The seasons are passing one by one
So gather moments while you may
Collect the dreams you dream today
Remember, will you remember
The times of your life?
Times of Your Life, Paul Anka
In the film Father of the Bride, George Banks (played by Steve Martin) is perturbed when his daughter, Annie, announces her engagement to Bryan. Regardless of Bryan’s financial means and feelings for Annie, George takes an instant dislike to him. The sudden shock of losing his daughter causes him to discourage the proposed marriage.
Likewise, in the movie Meet the Parents, Jack Byrnes (played by Robert de Niro) goes to extreme lengths to discourage his daughter from marrying her boyfriend, Greg Fokker (played by Ben Stiller).
Some fathers may go to great lengths when faced with the prospect of losing a daughter in marriage. At the end of both movies, the daughters marry, and their fathers come around to accept their sons-in-law.
I first met Charlie almost fifty years ago when I drove up his driveway to pick up his daughter, Alison, for a date. As I parked my car in his driveway, he came out of the basement door, eyeing me quizzically, his gray hair tousled, wearing work clothes to tackle his latest home project. After exchanging introductions and a few pleasantries, I walked up to the second floor of the two-family home to meet Alison’s delightful mom.
Introductions done, Alison and I walked to the car to get on our way when I discovered that I had two flat tires. I can understand having one flat tire after having driven 240 miles from New Jersey, but two suggested the work of a saboteur or a prankster. While I never found out how the tires got deflated, I did find out that Charlie was a prankster and was not shy about inflicting practical jokes on unsuspecting victims, especially at inconvenient times and in inopportune circumstances. He was also very protective of his daughter, and the fact that I arrived dressed in my leopard print polyester shirt driving my sporty Toronado may have been a red flag.
Fast forward two years and Alison and I were engaged and living together with our adopted cat Sneakers in a home that we bought in New Jersey. Alison’s parents drove from several states away to stay with us for the wedding.
The morning of the wedding Charlie asked me to take a walk with him. Appreciative of the opportunity to have some one-on-one time with him, I eagerly agreed.
Charlie: You know, I love Alison very much. I have two sons but only one daughter. She and I are very close. Do you love her?
Me: Yes, of course, I do.
Charlie: I’d like you to promise me that you will keep her safe. That’s been my job, and now it’s yours.
Me: I will.
Charlie: She’s strong-willed and likes the freedom to do her own thing. Her wanting to marry you tells me that she’s found her match in you.
Me: We get along great.
Charlie: Do you sing?
Me: I can’t hit a note to save my life
Charlie: Alison loves to sing. Every morning I drove her to school, we sang along to the music on the radio. She grew up with it.
Me: I love it when she sings on our road trips.
Charlie: Why do you think she loves you?
Me: Because I remind her of you.
Three months after our wedding, he passed away. His death left us with enduring memories and a hole in our hearts.
– Joe from Arizona, a FAR customer who is finding purpose in this new stage of his life.
* The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the Finance of America Reverse (LLC)