In October my daughter was married in Italy, in her husband’s hometown. They met in Providence while he attended Brown University. In early November we had a reception in Conn. for everyone who couldn’t make it to Europe. I was asked to say a few words and offer a toast. Here’s my speech:
A few years ago, my daughter Mackenzie came to me and said, “Dad, my new boyfriend is Italian.”
I said, “That’s great. As you know, we Dunns are in the habit of falling in love with people of Italian heritage. I think our goal is someday to have at least one person named Dunn who can actually get a sun tan.”
My daughter said to me, “No Dad, you don’t understand. Matteo is ITALIAN!”
I said, “Oh, I get it. Providence. Sure, the Italian-American community in Providence is very Italian, maybe more so than even New Haven.”
She said, “No Dad. Matteo is from Padua.”
I said, “Oh, I get it. Padua. That’s near Cranston, right? No, wait, is it near Warwick, by the airport?”
Well, anyway, last month we got the opportunity to find out exactly where Padua is, and it’s a beautiful city. And we got to meet Matteo’s family — such wonderful people!
On the morning of the wedding, as I was getting dressed in the hotel room, I suddenly started thinking about walking Mackenzie down the aisle. And I just started weeping.
Then I said to myself, “Oh no. I’m gonna break down and cry at the wedding and embarrass myself!”
Finally it was time. We got out of the limo and walked to the entrance. I held out my elbow and Mackenzie locked her arm in mine. The musicians started playing, and my lower lip started quivering. Then we took a step, and Mackenzie muttered out of the side of her mouth, “You’re stepping on my gown.” I muttered back, “I’m sorry.”
Then we took another step, and she said, “You stepped on it again.” I said, “I can’t help it. Your train takes up half an acre of floor space.”
During the entire journey down the aisle we spoke back and forth to each other out of the sides of our mouths: “You did it again.” “I’m sorry.” “Stop stepping on me.” “I can’t help it.”
The next thing we knew, we were at the front of the room. I handed her off to Matteo, and then took my seat. As I sat down, I suddenly thought to myself, “Hey, I didn’t cry! I was so distracted by stepping on her gown, I forget to get all emotional. Awesome!”
I’d like to offer a toast to the bride and groom. I’m reminded of the words of one of my favorite Old Testament prophets, Carly Simon. She said, “These are the good ol’ days.”
Just think about it: right here this afternoon, we are in the midst of an event that we will remember fondly years from now. We’ll look back and say, “Remember Mackenzie and Matteo’s reception in Mystic? Oh, that was a great time. Those we’re the good ol’ days.”
Please embrace that idea. We are creating a “good ol’ day” right here, right now.
To Mackenzie and Matteo: May God bless you always, and may we revel in this moment with them, because these truly are the good ol’ days.
* * *
Unfortunately, on the day of the reception, I came down with laryngitis. I was in complete Harpo Marx mode.
So my other daughter, Maureen, recited my speech instead and did a great job. To make sure everyone knew she was playing the part of me, she wore a Red Sox hat. Thanks, kids. I love you. Salute!