You never can tell

For Your Consideration

Peter CavanaughJuly 23, 2013 

"It was a teenage wedding and the old folks wished them well. You could see that Pierre did truly love the Madamoiselle."

"You Never Can Tell" — Chuck Berry — 1963.

You can't buy it where they make it. Lynchburg, Tennessee is the home of Jack Daniels, distilling fine bourbon whiskey by the billions of barrels, but it's in Moore County. That's been dry since way before Prohibition.

A bit north of Lynchburg is Cookeville, about 80 miles east of Nashville, where our oldest granddaughter, Katherine, was married on Saturday to a handsome young second lieutenant named Patrick. He'll be heading off to flight school in just a few weeks.

I've known Katherine for almost 21 years, holding her in my arms that first day she was born on Dec. 20, 1992. She was baptized in a fine Irish Christening gown Eileen and I brought from Killarney a short time before for just such purpose. In the years that followed as she began to ever so magically enter early childhood, the enchanted "Riverdance" unexpectedly exploded from a Dublin stage into the global phenomenon it became, reviving traditional Irish music and dance from modern cultural obscurity to unparalleled prominence — lifting both to world renown.

Following my presentation suggestions with proper precision, Katherine would patiently hide behind the living room couch biding her time as I would elaborately initiate her introduction in my announcer voice to an imagined audience bubbling with anticipation. As opening strains of "The Countess Cathleen" filled the room with fiddles and flutes, I would continue my recitation of exaggerated hyperbole until a specifically selected instant, at which point 2-year-old Katherine would leap into sight with electrified launch and River Dance in joyous abandon exactly as did Jean Butler in the original production.

I was most honored when Katherine called several weeks ago and asked if I might assist her in preparing music for both her wedding ceremony and the reception to follow. And so it was that extra tears flowed when she appeared in dazzling view, hitting that exact cue once again — but this time slowly and gently gliding down the aisle like the most graceful of beautiful swans accompanied by her wonderful father, Paul.

Katherine and Patrick had scripted everything out with acute attention to every tiny detail. "Riverdance" selections with 10 edited tunes from George Clooney's highly eclectic "O Brother Where Art Thou?" was surely creatively brilliant and was accompanied by outstanding visual elements, further elaboration upon which must await some future time. Suffice it to observe that "Blue Grass" music directly evolved from its native Scotch/Irish origins in the hills and valleys of early Appalachian settlement. I'm quite proud that Katherine knew this and figured out a way to combine both in theme and execution.

Shifting mood, her reception following lunch started with Chuck Berry's early Rock & Roll classic, "You Never Can Tell," then rocked right along, virtually offering every form of contemporary tunes right up through today.

At the entrance to the Cookeville Town Center, wedding guests were confronted with a large, down-home, hand-lettered sign which simply read, "Today two families become one, so pick a seat — not a side."

That immediately brought to mind my colleague, Alan Cheah's "For Your Consideration" column from last week's Sierra Star, which I had just read before leaving the hotel.

As mentioned previously, we have never found need to read each other's words until actually published, an excellent approach which has proven most viable in our collaborative effort — great minds thinking alike.

Alan's basic theme was that, despite basic differences in fundamental political persuasion, there is every reason to discover common ground in oppositional positions wherever found and act collectively toward better times in mutual best interest. I herein echo those sentiments.

It just might work.

Whenever we can, let's agree to agree.

You never can tell.

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