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Friday, September 3, 2010
Dear Anne Marie: a thank you note to my niece

DUE TO MY HEAVY INVOLVEMENT in my niece's wedding this past weekend, I did not have time to write a column. In lieu thereof, I am publishing a copy of my thank-you note to her. My regular column should return next week.


Dear Anne Marie,

First off, I would like to thank you for hugging me right after your Uncle Cliff finished singing the song I wrote. (Well, me and Earl Scruggs, but you know what I'm talking about.) As you approached me, I will admit, I experienced a little trepidation. I confess that I thought you might slug me instead of hug me. In light of that I was working on a defense of my words -- but I am glad I didn't need to use it.

[Note: Defamation, which is, according to Wikipedia, also called calumny, vilification, slander (for transitory statements), and libel (for published words), communicates a claim of fact, express or implied, that cast an individual in a negative light. To be defamation, this claim must be false and communicated to someone other than the person defamed. Truth is often the best defense against a charge of defamation.]

After everything you had done to make for a perfect wedding (six beautiful bridesmaids, six handsome groomsmen, stunning you and suave John arriving in a horse-drawn carriage all adorned with flowers, flower petals strewn down the grassy aisle, and a romantically lit and decorously decorated reception hall), I clearly knew that you wanted a storybook ceremony and reception. So, I probably could have anticipated that hearing bass and banjo playing the theme music to the Beverly Hillbillies was not quite what you had in mind just after the cake cutting. (After looking over your single-spaced, three-page "Timeline for Anne Marie and John's wedding weekend," I can see that there is no entry labeled "Be embarrassed by aunt and uncles performing corny hillbilly music.")

We understand that Pachelbel's Canon in D was more what you had in mind. As for the Ballad of Anne Marie, I certainly did not intend to make any comparison between you and Jed Clampett, express or implied. I am sure you understand that that song simply provided the musical and lyrical framework by which a story might be told.

Please consider that you did become a vegetarian -- while living in a household of omnivores -- by your own decision when you were in kindergarten and have remained so ever since. This is well established, as are your dad's stories about having to order McDonalds Cheeseburger Kiddie Meals for you -- then telling them to "hold the burger."

Reliable sources at that first first-grade parent-teacher conference also state that your teacher claimed that when she tried to teach you to write your name "correctly," you said to her, and I quote, "Well, that's how you make your 'A,' this is how I make mine."

I am sure you realize that the story of your secretly feeding Daisy chocolate when you were both just pups only shows your giving nature. Sorry if any unpleasant memories of the cleanup afterward were evoked.

Also, I am sure that John understood that when our song told him that he should learn to say "Yes, ma'am," "I'm sorry" and "You're right again, honey," that is sound marital advice for any husband. (At least, that's what Sandra tells me -- to which I always reply, "You're right again, honey.")

And, despite the rhyming "gloat" and "thank-you note" lines in the song, I wouldn't really expect you, or anybody else, to write a thank-you note for what we added to your perfect wedding -- though your dad already has.

And, another thing, even though I was standing right next to the bucket of sparklers when they exploded sending all of the wedding guests scrambling and setting off the fire alarm, it wasn't my fault. Really.

Hope you and John are enjoying St. Lucia.

With love,

Your Uncle Gary

p.s. The cheeseburgers at the rehearsal dinner were really good. Tell John that I said thanks.

Gary D. Gaddy is very proud of his favorite (for this week at least) niece who is almost as hardheaded as her favorite (before this week anyway) uncle and just about exactly twice as sweet and thoughtful.

A version of this story was published in the Chapel Hill Herald on Friday September 3, 2010.

Copyright 2010 Gary D. Gaddy

Authored by Gary G. Gaddy at 7:33 AM EDT
Updated: Friday, September 3, 2010 10:33 AM EDT
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