Friday, May 07, 2010

Best man

Time for another spell of introspective rambling.  It's good to do this every so often... cleans out the pipes, so to speak. 

I guess right now I'm thinking about this August, when I will stand at the side of my good friend and former bandmate David Thompson when he gets married.  Gonna be Dave's best man. (For the second time, no less!)

This will be the fifth occasion in my life when I have had the honor of being "best man."

In 1992, I was best man for the very best friend in all my life, my brother Eric.  He married his high school sweetheart, Linda Fifield.  If there is one person in this world who understands the complex relationship that my brother and I have, it is Linda.  She was right there in the thick of it.  Not always the easiest place to be.  Not for any of us.  Eric and Linda got married in January, with me as best man.  Then, that June, Eric stood for me when Michelle and I got married.  Eric and I were both just finished up with college and I imagine we both figured marriage was next on the agenda.  When you're that age, you don't know any better. 

I was also best man for my dear, old friend, Patrick Edward Yadon, when he married Deanna Cooper in 1987.  (Or was it '86?)  If I ever work up enough nerve, I might write a story or two about the times that Pat and I had together.  We were a couple young tomcats, laid-off from the lumber mill.  Rascals.  Rakes. Rapscallions.  We were such regulars at Roger's Bar down in Klamath Falls that if we didn't show up on a given night, the bartender was likely to notify Oregon Search and Rescue.  I can't say I'm proud of everything we did back then.  But, then again, I'm not ashamed of it either.  We did a lot of laughing and a lot of drinking, Pat and I did.

As I stated earlier, I was best man for Dave Thompson another time.  That was when he married Tiana Foreman in 2004, just a year or two after the Mahatma Candy daze.  Dave and I were bandmates for two years and roommates for another.  We played a lot of guitar together.  We got to where we could play off each other pretty damn well, if I do say so myself.  Dave and I are kindred spirits in a lot of ways, I think.

And, then, I was best man for Dad, for Ross Cariaga, when he married Tami McClain in 1989.  I got the assignment by virtue of seniority within the Tribe of Ross.  (I was the oldest son, after all.)  But now is not the time for me to try to hammer out a few sentences to characterize the relationship between Dad and me.  Not gonna open any of those doors right now.  No, sir.  Save that for another time.

Of course, each of these occasions was a rare honor.  I plan to carry them with me for the rest of my days.  Like Bruce Cockburn says, "To be held in the heart of a friend is to be a king."

I also want to mention my high school friend, Frederick Taylor Means (alternately "Rick" or "Fred"), who asked me to be his best man shortly after we graduated from high school in 1980.  He and his girlfriend, Kim Barnes, were in something of a hurry to get married.  For some reason that I can no longer recall, I had to decline the honor that day.  But I was gratified, nonetheless.

Hmm... now that I think about it, not a single one of the marriages I mention has survived.  Apart from Dad's marriage (Dad and Tami were married up to his passing in 2001), every marriage for which I served as best man has ended in divorce.

What does that tell ya?

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