Dear Leo and Miller,
So it was your Auntie Jess’s wedding on Friday and all went well. I did the reading and everyone agreed it was the most beautiful letter and perfect for the occasion. Annoyingly (because I did know it word-for-word) I had to look down twice during the reading to check my place but I suppose that’s not too bad considering I had about 150 pairs of eyes on me. Including a bride and groom on the verge of tears. Not only was it well-received but it also made everyone lament that people don’t write letters anymore… Which has made me even more determined to see this project through. Or at least stick to a disciplined regime. Which I have decided is one letter per week of around 500/1000 words. At the very least.
I have started reading the book John Steinbeck: A Life in Letters (which admittedly I bought to give to Jess as an extra wedding present but decided I needed it right now more than her) to get my brain chugging and fill my mind with noble ideas and inspiring language. I have been absorbing too much rubbish recently: through hastily read trashy magazines and dreadful American reality TV. Both of which I love, but when they aren’t balanced out with anything decent, can start to make you feel a bit grimy and depressed.
You two weren’t invited to the wedding by the way. Don’t feel too despondent about this. It was so everyone could enjoy themselves without spending the whole time making sure their children weren’t breaking things or hurting themselves or running riot etc. The adults present did enough of that. But there was a big, child-friendly bash at a cricket club the next day and you were both there, in beautiful new outfits which stayed pristine for about 20 minutes before getting covered in cream cheese and grass stains.
It really was a wonderful wedding and exactly the wedding they both wanted: a massive party with some vows said in the middle. It’s a nice feeling to know that my sister is now happily married to someone she obviously adores and who she’s not going to get bored with (or he with her.) Because I think that might be the key to a happy marriage. Some other things are very important too but that’s a big one.
I could go on and on and on and tell you so much more about the wedding but you will hear stories and see photos (there are a lot of photos) and hear more stories… for a long time to come. What I will say is that if either of you are ever asked to give a reading or a speech at an event like a wedding, always say yes. Unless you turn out to be crippled with anxiety about public speaking (like your father) I strongly recommend that you take the opportunity to play a part in an important day of someone you love. I nearly backed out of reading at my Grandfather’s funeral when I was about 22 and I’m so glad I didn’t because you’ve carried out an important service and people are grateful and thankful and remember you for it. I spent a good four weeks learning the Steinbeck letter off by heart and recited it so much to you two that Leo – you started asking for a “Dear Thom” whenever we set off anywhere in the buggy. But the feeling afterwards was worth the nerves and I won’t deny that I basked in all the following glory. It’s a proper sense of achievement and also, it doesn’t hurt your confidence to be told by your supernaturally intelligent cousins that they could never do anything like that.