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By James Needham Groom (b. 1911 - )

Making a talk is always difficult for a layman, but for a Texan with a strong Texas accent, to make himself understood to people with a different accent is even more difficult. To show how a different pronunciation of a word changes the meaning altogether, I’ll tell you what happened yesterday. I stopped in a filling station to have my car serviced and the attendant, after filling my gas tank, asked me How’s your oil?". I said pretty good, How are you all?

Cynthia asked me to say a few words at her wedding reception and I agreed because there are only two things she could ask of me that I wouldn’t quickly agree to. These are murder and treason, and I wouldn’t rule them out, only I would have to think about it for a little while.

To help us understand why she would ask a super-anuated grand uncle to make a little speech on one of the three most important days of her life, I will use a quote from Sir Francis Bacon

"Out of monuments, names, words, proverbs, traditions, private records and evidences, fragments of stories, passages of books and the like, we do save and recover somewhat from the deluge of time"

I’ll try to use some of this quote to see what brought Cynthia to this, her wedding day.

Horse breeders say that a majority of foal’s characteristics are inherited from the dame. If this is true of horses, it applies to humans. I’ll tell you something of Cynthia’s female lineage. The first of these, to my personal knowledge was Suzanna Parker, wife of James Tucker Parker. They were married prior to his going away to fight for the south in the civil war. He was wounded and left for dead in a corn field in the battle of Chinka Magee. The Yanks found him, treated him and kept him as a P.O.W. until Lee’s surrender. Suzanna was notified by the Rebel Army that James was killed in action, but she never lost hope that they were somehow mistaken. After the war was over, she was setting on the front porch with her in-laws when they saw a ragged, bearded, dirty Johnny Reb limping slowly down the road. She cried "Here comes James!" Her father-in-law said "Ho, James is dead". She said "Dead or alive, Here comes James!"

So Suzanna waited for her man through the war, rode in a covered wagon from Tennessee to Texas, made a home, cooked, washed, ironed and raised most of the family food in a vegetable garden. She bore seven children, educated them, and out lived James by 25 years.

One of her daughters was Callie, who married a school-teacher-preacher who was so completely absorbed in his studies that it fell Callie’s lot to make his small salary stretch to feed and clothe their four children. Callie only lived twenty-four years, but in that short time, she showed her daughters what courage and faithfulness could mean to their lives.

Callie’s second daughter is Cynthia’s grandmother, Loma, who was only seven years old when she lost her Mother. This same Teacher-Preacher father was left with four children, the oldest of whom was nine. So without a Mother, a Father who took little notice of her, she grew up, graduated Salutatorian of the largest High School in Fort Worth. She went on to the University and received her B.A. and M.A. degrees. She raised her daughter, Jeanie by herself. I could continue for an hour about her, but this isn’t her wedding day.

Most of you know Cynthia’s mother. Jeanie Miller. For those of you who don’t know her, she is something special. Generous, loving, kind, with a wit to match anyone’s. She raised her two children in a home full of love, humor, music, discipline and sound morals.

I have heard that what you are depends on where you came from. Cynthia comes from a long line of loyal, energetic, intelligent women, who raised their children with a strong morality and a secure and safe haven for their husbands. This is the very backbone of civilization. This is why we comb our hair, eat with knives and forks, brush our teeth and watch our language in polite company. Without the strong woman who are great ladies, life would be considerably less for all of us.

Old age doesn’t bring wisdom to everyone, but it does bring opinions, so while I have you here, I am going to lay a few on you. Being infatuated or in love will get you married, but liking each other will keep your marriage going. Trying to maintain the macho or sultry siren image can get to be awfully tiring. The nicer and kinder you can be to each other will outweigh all the great love scenes in the long run.

Cynthia, on her wedding day is beautiful, but don’t let how beautiful she looks blind you to how beautiful she is. A thing to remember is that as she grows older, and the lines form around her eyes, and her neck skin hangs a little loosely, your eyes weaken at the same time so that you won’t see these things and she’ll be just as beautiful fifty years from now as she is today.

I am sure Keats or Shakespeare said something appropriate for this occasion, but an old English Folk Song says it perfectly, I think.

"That the fervor and faith of a soul can be known
to which time can make thee more dear
Thou wouldst still be adored as this moment thou art
Let thy loveliness fade as it will
But around it dear runs each wish of my heart
will entwine itself verdantly still."
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