June 22, 1996 – Saturday – 11:05 p.m.

Remember today.

I awoke this morning and did some work for summer programs.  I played Nintendo, ate lunch, and programmed a “Happy Anniversary” subtitle into the camcorder for the taping I was doing later today.

Rachel let me borrow her car and I left at 3:00 p.m., headed towards Blowing Rock.  I got a little lost, but I finally found The Farm House around 4:00 p.m.  It was a very nice dining and entertainment restaurant.  I set up in the private dining area.  Other members of this huge family celebrating Mr. & Mrs. Blair’s 50th Wedding Anniversary were setting up as well.  A waitress/singer of The Farm House was passing out sparkling grape drinks to anyone who desired one.  She came to me and asked me.

“Sure, thank you.” I said.

“Napkin?” she asked.

“Yeah, thanks.”

The night continued.  For six hours I videotaped.  I taped greetings, opening of presents, toasts, small talk, presentations, reactions, everything.  I was surrounded by people I did not know at all.  Mr. Blair had beautiful granddaughters.  One cried as she read a poem she wrote for him.  A beautiful princess, telling her granddaddy all the love she had ever known.

Mr. Blair’s sons and daughters were there.  In their past they all used to go camping together as a family, so tonight they sang old campfire songs.  I sang along as I taped.

Such a big family, celebrating a simple life lived for God.

The singers of The Farm House came in during dinner.  They came one right after another.  One guy sang “Bring Him Home,” from Les Miz.  Another sang, “The Music of the Night” from Phantom of the Opera, and yet another girl sang, “Memory” from Cats.

Everything was beautiful and perfect.  And me, a stranger, was allowed to come along, just to observe.

A video was shown, cut together from old home movies that showed their marriage, the birth of their children, grandchildren, and even great grandchildren.  Everyone in that room tonight began with that man found a married a woman.  And the two of them had met while attending the same college.  Could it all really be that simple?

I began to get really hungry.  While everyone ate, I videotaped.  But after about five hours, the same girl who brought me the drink, brought me a piece of cake, and some water, along with another glass of sparkling grape juice.

It tasted so wonderful.  I was so thankful.

Mr. Blair, including some others, gave a toast.  All spoke wise words.  Each person was thankful for this couple, whom I could see truly loved each other.  For 50 years their love had been growing.

I envy that man.

I desire to be like him, to be the father of such a great and wonderfully huge family.

After the toast there was a little dancing and then I began to pack up.  It was close to 10:00 p.m.  I spoke with Mr. Blair and told him thank you for making me a part of all of this.  We spoke a little more.  I am meeting them tomorrow at their church here in Banner Elk.  There will be a small ceremony then as well.

While I was packing up, the girl returned, “So are you a friend of the family?”

“No, I don’t know any of these people, Mr. Blair ran into me and asked me to do this.  I go to Lees-McRae College, I’m their videographer.”

“Really?”

“Yeah.”

“You go to Lees-McRae.”

“Yep.”

“That’s so cool.  I’m transferring there in the fall.”

“You are?”

“Yeah.”

“Where do you go now?”

“I did go to the School of Arts and Music in Miami, but I’ve already transferred.”

“Wow, to major in Musical Theater?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s great, I’m a theater major, but I don’t sing, I’m just a straight actor.”

Then she looked deep into my eyes and it really felt like she saw me and only me.   “Cool.”

She said she was looking forward to seeing me again at LMC.  We shook hands.

She told me her name.

May dusk never come.

 

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