A Wedding I’ll Never Forget

It’s in the eyes of others, we see who we are,

By staring in her shining eyes, he saw he was a star.

She saw something precious, she saw something right,

That gave her heart a’ flutter, and made her head a little light.

Happiness is a hard place to write from, or at least it always has been for me.

When I’m happy, I’m usually too busy enjoying the sensation to take the time to settle in and commit to the kind of work required to chronicle the moment. And writing, while fun, can be work.

All of which is a long-winded explanation of why you haven’t seen any posts from me in a while. For over the past week, this old boy has been as happy as I’ve ever been.

It’s the Glory of Love,

Sweet Love,

The one thing you never get too much of,

Is Love,

And that’s the Glory of Love.

Our daughter, Rebecca, married her beau Steve Kinsella on Saturday at the Arts Council in Durham. A grand and glorious and unforgettable time was had by all. Rebecca did pretty much all the planning for the occasion, and anyone lucky enough to be in attendance will attest that Rebecca out-did herself.

Which, for Rebecca, is harder to do than it is for most of us. I’m bad about bragging on my kids, but I’m confident in saying there are few people on this planet more together, more grounded, more competent, more organized, more understanding of what really means something in life – and what doesn’t – than one Rebecca Cooper Collins, 28, presently of Boston, Mass.

Like most folks they’d found heartache, like most folks they’d felt pain

Like most folks they were ever braced to have it all come around again,

But they saw in each other’s eyes, a light to shine when life gets rough,

And to tell them they would never have to live in a world without love.

The magical week began on Saturday, Dec. 22, when Rebecca and Steve rolled in from Boston, where Rebecca specializes in alternative energy ideas and applications for Eversource Energy (she’s out to save the planet – someone has to) and Steve is gearing up for the final semester of a two-year MBA program from Boston U.

They remained with us through Christmas, by which time we were joined by Tybee’s sister Kim from Chapel Hill. We know how to have a good time in our home, and, as always, we managed to hurt ourselves in the most rollicking and silly and good-time ways.

The love birds flew the coop for Fuqua Varina, where Steve’s parents John and Beth live, and we braced for the arrival of our son, Nate, and his family on their way east from Dallas. Sadly, it had been way too long since we had seen Nate and his bride Laura, but the visit was made all the more special by knowing it would be our grand daughter Isla’s first time ever in our home.

Isla is three, and turned out to be the fireball of light and joy and love we just knew she would be.

I had already resolved to not follow my usual instincts and put my old bearded face right in hers’ when she walked in the door. Tybee was only one of many to warn me not to scare the poor girl out of her wits before she even knew who we were.

But as it turned out, Isla stormed into our house like she owned the place – which of course she did. Nate and Laura had to drop off the rental car, and the whole time Isla was alone with Tybee and me, she just flitted around the house chattering, and singing and getting into everything a 3-year-old will get into.

She sings songs that she makes up, which tickles me in so many ways. Laura, by the way, is a songbird who performs regularly in musicals in and around the Dallas area. Nate is a percussionist with degrees from Eastman and a masters from SMU who at times is in the pit for Laura’s musicals, when he’s not teaching high school music or marching band (big in Texas) or playing with any number of orchestras or ensembles.

He sat in with the Dallas Wind Symphony for a recording that was nominated for a Grammy in 2018, so we kidded how he needed a business card reading Nate Collins, Grammy-nominated artist.

If there’s one thing I know, love’s the window to our soul,

It’s by looking deep inside our hearts, we find our heaven above.

And if you’re wondering about the meaning of anything,

Just remember the Glory of Love.

The wedding was an exceedingly tasteful, relatively contained affair involving somewhere around 80 of the dearest, most loving and beautiful people we’ve ever known. No one has a better family, and all of us from both sides, the Collins’ and the Kinsella’s rallied around the love birds to make it an occasion that could not have been more glorious and unforgettable.

There was, of course, an open bar and all kinds of dancing to the set list that Rebecca put together as only she could. Every song that came on I just shook my head and repeated “Oh, I love that song.’’

I had a couple of rough moments containing my pure joy, like when I escorted Rebecca to the altar, gave her and Steve big hugs and took my seat next to Tybee. And for the father-daughter dance, I had pretty much decided on Joe Cocker’s version of You Are So Beautiful, but as usual Rebecca was a step or two ahead of her old man.

“What about Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?, by Hank Williams,’’ Rebecca suggested. To know what that meant to me one has to know the special place Hank Williams has always had in our family – dating to his biggest fan ever, my mother Frances Cooper Collins. That’s why there was such loud oohing and aahing from my brothers Tom and Joe and their families when Hank’s whiskey-cured voice came over the speakers.

And not once did I step on Rebecca’s toes – at least not literally.

We gather together, to celebrate,

The love of Steve and Rebecca, and hear the sweet vows that they make,

Always look out for each other, always be the best of friends,

That’s the special kind of love, the kind that never ends.

The other rough moment came during my toast to the newly weds. Oh I didn’t have any trouble giving it. I was born for such occasions. But like I’ve said, I’m bad about bragging over my family and my difficulty was in containing all the reasons and explanations and stories of why Rebecca Cooper Collins is such a special person to a toast that would end sometime before the New Year began.

It was difficult, but somehow I managed. I almost began with “Today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth,’’ but I didn’t think most of the guests would get the Lou Gehrig reference. And besides, that speech was about death. This occasion celebrated life.

So I just told the room what I felt, that my heart was busting with love and joy and happiness.

Happiness is a hard place to write from.

But it’s a joyful place in which to reside.

It’s the Glory of Love,

Sweet Love,

The one thing you never get to much of,

Is Love,

And that’s the Glory of Love.

9 thoughts on “A Wedding I’ll Never Forget

  1. I am very happy for your entire family. It’s difficult for me to believe I remember both your wonderful children from their (and my) days at Old Town Elementary. Of one thing I am certain. The day from start to finish was classy and had those special Collins touches that can’t be duplicated. Wishing the newlyweds all the best life has to offer.

    Like

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