The property itself is gorgeous, its topography something of an oddity to most of the greater Columbus area. Covered in what I later learned was Kentucky Blue Grass, it seems the perfect place to breed and/or train Kentucky Derby-winning horses. Which they do. Which, I also learned later.
Just like I later learned that it was owned by the Galbreath family. Unfamiliar as I am with the world of horse racing, I had no idea that John Galbreath was involved in it, nor that he was from Ohio and later lived in the Columbus area. However, I most certainly do know that Galbreath owned the Pittsburgh Pirates, my favorite baseball team, from 1945 to 1985, a period in which they won three World Series Championships. Like driving to a Pittsburgh Pirates museum that is oddly three-plus hours from Pittsburgh, I was in heaven, looking at all the memorabilia. Somewhere at home I have the Pittsburgh Press article that was proudly displayed in one glass case, showing my childhood hero, Willie “Pops” Stargell, running to leap onto his teammates’ celebratory pile.
Funny how something so far from my own home could instantly transport me back to the time and place of my youth.
I glanced away from the display case and saw Dave Asman, father of the bride, walking back toward the guests, his eyes awash in nostalgia and joy, and I realized the direct similarity.
Dave might never have been to Darby House either, but now, surrounded by his family and old friends, as well as the new family and the new friends he was gaining from the groom, Dave was spinning backwards in time, seeing his little Kristen playing dress-up as a princess, bride, or both. Then, like some sort of Space Mountain, in-the-dark rollercoaster, being shot forward again and watching her grow up too fast in time-lapse. Dave, both literally and figuratively her own “Pops,” was escorting his little girl down the aisle toward this huge moment, almost as unsure how he’d gotten there as I was unsure how I was surrounded by Pirates memorabilia on a Kentucky Horse Farm in the middle of Ohio.
The reception itself was great fun. People danced and partied all night making us feel proud of every note we put out there. When we were requested to play “Bust A Move,” one certain guest (and then a few more) quite literally did just that—and, just me talking here—when Kevin O’Neill, our phenomenal sax player, nails the rap in that song spot-on, it’s all I can do to not sprain my jaw from smiling so much.
Often in these blogs, I describe these weddings as the bride and groom’s special day. Moreover, we all know the storied role of the Mother of the Bride, but this time, I want to give a shout-out to Pops. Today, my heart is with Dave Asman, a long-time friend of the band, both because he stalwartly made it through his speech and father/daughter dance without breaking down, and, because this is his second daughter to get married this year! That should qualify Dave (and Jerri) for some sort of national award, I think.
My heart is with all the Pops who see their little ones speed from 3-year-old in a prince or princess costume to beaming groom or bride, walking down the aisle. My heart is still with Pops Stargell, who was the ultimate role model for anyone to see that a sports legend can indeed a down-to-earth, humble human being. Pops Stargell beamed every time the Pirates’ 1979 theme song of “We Are Family” blared out of the Three Rivers Stadium speakers. Every parent at every wedding we’ve played has beamed about their family the same way.
My heart is with my own Pop, and all of yours too. Next time you think of him, remember that he too has had to watch your infancy and childhood speed by like a train with no brakes, yet somehow, he still smiles when thinking about it. Pops can be pretty great that way.