“Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man.” ― Sappho
My brother got married. Yesterday! My brother is tall to begin with, but this wedding day truly honored the line from the Sappho poem. And the celebration of the wedding will continue on and on. Here is why.
My brother Bill is no ordinary brother–in fact I do not have ordinary brothers–my two are extraordinary. But this was the marriage of my younger brother who in his sixties has never been married. Oh, women had tried to get him to tie the knot, but he was looking for the mate that would share with him the marriage he wanted, whose own take on being married would echo all the “family” memories that make Bill an amazing, giving, creative, understanding person. And he found that bride in Rita. Lovely Rita we often call her, from the Beatles song Lovely Rita Meter Maid, because Bill has been immersed in the music of the Beatles since “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” Not only does he know everything there is to know about the group, but he plays their music on his guitar, sings the lyrics beautifully and has every album and song they ever produced. In his living room, Bill has a photograph with one of the Beatles’ producers, George Martin. His admiration for the Beatles definitely helped propel him into the music business where he has been successful in production and promotion for years.
Rita loves music too! Good thing, though her taste runs more toward Mozart. Bill has written a song for Rita–it’s what he does for people he loves. It’s such a gift to get your own personal song. And on the wedding eve, my son Andrew, who walks in his uncle’s footsteps, performed a song he had written for Uncle Bill, with his sister, Christie–who wrote the most amazing lyrics. Many people cry at weddings. EVERYONE cried when they performed this loving song for a man who has meant so much to all our family. (Below, me and Bill when we both had more hair.)
Bill often credits me with helping to raise him, because though we are only three years apart, the death of our father when we were so very young created a bond. I did what I could to take care of my little brother and that continued on into grade school when we became latch-key kids and we would meet, walk home together and I would make him lunch. Little things, but they bonded us big time. Believe me, he has repaid me over and over with the love and generosity he has showered on my family–my husband and my children.
Our son Andrew and Bill love to jam, to talk about music and guitar riffs and share their work. One thing about this amazing new bridegroom–he is never too tired, never too busy to give you what you need: advice, comfort, support and always love. Or he’ll drive you wherever you need to go, encourage you to strike out on a new pathway.
Thus it is exciting to see Bill and Rita beginning a new life together. We know it will be full of music and laughter. And Rita’s amazing cooking, which is often supported by the produce she grows in her bountiful garden. They will travel and watch the Blackhawks and the Bears. Life together will be awesome. Life will be full.
I raise a toast and metaphorically the roof, as I celebrate my brother Bill, the new bridegroom who is truly “taller far than a tall man.”
Photos, John Havey and family.