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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tales from the Father

Built on the Lake
by Max Fulbright
When Max Fulbright's daughter married in 2009,
the family created this poster for her.


Do you remember where you were twenty years ago? I do. I was in a small movie theater in Gainesville, Georgia. I was seated on the left side of the theater…near the back. I had my popcorn and coke and a little six year old girl on my lap. I’m sure she had her two fingers in her mouth as we settled in to watch Father of the Bride. It’s a day neither of us will ever forget.

Amanda and I were both fine as we started watching. We both laughed as Steve Martin struggled with his daughter’s engagement announcement and the ensuing wedding preparations. But slowly, we both realized we were watching ourselves in the not so distant future. The night before the wedding, Steve Martin is thinking back on memories of his daughter as a little girl….back when he was the only man in her life. By the time they showed the daddy – daughter basketball scene, we couldn’t take it anymore. We got up and left the movie….both sobbing uncontrollably.

Over the next nine years or so, I tried not to think about Father of the Bride. I refused to watch it. I coached little girls softball and basketball teams. I went to twirling exhibitions and cheerleading competitions. I attended Daddy-Daughter dances. I watched the Spice Girls movie (one of my all time favorites). But I did NOT watch Father of the Bride.

Then one day it happened. One day I was the man of the house and in control of my family. The next thing I knew, there was a police car in my driveway with flashing lights. He had pulled in behind the kid that was about to take my daughter on her first REAL date. Today that kid is my son-in-law, Jake.
Jake has been a part of the family since he was a sixteen year old kid determined to take my daughter away. They are best friends and he makes my daughter laugh. He makes all of us laugh. He actually tried to send me a TEXT message to ask for my daughter’s hand in marriage. I didn’t have my phone with me and he ended up having to do it in person.

Suddenly, I found myself in my own Father of the Bride movie. The following year was a whirlwind of going to fancy parties, writing checks, and writing checks. It was a lot of fun for my daughter and her mom. I thought the check writing was fun.

One day I was a young man playing basketball out in the driveway with a beautiful little girl. The next day I was a not so young man watching my daughter being swept away and I was powerless to stop it. Amanda was so happy, I didn’t really want to.

Amanda and I both knew it was inevitable. Time flies and on a beautiful spring day in 2009 I walked my little girl down the aisle. The preacher asked who was there to give her away. GIVE HER AWAY?? Like a good father, I said, “Her mother and I”. Then I sat down in the pew and I cried just like I did twenty years ago in that theater in Gainesville, Georgia.

Max Fulbright has designed and built dozens of homes on Lake Wedowee.

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