25 years ago today, my dad married my stepmom in a beautiful ceremony in a charming church in Sausalito, California. I was 14, just halfway through my freshman year in high school. My little brother had just turned 6, and my sister would have been 9. We were all part of the ceremony: Gavin was the ring-bearer, little white tux and all; Sara joined my stepmom's sister as a bridesmaid; and I stood up next to my uncle (all 6'7" of him - he looked like a Nordic Wookiee) as a groomsman.
The reception was held at a restaurant on the docks, and afterward, instead of driving off in a car decorated with shaving cream and dragging cans behind it, they sailed off into the sunset on my dad's trimaran sailboat, The Redwood Coast.
Another friend of mine, my neighbor John, is getting married to his longtime girlfriend tonight. I really wanted to be there and be happy for them. But for some reason my heart said, "stay home, be calm and quiet, and remember your dad."
So I am doing just that.
Katherine, know that I am thinking of you tonight. Remembering the two decades plus you had with my father, remembering the joy you brought each other. Remembering the good times as our family unit grew to include Samantha, for a time Sara's husband Jeff, then Gavin's wife Michelle, and the three grandchildren "Grampa Bear" loved so much (the relationship he had with my kids reminded me very much of the relationship I had with his father when I was young). The ski trips, Disneyland, Canada, Virgin Islands, college, and visiting you both in Florida. I'm glad you came out to Seattle when the cancer arrived. I'm glad we all had each other in our wagon circle when the times were especially hard.
When the Gregorian New Year hits for us at Midnight PST, I will toast the passing of another year minus two very amazing people. I will pour a shot of the Cruzan Black Strap navy rum and drink to Cap'n Bear, your wedding 25 years ago, his lasting effect on our family, and your lasting presence in our lives.
Fair winds and following seas, Pop.
Happy Anniversary, Katherine.