by David Sisler

Today is the day I get my own personal, private computer room. But first I have a wedding to attend and a daughter to give away.

Jennifer Darlyn Sisler came to live at our house almost 28 years ago. She was in no hurry to get here. The doctor predicted her arrival as mid-October, she waited three more weeks.

Sometime a good while before dawn, November 9, 1970, Bonnie woke me, and said, "Now would be a good time." There had been signs the day before, so we drove from Damascus, Maryland, where we were pastoring, to Hagerstown, and stayed with her Mom and Dad, while we waited. Being a good husband, I had been sleeping soundly while she had been pacing the floor.

We slipped out into the cool November air and headed for Washington County Hospital. Every light was red, but at four in the morning, we pretended they were green. It was just as well. After having kept her Mom waiting (interminably, it seemed) Jennifer arrived before breakfast.

I love to tell stories. As Jimmy Durante said, "I've got a million of 'em." Some of 'em get told a million times, or so it seems. When I start one of the old faithful tales, someone will very likely say, "I have heard that one." I frequently tell my Sunday school class (or any other group, or individual, I may be addressing), "Don't stop me if you've heard this one."

In that spirit, don't stop me if you've heard this one.

One of my earliest smiling memories about Jennifer happened one day when she came home from kindergarten in Cleveland, Tennessee. I was asking her about her day and a particular question prompted a one word answer, "Yes."

Now, if you grew up north of the Mason Dixon Line, you hear that word as just one syllable. The way the little girl who was born ten miles south of the Line, and who developed her very basic language skills in Dear Olde Dixie said it, yes has two syllables — "yeah es."

Startled, and amused, I asked, "Jennifer, how do you spell ‘yeah es.'"

A dozen years or so later, our Short Little Militant Sisler Kid would earn a full college scholarship. It did not surprise her proud papa, therefore, that she could spell at that early age. If you traditionally drive to Hatfud and pak your cah in the yadh, you may miss this one. Jennifer said, "Why ee es." Two syllables. Any questions?

Every morning before Jennifer goes to work, I get a hug and kiss. That has been going on for a number of years now. Before work, it was a hug and a kiss as she headed off to school. Lately the hugs have been longer and harder as the numbers above the TV have gotten smaller. You see, several weeks ago, Jennifer sat down at the computer and printed two sets of numbers, zero through nine, and started a countdown. She placed them on top of the entertainment center and changed the numbers downward every morning. A visual anticipation has started at me every time I watched TV. This morning, she flipped the last number over, and in a few hours we'll go to church where I will give her to a very special young man.

I imagine she'll say something like, "Let's go, Papa," she'll slip her small hand through my arm and we'll leave the bride's room together. George Allen Eastman will be waiting at the altar for us. The Reverend Bryan Matthews will ask, "Who gives this woman to be married to this man?"

With a voice clear and unwavering (I've been practicing, you see) I will reply, "With love, and with pride, her mother and I." And then my part in this over. A few minutes later Bryan will introduce Mr. and Mrs. Eastman to the congregation as a new home is formed at the altar of Almighty God.

The Bible says that because of marriage a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife and they two shall be one flesh. I wish the Good Book had something to say about Dads and daughters. Being a father is the best position a man can ever hold. But his daughter's wedding day is the price he pays for all of the joys of having a daughter.

Now, what was that about getting a computer room? Later.


Published in the Augusta Chronicle 10/3/98

Copyright 1998 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.

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