A Few Words about Weddings

You answer, “I do.” And you remember the words forever.

A few words really count at weddings. Not only for the newly-married, but also for the Father of the Bride. To answer “who gives this woman…” with only two words “I do” doesn’t begin to express a father’s emotion at that moment.

Many times we fathers answer “Her Mother and I.” That’s four words and I don’t remember any of those four words costing me under a hundred dollars a word.

One time I thought about answering, “Who gives away this bride?” with nine words: “Her mother and I–and the First State Bank.”

I’ve got practice. I’ve given away three daughters. While two daughters still wore diapers, I gave away a bride. That couple eloped and the father who forbid the marriage wasn’t there. After I gave away those two grown daughters, I served again as a stand-in Father of the Bride. Our Aunt Pearl was marrying another senior citizen and when she asked me to give her away I proudly accepted. Then I gave away my third daughter. That’s a total of five brides given.

Fifteen words at the wedding I’ll never forget, resounded from a cousin-of-the-bride who attended my first wedding 68 years ago. I was six foot three but only weighed 156 pounds. My best man was five foot ten and outweighed me. As we walked out to meet the preacher, her shrill five-year-old voice filled the church. “Mommy, is she going to marry the tall skinny one or the short fat one?”

Teach me to trade

I was working in the same office with my Dad as I listened to his half of a telephone call. A.R. (Red) Elam, Sr. was trading for some oilfield pipe.
If the trade occurred, he would dispatch an A.R. Elam Trucking Co. driver and a swamper to load the pipe.

I listened for several minutes. I couldn’t hear the other end of the conversation but I heard Dad’s quoted numbers rise and fall. Finally Dad said, “Okay. It’s a deal.” After Dad hung up, he turned to me, grinned and said “You know, I taught that young man how to trade.”

I brightened. “Dad, I’m a young man. I would like for you to teach me how to trade.”

“Son, I can’t teach you how to trade.”

“Dad, I know I’m hard-headed, but I really would like to learn. I’ll do whatever you say….”

Red Elam stopped me. “Son, I can’t teach you how to trade. We’re related.”