From a son to his father

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist

In about one month I will experience something I’ve never experienced before. Lord willing, I will see my oldest son be married to his high school sweetheart.

I’m not sure what it is about weddings lately. My wife and I must have attended 10 weddings and/or receptions last spring and summer, we’ve already been to one this spring, and of course there’s the big one coming up on July 9.

Some of these recent ceremonies were about as elaborate as they get, others had a more a down-home flavor, but each was unique and special in its own way. While it’s hard to beat a bunch of people from Hillsboro traveling to Georgia on a perfect spring weekend for a wedding, it’s just as hard to beat a less formal, Hawaiian-themed wedding just down the road that seemed a perfect fit for the couple.

For me, one of the most touching moments of any wedding ceremony is the best man’s speech (sorry girls, it’s a guy thing). Most of the speeches I’ve heard over the last year or so were delivered by a good friend or brother of the groom. But one was delivered by a son, to his father at his father’s wedding.

It was special to me because Steve Edison has been a good friend for about as long as I can remember, and his son, Kyle Edison, has been a good friend of my sons since before the days when two of them were 7 and my youngest son was 4 and they all played coach’s pitch baseball together in Mowrystown. They are all friendships that have continued since the day they started, right up to Kyle and my youngest son being roommates in college until a couple weeks ago when Kyle graduated.

So, since Memorial Day is just behind us and I and many others will be celebrating Steve and Cristal Edison’s one-year anniversary with them this weekend, I thought you might enjoy hearing what a son had to say to his father on his special day. Here are Kyle Edison’s words:

“Firstly, I would like to start off with some thank you’s. I want to say thanks to everyone who made it out today, as well as anyone who had a part in this wedding. I want to thank all the bridesmaids – you ladies look beautiful, as well as the groomsmen – well, quite frankly, you guys have seen better days. I would also like to say thank you to all the veterans we have in attendance tonight.

“As many of you know, today is June 6, aka D-Day in 1944.

“Last week my dad was asking me if I had thought about my speech at all and I said, ‘Oh yeah, I already have that done (not really).’ But he said, ‘Awesome. Well, you might want to say something about D-Day because there will be a lot of veterans there.’ Then he continued to tell me a story, and well, (his) was better than any I could think of, so here it goes.

“Dad and Cristal were on the beach in Florida and Crystal was writing the wedding date in the sand when an old man walked up and said, ‘I think you need to choose a different date. There’s been a lot of bad things happen on that day.’

“Without the blink of an eye Dad said, ‘Well, it’s about time good things start happening on bad days around here.’

“The old man said, ‘You’re exactly right,’ congratulated them, and walked on.

“So, thank you veterans, and let this be a great day.

“Next I would like to thank my grandmother, Phyllis Garland. Without this woman I am sure that my dad wouldn’t be the man that we have all grown to love. So, thank you Granny for having such an impact on not only Dad’s life, but mine, and probably the majority of the people here today.

“Now I would like to talk a little about Cristal. When my Dad first introduced me to you I could tell that he was already in love with you. I could see it in his eyes – just the way he looked at you. I knew at that moment you already had him wrapped around your finger, and he was done for. You have raised two kids, you are a hard worker, you treat me with respect, you make my Dad the happiest man ever, and most importantly you make me breakfast everytime I stay at the house. You are a keeper in my book. Because of you, my Dad has changed his ways. Just when he was starting to get old and fat you came and saved him. I can’t say that I have ever seen my Dad this happy, and for that I want to thank you.

“Dad, it seems like yesterday that you were teaching me everything I know today. Back when you were finding more mushrooms than me, beating me at all the sports that I played, or beating me at a race to the car. My, how times have changed. You taught me how to be a hard worker, always give it everything you have regardless of what it is, and never quit! Always treat others how you want to be treated, no matter what. Without you, I wouldn’t be the man that I am today. You are my hero, my best friend, my father, and for that I will be forever grateful.

“I never thought I would see the day that my Dad got married, but then again, I have never seen him this happy. I think that everyone here would agree that you two have something special. You are a match made in heaven.

“Dad, it only took you 49 years, but you did it. And hey, she’s 10 years younger than you! Well done!”

The tears I watched slip down Steve’s cheeks that day were testimony to how much those words meant to him. That’s about as good as it gets between a father and a son.

Happy anniversary, Steve and Cristal, and many more.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.

Jeff Gilliland Staff columnist Gilliland Staff columnist