A Guide to Gracious Living

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 sunny rainy 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. 

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