for Francesca on her wedding day I seem to be missing all the big ones lately - births and deaths and now another marriage. 'Scuse me while I shed a little tear for you, little sister - faraway n upside down in Oz, getting married in Balmain, by the water, on a
sunnyrainy summer's day - while I'm here stokin' the fire in Sweden where it's sunny but cold in a Bateman's Bay kind of way, wishing I was there. There's where the party's at, today at least. You know I'd never usually say no to that kind of celebration, in a nation I used to call home but which now seems strange, except for the fact that you're still in it, getting married, starting out on the kind of journey Carmen San Diego could only dream of. I was going to write you something witty for your special day, was going to try and sneak in some references to Scooby Doo, The Naked Gun, Top Secret and the rest, you know the drill. But then I felt that might come across as sort of naff, a kind of 'you had to be there' feeling, which would have been ironic, as I'm not. There, that is. 'I'm sorry I couldn't make it tonight ...' - as spoken by the voice in Val Kilmer's head, you know what I mean. I was going to try and throw in a few lines from Amy Vanderbilt's A Guide to Gracious Living as well, you know, the little snippets of helpful advice every bride is just dying to hear, about what to wear to a garden party, or how to conduct your- self on your wedding night. As if you need any advice on that! I'm sure you'll have a good one, that you'll manage (as granny used to say), to 'have a drink on me.' I bet you're missing her today, I know I am, and always will. But as I was saying, about helpful tidbits of advice. Amy Vanderbilt must have felt so sure of her- self in her everyday life, knowing what to do if a grape dropped down her cleavage, or what to say if some rear admiral or other uttered curse words at her dinner table, or even how to respond to wedding invitations when she knew, with regret, that she wouldn't be able to make it. On this matter Amy had a few more things to say, none of which are relevant to a day like today. Because today you're getting hitched, and so I just wanted to say "Hey, little sister, I wish I could be with you on this special day, with friends and family gathered around to celebrate what matters - love, trust and relationships, the things we usually, you know, kind of fail to appreciate properly, or srsly, if at all. And you know I'd write you a guide to gracious living if I thought you couldn't do a better job yourself, which you always have done, and which you'll continue to do. Just be you, be yrself, be everything you'd like to be and can, little sister, li'l sweet Fran." So if I had a megaphone that's what I'd say, I'd climb a small ladder and blare it out so you'd know: though i'm faraway i'll be thinking of you on your wedding day. Have a drink on me, your loving brother, Davey.