wonderlanded: (loving pen and cricket)
[personal profile] wonderlanded
My brother got married yesterday.

Thanks to everyone for your comments on the speech. Below is what Dad read -- with what was from all accounts cracking delivery. Dad is good that way. My mother, my sister-in-law and most of my mothers' friends cried, or so James tells me.

I spoke to him while he was at the reception. He said, "Iss, we've got another Fox. Our plan for world domination goes unchecked!'. He then said that the ceremony was everything he thought a girl could ever want, and that's all he wanted because he just wants Krissy to be happy.

Here is what Dad read, from the sister-on-the-other-side-of-the-world:

To my brother on his wedding day:

I was not, at first, entirely convinced by the idea of having a little brother. If my comfortable reign as Queen of the World was going to be upset, I thought that the usurper could at least have the decency to be a sister.

I am very glad that it wasn't a sister, but instead a brother we called Cricket.

While I was not always a very nice sister, all my early memories are of things you and I did together -- of Two Little Boys and their Two Little Toys, of stamping out fires started by a slightly overzealous pyromaniac and carefully not telling Mum about it afterwards; of later discovering that pyromania is inherited through the male line; of being at the farm playing in matching pyjamas and gumboots; of using you as a human shield against angry cattle during branding,

You were a long-suffering cast member in whatever theatrical extravaganza I happened to be producing in the back garden -- a hospital patient wrapped in green crepe paper, Boy George, a barbie doll, an escaped lunatic, a blind convict, and your most memorable peformance as a dog -- in a play in which the role of my brother was played by a Dalmatian.

You were, contrarily an immensely gentle boy with an awesome capacity for destruction. If asked to describe you then in one phrase, I would have to go with 'he liked to whack things'.

We each have our clearest memory of your creativity in this field. Mum's is the time a can of shaving cream was left where you could get at it, and the house was tranformed into a winter wonderland of foam. Our grandmother counts it in the number of times she had to buy a new aerial for her car after you snapped it off. Dad's is undoubtedly the time he found you cleaning his black MG with a wire brush until it shone a dull steel colour that pleased you very much

For me, I remember the day Douglas was born very clearly, not because of the aqcuisition of a brother we were calling Margaret, but because of the fuss when Nonnie discovered the carnage wrought as you had neatly decapitated every single plant in her tenderly nurtured garden.

It must have been about two years later that Dad had perhaps the finest moment in a life strewn with achievement, as he looked from a paddock full of thistles in bloom to a small boy who was whacking a fencepost with a stick, and thought, 'Hang about...'. You and the stick were dispatched down the paddock, and a lifelong passion for thistle-bashing was born.

Aside from dismembered Barbie dolls and broken Hills Hoists, I remember many, many books. I remember The Three Billy Goats Gruff, the father-son equivalent of the Battle of Waterloo. I remember reading books onto tape for our grandfather in New Guinea, so that he too could also enjoy the wonders of The Wump World, a charming story that saw a new record set at Toowoomba Library for the most number of times a book could be borrowed by a devoted small boy. I particularly remember bedtime, when Dad read to us all seven of The Chronicles of Narnia, books I always associate with warmth, Dad, and my brothers. Mum was, very sadly, banished from reading the books to us at bedtime because you thought she made the voices too exciting, and you couldn't get to sleep afterwards. I trust you have stayed awake as Dad reads this.

I remember frosty mornings at Gold Park shivering in a westerly watching the Under 6s play footy. I particularly remember the day you got your hands on the ball, sprinted up the field, and stood in touch looking puzzled as to what to do next until another kid caught up to you and said 'give us the ball, Fox'. You handed over the ball and the kid made the try. That kid may well be one of the guests here today, because my brother is the most steadfast and loyal of friends.

You have a reputation, too, as a willing receptacle for a guilt trip. When I was little and was asked what my father did, I answered 'My daddy is a liar'. 'Lawyer' is a dificult word for small tongues. When you were asked that question, you gave a more detailed answer: "My daddy goes to work every day so that we can live."

I remember getting lost in Tasmania with you, and the look on your face when you had run over a mountain, run back, and told me 'Penny, I just saw the bloody car.' I remember the seven-hour walk that followed, too. I ask your forgiveness for that, but I'd point out that I was right when I refused to let you die there because in your words 'you'd had a good life and done everything you wanted to do'. Because you hadn't done this.

I am, personally, in awe of the relationship the two of you have built. What you are doing here today is the natural extension of the lives you have built for yourselves, and I know that you will make each other very happy in the years ahead.

To Krissy, I say three things:

First, if you ever have a son, tell him that another little boy wants to read the library book so he can't borrow it for the thirty-second time.
Second, if you have that son, and he and James come back from the farm singed and soot-stained, it's best to turn a blind eye. Remember that pyromania is a male Fox trait and there's nothing you can do about it.
And third, my brother wrote a letter to his Year 3 teacher at the end of the year, and told her that 'my mum and my dad think you are the best teacher that I have ever had, and do you know I think that she and he are right'. Krissy -- my brother thinks you are the nicest girl he ever saw, and do you know, I think that he is definitely right.

To James, I have only the last words from the last pages of a book that will always and always make me think of you: "The term is over, the holidays have begun; the dream is over, this is the morning."

This is the morning of the holidays of your life.

I can't be with you today, but I will never go to Narnia without you. I hope you take your family there too one day.

With all my love, Issy.
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February 2010

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