated by the lyrics and melody. You see, I was the father of a girl and every note he sang made me think of my daughter. Abby was then 13 years old, beautiful, full of personality and adventure. I was a nervous wreck.

We somehow survived Abby’s teenage years and I certainly took to heart the message from the song, When you’re the father of boys you worry. But when you’re the father of girls, you do more than that…you pray.

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And now I have had that experience that simultaneously fills a Dad’s heart with joy and dread: a young man asked if I would give my blessing and permission for him to ask my little girl to marry him. I knew it was coming, but was woefully unprepared. I did my best to not appear a blubbering idiot, but failed miserably. He was asking for my treasure.

So it was soon thereafter, a young man named Alex got down on a knee and with my blessing, asked my beautiful daughter, Abby, to marry him. She said, “Yes!” of course. I had no doubt she would. (You can see their engagement video here.)

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I had the opportunity to record my own rendition of Father of Girls which you can see the music video HERE. The song lyrics rapidly move through time saying, “From the time of diaper and pin, till the time she cries ‘don’t come in,’ till the time you gown her in white and give her away…” Now these lyrics are coming true and the emotions running through my head and heart are difficult to describe.  Can I ever really “give her away?”

It’s Father’s Day weekend and Abby will be out of town. She’ll call of course; probably FaceTime. We’ll talk about all the wedding plans underway and she’ll beam with excitement. She’ll ask how I’m doing with all the wedding thoughts and plans and my eyes will fill with tears as a thousand memories flood through my heart and brain. After all, it really was just yesterday I was trying to figure out those diaper and pin things.

Oh, did I mention they will be living in Australia?

Time to listen to Father of Girls again.

 

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