Many Long Islanders have returned to celebrating weddings at catering halls with large crowds. We’ll soon celebrate our son Kevin and his fiancé Arielle’s nuptials on the water at the Piermont in Babylon.
As the Father of the Groom, I don’t have a lot of official responsibilities. Other than hosting the rehearsal dinner and possibly making a toast, my primary responsibility to date seems to have been writing a few checks.
There is a clearly defined role for the Mother of the Groom, who gets to dance with her son to some sappy song that might make people weep. Of course, the Father of the Bride has even more responsibilities. He walks his daughter down the aisle and hands her to his soon-to-be Son-in-Law. Then he dances with his daughter to an even sappier song, and there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
But what do I do about this toast thing?
You would think as a published author and weekly columnist, writing a simple toast to congratulate the newlyweds would be a piece of cake. But it’s not.
How do you encapsulate 30 years into just a few minutes?
As we approached the reception, I couldn’t help but think of how Kevin had grown over the years. My thoughts drifted to all the good times we had as he grew into the man he is today. We’ve spent many days together on various adventures. Some involved the whole family, others with his brother. But sometimes, it was just the two of us.
You can try and plan to have a great day, but they don’t always turn out that way.
We’ve had some really good days. When he was a kid, the two of us would head to Adventureland in Farmingdale and spend a few hours (and a lot of quarters) in the video arcade playing games all afternoon in the winter. The 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field and the Home run Derby was a good day. We saw the Mets win a playoff game against the Dodgers in 2006 and a bunch of playoff and World Series games in 2015.
There was the first time we saw The Who at Jones Beach. It was just the two of us. We watched the show from our nosebleed seats, but it wasn’t until we snuck down to the floor-level seats for the encores that it turned into a great show. Kevin was nervous that we would get kicked out, but I’ve done it a hundred times and was pretty confident no one would care.
Then there was the time we went on vacation at Universal Studios in Florida. Kevin was maybe 9 or 10 years old. His brother James had gotten sick with a temperature, so my wife stayed inside the hotel room with him in the morning. We weren’t sure what to do and were considering if we should just cut our losses and head home. We had driven down in our Astro Van, so we didn’t have to worry about plane tickets.
I decided to take Kevin and we spent the day in the parks together. We had VIP passes thanks to the aunt of one of Kevin’s friends. She was the executive secretary at Universal Studios. But this wasn’t just any pass. At every attraction, we presented the pass to a team member, and they ushered us through the back doors and passed all the people in line right to the front. We never waited for anything.
We must have gone on the Spiderman ride 10 times. Same thing with the Men in Black attraction. We kept passing the same people in the line and waving to them. We ate hamburgers and fries at the Monster Café. There was the “Twister” attraction and the “Muppets” show. We did the “Terminator” and the “Fear Factor” shows.
It turned out to be a great day.
So raise a glass for Kevin and Arielle, wishing them a lifetime of great days.
Paul DiSclafani’s new book, A View From The Bench, is a collection of his favorite Long Island Living columns. It’s available wherever books are sold.