The Wedding Present

It was a quiet, intimate Court wedding. My dad, his bride, us 3 kids, her 2, her mom and 2 brothers. We went for lunch at a hotel to celebrate and toast the bride and groom. It was scrumptious and festive and lively.

4 serious looking men in suits came in and looked around, one turned and left, the others went and sat at a table on the opposite side of the room. The one who had left came back with a very surprising group! Rhodesian PM Ian Smith, his wife and another couple. The men at the table stood and looked around the room until the group was seated. The odd man out then joined the others at their table. Ah! Bodyguards!

How exciting! Celebrities at the wedding. My dad had been an admirer of Ian Smith for years. He was so excited, and said he’d love to meet him. Ding! Ding! The light went on in my head! What a great present I could give my dad if I got Ian Smith to agree to meet my dad!

I jumped up and moved quickly to his table before I thought too much and abandoned the idea. The bodyguards all reached into their jackets and leapt to their feet immediately! Uh oh! I hadn’t considered them! PM Smith rose halfway out of his seat and held up his hand towards their table and smiled at me. “Good afternoon, my dear.”

“Um, good afternoon sir, ma’am. I’m so sorry to interrupt your lunch, but my dad just got married, and we’re celebrating. He would be so honoured if you would sign the ribbon of the brides’ bouquet. He’s such an admirer!” I was so nervous that it just gushed out very quickly, before I lost my nerve. I was too scared to look over at the bodyguards’ table by then!

He was such a sweetheart! He asked my dads’ and the brides’ names and said he’d be delighted to sign. I told him dad’s name and his face lit up, “Binky! The Boxer! I’ve been a fan of his since he was a youngster! I’d love to shake his hand!” He jumped up, excused himself and walked over to our table and pumped dad’s hand enthusiastically. He’d followed my dad’s boxing career for a couple of years before my dad was chosen for the Olympic Team. He had watched dad box and win his Bronze medal too.

I don’t know who was more excited at meeting their man! Dad introduced PM Smith to his bride, and to all of us, and PM Smith took the Bride and Groom over to his table and introduced his wife and guests to them. The bodyguards quickly brought two extra chairs to the PM’s table and the six of them sat and chatted for a while. PM and Mrs Smith signed the ribbon of the bouquet, and toasted the Bride and Groom. Out of respect for their privacy, no photos
were taken. He was in our country on a private, unofficial visit.

The Bridal pair returned to our table flushed and excited. My dad gave me the biggest hug and kiss, and with tears spilling down his cheeks, said, “Thank you so much my girl, that made a beautiful day, perfect! Thank you for being brave and crazy enough to do what you did. It was the best wedding present ever!”

This is dedicated to my beloved Dad, whose birthday it would have been yesterday. I love and miss you so much. My Dad died a scant 3 months later, at the age of 39 and 1 month.

The Great Betrayal

The Great Betrayal (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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18 thoughts on “The Wedding Present

  1. Margie says:

    I also remember, cos my late mom and dad was also there, I saw a photo of it. Were going to visit Elize and I will ask if she has it and let you know. Thankfully we have beautifull memories of our dearly departed. lots of love.

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  2. As I was reading, I could feel the excitement both your dad and Ian Smith must have felt at their meeting. And how sad you lost him so soon after. You were very brave, Charlene, to have approached this man out of love for your dad.

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  3. jackie says:

    Such a special and warm story Charlene! For people like us, memories are all we have!! Sending warm feelings and loves. Thanks for the very special share! xxx

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  4. I hit the like button because the story is a wonderful memory I’m sure… the loss of a father I do not like but I know what it was like to meet and talk with that great man… of which I meant many times as he came to Todds Hotel most New Years Eve dances where we always were.. There was nothing like being remembered by name when he saw you… a wonderful blog that I’m sure means so much to you… thanks for sharing.

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    • Thank you for commenting Sue. A horrible tragedy, he was a wonderful man and fabulous father. I lost my mom before my 10th birthday, 10 years before. I’m not telling this for sympathy, but to say treasure them, tell them you love them, make memories to see you through. xxx Bless you

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    • Dear Stephen, thank you so much for your comment, I would not be offended if you hit the “like” button, it was a fantastic experience, and my Dad was so thrilled. It still brings a grin to my face. I cherish this memory so much, I’ve lost so many, and this was one of the last times I saw my dad. Glorious! 🙂

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