Born on a Sunday in the old Enumclaw Community Memorial Hospital, Caesarian-style, thanks to the steady hands of Drs. Robert Gramann and Ken Anderson, Nicole Marie Leggett entered the world July 24, 1983, kicking and screaming.
One of the birthing nurses, Toni Erikson, deposited this child full of grace into yours truly’s arms on my insistence, and I uttered eight simple words.
“OK, little one. Everything’s gonna be all right.”
Almost immediately, the most beautiful and helpless creature I’d ever seen stopped crying and smiled sweetly up at her daddy, who in theory she could not yet even see clearly.
I think maybe it is because my wife Rose and I had taken care to talk to the little squirt through mama’s tummy and even read her stories. I swear on a stack of Sports Illustrateds, this mini-munchkin recognized my voice and right away ceased carrying on, commencing to cling to her ol’ pappie like a life preserver in the sea of this unfamiliar environment.
I may be speaking those very same words all to soon when she falls headlong into the sea of love and life. I will soon be doing the hand-off thing myself, after walking my precious girl down the aisle for her long-anticipated wedding ceremony at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Enumclaw, the same church Rose and I were married in a third of a century ago.
It will be a wonderfully traditional Roman Catholic wedding when Nicole ties the knot with Lt. Cmdr. Joseph B. Davis of the United States Navy.
Understandably, she will be excited and maybe even a tad nervous, but there will be no apprehension. I could not be more certain of one thing: my wife is the most organized, detail-oriented person I’ve ever known. She has taken most of the burden off my shoulders by being absolutely devoted to handling the thousands of details involved with pulling off an Italian wedding and reception.
She is a phenomenal woman and I thank the Lord I was fortunate enough to marry her. I never knew there was such a seemingly endless list of arrangements to be made for this coming 24-hour span of time.
Thank goodness one of us is a details person. When I played football, I was a nose tackle with a seek-and-destroy, never mind the details philosophy. Sadly, my lack of tact and diplomacy hasn’t changed much.
We are only going to do this once, so you can bet we want to get it right. Just a portion of the items on the mammoth list of things to get right are the cake, flowers, limos, bride’s dress, bridesmaid’s dresses, flower girls’ dresses and God knows shoes – shoes for all of them. Then there’s entertainment, hors d’oeuvres, buffet lines, napkins, tablecloths, chair covers, centerpieces, name standards, seating charts, cigars and most importantly various libations at the reception, but especially a champagne fountain. The wedding invitations, the wedding programs, the RSVP cards, the reception programs, the final count for the caterer, the maps to the reception site and so on and so forth.
Nicole will be a lovely 28-year-old bride, fully cognizant of the journey she is about to embark upon. The engagement has been a seven-month process, but the relationship has been a four-year marathon entailing a couple of lengthy deployments by her sailor-boy groom.
Their courtship survived the hardest of times, not only because she is a smart and special girl (I’m a bit biased), but because he is a darn good fellow himself.
As a father to just one little girl, earning my trust has not been easy. I definitely believe in this guy, though.
He is a respectable, responsible military man, serving his country well. He is a brother of the sports realm, a fellow Washington State graduate and a young man who has proven he is going to be able to provide for our baby girl.
I hope that with Joe’s loving acceptance, care and patience, Nicole will make a smooth transition into living the adventurous role of the military wife. The newlyweds are going to be living in “a sweet condo in San Diego” as Nicole so eloquently put it, because that is where my future son-in-law is currently stationed.
I guess there could be less inviting atmospheres in which to initiate the married existence. Right?
Maybe I will be taking in a few Chargers games when I go for visits. Yeah, that’s the ticket.