Words of occasional wisdom from Bruce Oakley

Music and magic

Posted by boakley59 on July 13, 2008

Congratulations to my newlywed sister as she starts her life afresh.

Suzy and I had the pleasure of traveling to the June 27 wedding, and I shared the honor of giving the bride away. Marcy and Ernie exchanged vows beside a pond in back of their home, and family and friends gathered for an outdoor reception, sharing heartfelt joy in an evening of dancing and karaoke singing.

My dad would have been pleased. He was at his best tipping a glass with good friends and music all around. I think he would have been moved to tears taking a turn at the mike to sing “Daddy’s Little Girl” or perhaps “Sunrise, Sunset.” Or maybe he would have laughed through something more appropriate to an Irish pub than to a sentimental coming of age ceremony. I don’t think he would have been afraid of the mike as I am, with my tin ear. I wanted to sing “Welcome to My World” as their greeting to each other, but I have too low an opinion of my voice and no longer the youthful willingness (or drunken nerve) to make a fool of myself in public.

But on an opening night of music and magic, there can be no shame among family and friends, so I missed a chance to wish them well with all my heart. I have already promised my sister better at whatever big anniversary celebration may come. Even if I do it badly, as my father never would (we didn’t hear him sing often, but he did it well, and we miss his voice), I will sing from the heart and wish Marcy and Ernie music and magic always.

That, after all, is what our journey is all about. My mother did not make the long trip from California to Virginia, and we did not know with certainty that I would be able to make the drive from Arkansas, but my strength held and my sister gave me the great gift of seeing her happy at the beginning of a shared adventure. I wish I had helped close the distance more by sharing a song or two with her and with my new brother, whose love of song would have reassured my father.

A few months ago, I couldn’t travel four hours to be with my son when he had surgery. Now, I have healed enough for a 14-hour drive to share in my sister’s new start. Marcy was pleased just that I could be there, but in truth she did more for me in sharing the magic of the day than I did in welcoming Ernie to the family. Fortunately, we are now all committed to making more of our moments together.

Marcy and Ernie will give me more chances to seize the moments of music and magic. With any luck, Suzy, who also has a good voice, will help me learn pleasant harmony by then.

We all have it in us, exuberant newlyweds and karaoke-phobic odd couples.

“Welcome to my world, won’t you come on in?
Miracles, I guess, still happen now and then …”


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