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I’ll Walk You Down The Aisle On A Sunny Hawaiian Isle

I’ll Walk You Down The Aisle On A Sunny Hawaiian Isle

The beauty of being a commission salesman is no one tells you how or when to do your job as long as you’re hitting your numbers.

It also means you’re always available for those memorable events in your children’s lives while they are growing up. So I never missed a ball game, recital, birthday party, doctor or dental appointment, first haircut, first prom gown, or graduations. I could always maneuver my schedule to accommodate the time of the event even if it was on a weekday during the school year – when a lot of those events took place. I would have hated to miss anything, especially something as important as a wedding.

That’s how Montana Senator Steve Daines felt when faced with walking his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day or casting an important vote to confirm Judge Kavanaugh. There were several heroes and villains throughout the contentious hearings. Your choice of hero or villain depends on whether you tick or tock on the political pendulum. Senator Daines is my choice for hero.

I understand that there were all kinds of contingency plans in place in case his vote was really needed, including flying to D.C. on Sunday to cast his vote – a dangerous flight because Diane Feinstein might have had a SAM missile in place to shoot down his plane.

What Senator Daines did was participate in one of the most pleasurable events that are still designated to fathers – walking a daughter down the aisle – that is, until #MeToo declares it a sexist privilege of elite old white men. It was my great fortune to stroll down the aisle with a daughter on my arm two times, though under incredibly different circumstances.

My first daughter’s wedding was right out of “Brides” magazine. Everything fell into place like we had the best wedding planner in the world, except for the fact we didn’t even know wedding planners existed.

The ceremony took place in a majestic church. The minister was the brother of the Maid of Honor; younger daughter was a cute flower girl; younger brother was an usher; the mother of the bride was dressed elegantly but not so stylishly as to detract from the bride; the father of the bride was tuxedoed like an Emperor penguin; and the reception was held at an elite old white men’s club where the father of the bride was a member.

Fast-forward several years to younger daughter’s wedding. Her dream is to be married in Hawaii. She and her fiancé are trying to get everything together so her terminally ill mother can be there. It’s all set up but fate steps in and mom dies. Wedding cancelled. But wait! Wouldn’t mom want her to go through with it? Powwow between two families. Decision made to go ahead with the wedding. Phone calls back and forth between mainland and Kauai. Yes, we can still get hotel reservations. The minister might not be available but we can get the site, which is on the hotel’s property. Airline reservations are re-made. What will we wear? We’ll worry about that when we get there.

We arrive in Kauai the day before Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey dinner, the groom’s family throws an impromptu cookout on the beach – hot dogs, burgers, potato salad, chips, pretzels, and cold cans of Big Swell IPA.

The next day a marriage license is purchased at a bait shop in Lihue. The wedding party goes off to Hilo Hattie’s to be bedecked in Hawaiian shirts for the men and flowery dresses for the women. The hotel concierge finds us a Buddhist monk to perform the ceremony on what turns out to be the ruins of a Polynesian temple, a 9-iron away from the ocean.

The aisle we navigate is a sandy patch of ground within the craggy remains of the temple. Daughter takes my arm and, shod in flip-flops, we advance to meet the minister and groom. Sky and ocean are bluer than blue can be. Vows are exchanged. Joyful tears shed, God’s in his heaven (along with mom) and all’s right with the world. The reception is a luau complete with poi, pig, and toasts to the bridal couple with a very potent Hawaiian drink called Okolehao.

I cannot vote in Montana. If I could I would cast my ballot, Chicago style, over and over for Senator Steve Daines, who while most of the country was embroiled in a political battle, escorted his daughter down the aisle on her wedding day and captured a memory that even opposing political parties can agree is worth savoring.

Contact Jerry at jerry@jerrygervase.com

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