A toast to the marriage of the Chaddocks

Published 9:06 am Thursday, November 12, 2015

On a semi-regular basis, Mike, Frank, Nate, and I will join together for an after work gathering in Mike’s pole barn. We are just four guys who like to discuss what is right with the world, what is completely wrong with the world, and what changes we would make should someone ever decide to die and make one of us king.

On one occasion, Mike made the comment, “I went to dinner with this girl the other night, and she’s kinda nice.”

The obvious response to that comment was, “Humh,” — best described as a one syllable grunt punctuated with a slight upward nod of the head — the universal guy-code rejoinder that encompasses all meanings. It says nothing and means everything.

Interestingly, from that first encounter, Mike seemed to get just a little bit better, which is strange because neither Frank, Nate nor I thought that could happen.

A little time passed and Mike once again made the comment, “Remember that girl I took to dinner? Well, I’ve been seeing her sorta’ regular. She’s really, kinda’ nice.”

Again, our united response was, “Humh,” – still, just a one syllable grunt accompanied by a slight upward nod, but this time our heads had a noticeably quizzical tilt to the side.

Also again, Mike got just a little bit better, which was still not a condition that we thought could exist.

A little more time passed and Mike shared yet another reflection. “I’m thinking she just might be the one. She’s really, kinda’, amazingly nice.”

Our comment? “Hummmhhhhh,” — a drawn-out, but still single-syllabled grunt supplemented by a contemplative head lift that lingered on the up-swing.

You may not believe this, but Mike got just a little bit better that day, too. I know that Frank, Nate and I couldn’t understand any of it.

Time did what time does and a few more pole barn gatherings came and went. Eventually, Mike made the big comment, “I’m going to ask her to marry me. She’s great! I love her.”

This time our harmonized reaction was, “Hummmh-hhhhh,” — an enthusiastically controlled, two-syllabled grunt choreographed with multiple slow head lifts, followed by equally slow downward nods to the affirmative. As all guys will attest, this is the universal acknowledgement of guy-approval.

Amazingly, Mike got just a little bit better, all over again.

Laura and Mike Chaddock were wed on Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015. Frank, Nate, and I stood by Mike’s side.

Laura: On behalf of Frank, Nate, and myself, thank you for making Mike just a little bit better.

Laura and Mike (yes, buddy, that’s how it is going to be said from here on out): May your love and time together last for the rest of this lifetime and all of the next. Skoal.


Larry Wilson is a mostly lifelong resident of Niles. His optimistic “glass full to overflowing” view of life shapes his writing. His essays stem from experiences, compilations and recollections from friends and family. Wilson touts himself as “a dubiously licensed teller of tall tales, sworn to uphold the precept of ‘It’s my story; that’s the way I’m telling it.’” He can be reached at wflw@hotmail.com.