I hate marriage but I like weddings. My dream wedding is nothing fancy. It does not have to be as grand as a royal wedding. I don’t need a long list of entourage. The images come to my mind: there are two men waiting for me to walk down the aisle. Then I exchange vows with the man I love in front of another man who loves me too—- my dad. I imagine it to be a movie scene from a A Walk to Remember. Jamie’s dad officiates his daughter’s weddings. My dad is a church minister. Before I was born, my dad had solemnized a number of weddings.
I don’t know if my dream wedding will come true. Aside from the fact that I am a candidate for Ms. Old Maid, I am giving my dad stress and headache to prepare for the ceremony. My dad has been making wedding bloopers lately. He switched the bride’s name and the groom’s name while he asked them to speak their vows. One day, the guests whose tears were about to fall, broke into laughter when they heard my dad replaced the bride’s name with her dad’s name. So I now have a hint what it would be like if dad would officiate my wedding. He will say, “Dolly, do you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?” Oops, that’s my sister’s name!
My dad is 73 years old. He survived two strokes which led him to some memory gap. My dad drove my mom to the market. A few minutes later, he was at home. He forgot his wife at the market. One afternoon, we looked for dad all over the mall. Then, my sister found him outside the mall waiting for us. He got confused and forgot where our meeting place was.
The best thing about my dad’s old age is that he becomes overly sentimental. Now, I understand the comparison between men and wine (I don’t drink. So I can’t tell). They get better as the years go by. On one of my mom’s birthdays, he woke up early morning and picked roses on the hill tops. Then on mother’s day, my dad made a letter for mom and he put it on frame. He wrote: “After crossing the Bible average of 70, and having survived two strokes, I want to let you know that you are the best girlfriend I ever had, the best wife one can ever have….You are a rare combination of Beauty, Brain and Character no man on earth can ask for more.”
My dad is probably one of the most updated senior citizens. He knows how to email and he has a Facebook account . My dad is the eldest among his siblings yet he is often mistaken as the youngest. And he seems to pass the gene of youthful beauty to me. In the securlar-corporate world, he should be enjoying his retirement but he works what he loves to do and what God wants him to do.
There are times when I do not want to disclose details of my dad’s occupation. I’m not just comfortable with some people’s curious reaction, “so-your-dad-preaches-for-a-living?” Sometimes, people don’t realize that we do what we do only for love’s sake, and not for a living.
My dad has never been rich and has never dreamed of becoming rich. He has no interest for material wealth. I have never received gifts from my dad since the day I was born. He has never bought his own car nor a house because he believes it is luxury to invest on earthly treasures when we can not bring them to Heaven. My dad drives a second-hand vehicle, handed by my sister and brother-in-law. Thanks to my other sister, my parents now have a house, small enough to bind us tighter during reunions.
Up to this day, my dad continues to teach the gospel. But beyond scriptures and biblical facts, my dad knows a lot of things. In fact, my dad was my first encyclopedia. He could answer all the questions I had as a child (no matter how absurd and nonsensical my questions were).
My dad also has some fondness for words. He used to court my mom with love letters. He liked to make thank-you letters and all kinds of letters. He visits the post office regularly in spite of the availability of the internet. When my English teacher gave homework, to read some poems and short stories, I asked help from my dad. And whenever I did, I excelled. Partly, it was because of his US education in Abilene Christian University where he studied in Bachelor of Arts in Bible, minor in English. This explains why I have an ancient copy of the complete works of Shakespeare. I’d like to believe his mastery for language has nothing to do with his education but with his genes. In some way, his ability to put words together inspire me to be a communicator.
I believe my dad’s talent could have made him a professor, a lawyer, a rich salesman, a government official, a barangay chairman, a journalist, and so many more but he only has small dreams. He has dreams but by our usual standards, his dreams become less significant. He dreams that he can bring more people closer to God.
I dream small too. I dream that one day I’ll march down the aisle and say, “I do” in front of my dad carrying a Bible. If not, I will pursue my other dream: to keep my father’s name forever…….. in my heart..