By Stacey Huddleston, Vice President, Commercial Relationship Manager, Core Bank Loan Production Office
My wife Kelli admits that I was relatively calm throughout our wedding planning process. She was to plan everything and just tell me when and where to be on our special day. That’s not really how it played out. Instead, Kelli involved me in an extreme list of to-do items which were created on a multi-color spreadsheet.
About three weeks into the planning process, Kelli realized that I should probably keep my tasks to a minimum to ensure a happy bride. There I was with a short, yet important list of items to check off. I had to get a suit for my dad, find a great DJ for the reception, and plan the honeymoon.
I’ve got this!
I took my dad shopping for a suit about three months before the big day. Tom is seventy-six years old with a wardrobe that consists of jeans and old t-shirts, because that’s all a farmer and laborer ever needed. (My dad has always been proud to see me dressed up in a suit.) Unfortunately, my dad has never owned a suit, tie, or dress shoes.
He was excited to go shopping with me to pick out his very first suit. He insisted on suspenders because they were “old school”. The blue matched our wedding colors, and my dad smiled like I’ve never seen before. We skipped the shoes because he said he’d found a pair of dress shoes that would be perfect for his new suit. I assumed he had a pair of basic black shoes at home. I was wrong!
Fast-forward to about two weeks prior to the nuptials, my dad calls me with excitement in his voice that I haven’t heard in a long time. “You’re never going to guess what I found today”, he said. “Shoes! I found the perfect shoes that I’m wearing to your wedding. Stacey, you’re going to like them. They’re old school!”
I nearly passed out as he describe them. “Oh boy, you’re going to love these. They’re old school I tell you. Shiny black all the way around, and the top of the shoes are white. Your mom didn’t want me to buy them, but I got them anyway.”
He handed the phone to my mom who was mortified. She told me that she had tried to talk him out of buying the shoes, but he insisted on having old school shoes that would be a big hit at the wedding. I politely asked my mom to “accidentally” forget his shoes when they came for the wedding. She laughed and agreed.
I then called the tux rental company and ordered another pair of matching shoes for my dad. What looked great for my dad in the 50’s wasn’t going to look great on a seventy-six-year-old man at his son’s wedding.
As we were getting dressed in the back room of the church my dad got so caught up in the moment of his son helping him get dressed, tying his new blush colored tie, cuff links, and jacket; that he forgot all about the “old school” black and white shoes. I knelt down and put his black matching shoes on him while he placed one hand on my shoulder. With a tear in his eye he said, “I love you, son. Thank you for doing this for me.”
There’s value in tried and true methods that we call “old school.” But there also needs to be room for new ideas from those around you. It’s not hard to find people with new ideas… they’re the ones listening and asking questions.
I often think about that moment when my dad realized… I’ve got this. It was a beautiful day. And my dad looked amazing in his black dress shoes and blue suspenders.