From now on, this weekly Newsletter will be called ROBERT A. MILLS'S OP-ED COLUMN. Access it and enjoy!
Newsletter Dated: 6/23/2012 5:31:04 AM
Subject: ANNIVERSARY - June 23
Youngest daughter Alex and her betrothed (and eventual spouse) Phillip Faucette graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2007. Thanks mainly to the Hope Scholarship, we were able to provide Alex a most productive and gratifying time at UGA, beginning as a Classical Dance major and concluding four years later with a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Alex, during her sophomore and junior years, lived at the Pi Phi house on Milledge Avenue, and Phillip resided at the Beta fraternity digs just down the street, after he became an officer during his senior year. They both began at Russell Hall dorms as freshmen, and for her senior year Alex shared a house outside the campus.
They were married on the first day of summer, 2008, and Alex taught at St. George’s Independent School, while Phillip pursued a post-graduate degree in dentistry at the University of Tennessee Medical School in Memphis.
“Dr.” Faucette, after a year of general dentistry in Nashville, was one of four accepted at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he is studying endodontics. Upon accreditation there, the Faucettes plan to return to Nashville, where Dr. Faucette will set up his practice, specializing in the discipline of endodontics.
Alex’s mother and I attended the graduation ceremonies at Sanford Stadium on UGA’s campus in 2007, as well as Phillip’s convocation in the FedEx Forum, Memphis, four years later. Alex and Phillip were married at Sts. Peter & Paul’s Episcopal Church in Marietta GA in 2008 with my personal priestess, the late Rev. Patty Roberts, officiating, assisted by Phillip’s dad, Rev. Chip Faucette.
For the graduation in Georgia, my wife and I (and the ancient mother-in-law) stayed in a condo owned by a client of my wife’s, on campus and near the stadium, which was the site of the event. The mother-in-law, being too infirm, did not attend the ceremony, but she did grace us with her presence at the après-graduation luncheon at the nearby UGA Botanical Gardens, along with Phillip’s and our families. (Some were somewhat miffed because they did not serve beer or wine.)
That evening most attended a memorable dinner in downtown Athens (where they served all sorts of spirits), not far from the famous “arches” of the University of Georgia, where 30,000+ students congregate for higher education.
During their time in Memphis, Alex and Phillip became the proud parents of their first son, Hutson Mills Faucette, our grandson (I doubt he will ever know how “grand” he really is).
But be that as it may, I somehow have stronger memories of the graduation(s) in 2007 and 2011 than I do the wedding in 2008. The speeches by civil rights leader Vernon Jordan at UGA, and at UT’s White Coat ceremony by the former governor of Tennessee, a retired dentist named Winfield Dunn — as well as the med school’s dean at the FedEx Forum — will not be remembered except for “Go forth and save the world, making us prouder of you than we now are,” or something to that effect.
Perhaps I was too close to the wedding itself, too involved in the machinations of the event, the church, the rehearsal, the reception, walking the extraordinarily beautiful bride down the aisle. Perhaps, after twenty-three halcyon years, I was mesmerized by the magnitude of it all.
It was upon reflection, by all benchmarks, the Wedding of the Century. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would rate this one a 35 or 36 for over all excellence. (I know, I know, others were considered unique for one reason or another, but . . . )
The full impact did not sink in until I began my novel WALL!, a true fiction based on an actual event. In it, the protagonist, like me, is a likeable and rather jolly fellow, bent on securing a pistol in order to eliminate someone he feels should not be there.
Unlike me, however, he actually obtains the gun and enlists the aid of two friends of international renown who, it turns out, have an agenda of their own. How it is resolved is the stuff of novels and cannot be revealed here.
In real life, the youngsters will mark their fourth wedding anniversary at Chateau Elan, a resort I have always wanted to enjoy but never could afford. Of course, I am not married to a fledgling endodontist, having barely made it through high school (my wife did, however, fulfill her dream and received her B.S. degree from Atlanta’s American University in 1996).
There are rewards, though. It seems we will have Hutson for a few days this week while the youngsters are gallivanting at the chateau and a friend’s wedding in Athens! That will be recompense far superior to faded sheepskins and a marriage certificate, anyway, will it not?
Copyright©2012 by Robert A. Mills, all rights reserved