Dance, Dance, Dance

Someone recently wrote a ‘Large Man Chronicle’ about a wedding. I’m pretty sure it was me.

Since that wedding, I have ministered another one, and it was amazing as well. And now I think I’m addicted. Hello, my name is The Large Man, and I’m a joy junkie.

This is a new condition for me. Instead of focusing on joy, most of my life has been about grudges, bitterness, and animosity. Those emotional reactions take MUCH less time than consideration, forgiveness and understanding. I can become angry and bitter in a matter of micro-seconds… and I can hold on to those emotions for years. It’s AWESOME! But kindness and understanding can take me a couple of minutes to germinate and grow… and then those feelings become quite fleeting. They usually escape me by the next time I see Peyton Manning in a commercial.

Love, joy, and general celebration are things I’m going to seek out on a more regular basis. I’m even considering being a participant in random acts of kindness and being more considerate of people going through personal hardships.  I’m having thoughts about leaning towards forgiveness and understanding and away from grudges, bitterness, and animosity. It’s going to be a struggle for me, but I feel like the Universe is pushing me in that direction.

This new Large Man revelation is born from the fact that I haven’t attended a lot of weddings in the last several years, so attending, and helping with the ceremony, sorta augments and personalizes all the accompanying goodness of the event.  However, in the last several years, I have had a lot of arguments and confrontations, been a victim of crime, watched a lot of ‘Yellowstone’, been called bad names, gotten some speeding tickets… and have been generally pissed off… a lot. Furthermore, although there haven’t been many weddings, I have been to quite a few funerals and “Celebrations of Life”. It’s a bad ratio.

I’ve written about this before, but yeah, that ratio needs to change… the weddings a person attends should outnumber funerals they attend by at least three to one. That should be some kind of federal law. Nobody dances at funerals. In moments of anger, a lot of people say, “I will dance at their funeral!”, but I’ve never seen anybody actually do it.

I’ve never seen anybody dance at a Celebration of Life, either. Probably because it’s awkward, and usually the people at the celebration are old; bad hips, bad knees, messed up or missing teeth, bad breath, incontinence, and all that other stuff that affect us once we hit 35. Old people don’t dance very well. I know I don’t. But still… if you think about it, if it’s called a “Celebration”, we should ignore all our physical maladies, and we should probably dance. I went to one of those a few months ago, and I know for a FACT, that the person we were celebrating would have loved it if we danced.

I’m giving all my Large Man Chronicle fans permission, today, RIGHT NOW; when I am a heap of ashes in a faded blue Adidas shoebox, or a rusty old Maxwell House coffee can, if you happen to be in the vicinity of whatever Mrs. Large Man and the Large Kids decide to do, I want you to dance. No matter what it’s called: a funeral, a Bon Voyage, a Good Riddance Event, or a Celebration of Life… please dance. Turns out, dancing is fun! Somehow, I’ve forgotten about that.

At my death event, I want someone to play ‘Let’s Get it On’ by Marvin Gaye, followed up by ‘Dim All the Lights’ by Donna Summer. That will start y’all out nice and slow to warm up those joints, but then you’ll finish strong with a nice & easy, but still butt shaking fast song. I want you to put those walkers and canes in the corner and get friggin’ jiggy!! Metaphorically speaking, all of my lights will have been dimmed, so Donna Summers’ greatest tune will be apropos.

What songs would you want played at your Celebration? Please reply in the comment section, because I want to build a set list.

I think one of the things about dancing is that it creates joy by a kind of osmosis. Even if you’re not dancing, watching other people dance makes one happy… or at least it should. I didn’t dance at the last two weddings I attended (except for the slow jams), because of old football injuries and my shitty outlook on life and humanity at the time. (Like I said earlier, though, I’m making some changes). But even with sore joints and a bad attitude, I still truly enjoyed watching my wife and all the other moms out there shaking their grove thang to AC/DC, Def Leppard, Shania and all the “rump shakers” of their youth.

The kids (“young adults” is more respectful and a better descriptor, but they’re always gonna be kids to me) all danced to their current, more hip hop leaning jams, and once that started, they stayed on the floor all night… both weddings. It was cool. The energy, fun and the laughter and the JOY… and the CELEBRATION was as infectious as the Ebola virus with almost none of those troublesome and annoying internal bleeding symptoms and fatalities. It’s been too long since I’ve been in a gaggle of that much positive and joyful energy. I can’t even remember the last time… had to be during the Johnson administration.

To be honest, I never really liked dancing, even when I was young, handsome, and flexible… or at least when I was young. Back then, I danced a lot. My friends and I hung out at dance clubs in those days because that was the best way to meet girls, and even though I did not particularly care for dancing, I liked meeting girls, so I made the sacrifice.

Dancing back then was a mating ritual, as pure in nature (although much less graceful) as the dancing that swans do during mating season. I’m pretty sure swans mate for life, so I wonder if like after the fifth or sixth year, they dance a little less passionately. The (new) romantic in me hopes that’s not the case, and now, the new dancer in me will be looking for it! If I see the swans slacking off, I’m gonna put on some AC/DC, ‘Shook Me All Night Long’ and inspire them to seek out the joy of their spring ritual… to celebrate life, and their love, and just dance, dance, dance!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you Large Man readers! I’m thankful that you give me a voice.

Big Love & See you next year!

The Blair Hitch Project

A little over a year ago, two of my favorite people got engaged. A little less than a year ago, those two engaged & favorite people dialed me up on a Facetime call and asked me to perform their wedding ceremony. Of course, I said, “Of course!” An exclamation point at the end of my quoted reply does not properly describe my enthusiasm. I was overjoyed, I was deeply touched, and I was honored that these two amazing young people would want me to be even a small part of their story. Steffen Blair, and Bailey (Dilks) Blair asked me to be the Officiant for:

The Blair Hitch Project.


A little history…

I met Bailey Dilks in the summer of 2008, she was ten or eleven years old, and lived in the house across the street from where my family had just moved. We lived there for twelve years. Bailey’s father became one of my best friends, our families became very close…and for whatever reason, Bailey and I developed a very special & kindred relationship. I wasn’t really “Uncle” Large Man, but it was something like that. As Bailey became an adult, her crude humor, her deep passion for her cares and interests, and her joy for life, strengthened that connection.

Steffen came into the picture a little bit later. Steffen is an artist. He thinks like an artist, he speaks like an artist, he behaves like a romantic… he’s a quiet, purposeful, renaissance man. Even though he’s young enough to be my third cousin, whenever I spend time with him, I always feel like learn something. Most of all, when I see Steffen, I see his kindness.

As kids, Steffen & Bailey got into a little trouble when they were caught having a smooch in the hallway in middle school. Who knew that that was (sorta) the beginning of something so beautiful? Years later, I was privileged to watch this special relationship bud, and then grow into a heartwarming little love story. I got to witness it from across the street, and I was able to hear about it from proud parents, and that’s how I got the privilege of performing the inevitable wedding ceremony.


So, plans were made, scripts were written, and then re-written, and then massaged. Vows were written, dresses of dusty sage & suits of steel blue were acquired. I would be adorned in a contrasting but complimenting golden flax 3-piece linen suit, with a floral tie that accented both the bridal party and the groomsmen’s colors. Seating arrangements, music, processionals, recessionals, DJ’s, flowers, plans, plans, and then MORE plans! And then, like we knew it would, the third weekend in August finally arrived, and it was GO TIME for The Blair Hitch Project.

A little foreshadowing…

This is no secret, but I’m an emotional guy. When I feel things, I feel them deeply… both bad and good. I hold grudges for life, without parole. But thankfully, I remember acts of kindness, humanity, and love forever as well. I don’t think this level of emotional depth is healthy in any way. There are so many times I look back at incidents, situations, and even simple conversations where I wish I was better able to contain & control my feelings. It’s almost always a struggle for me, emotions will get the best of me, at least once a week. It ain’t easy being me, but one must learn to accept who and what they are.

As the plans, plans, and more plans were in process, the subject of The Large Man being able to hold it together, was brought up more than a few times. This was fair.  But I assured Steffen and Bailey that I would be okay, because I knew with everyone else’s wedding day emotions flying around, that someone was going to need to be the rock that the two of them could stand on. It was my job to be that rock, and I took the job very seriously. I told them both, straight to their faces, in a planning meeting in the kitchen of their recently purchased, and future marital home, that they, “…didn’t need to worry”, and that I would be “okay”.

Each word of that assurance left my lips in slow motion because I knew each word was its own individual lie. The words joined together and created a huge lie. Because I’m me.

I cried when Charlie Sheen’s character, Wild Thing, walked to the mound in the climax scene in ‘Major League’. So now, I’m gonna be expected to hold it together while I watch Bailey walk down the aisle?

This whole idea was completely irresponsible.

Let’s unpack this a little. Shall we?

The music is gonna start, and Bailey will begin her journey down the aisle, and I will look at Steffen looking at her, and he’s gonna glaze up a little, and I’m going to reflect on the boy I first met, and the man that’s standing in front of me now. Then I’ll look back down the aisle towards Bailey, and there will be her parents, two of my most cherished friends, and I’ll see the joy, the pride, the love, in their eyes, and in 5 seconds I’ll relive every emotional moment we’ve ever had together. All of this will be happening in front of my wife and my children who will be looking at me with such pride, appreciation, and love, and then I’ll wish my mom could have seen this too. And then…as if all that’s not enough… AND THEN … I’ll shift my eyes to Bailey, and she’ll look at me and she’ll smile that smile that always greets me with love, friendship, (a little mischief) and joy… that smile that is more vibrantly layered and textured and a million times more valuable than a $1,000 bottle of Pinot. AND THEN… I’ll be “the rock” they can all stand on.

No, I won’t.

On Seinfeld, the George Costanza character famously quoted, “Just remember, it’s not a lie, if you believe it.” I was going to have to be like George. I was going to have to believe the lie. I had to make that lie my truth… and be the rock.

I was overjoyed that my grown ass kids were going to be at the wedding as well. We rendezvoused at Casa de Large Man on Friday morning, and made the journey to our former hometown, the place where my babies grew up. It had been a few years since we moved away, and we hadn’t been back as a team since the move was made.

As we were loading up the car, my son asked me if I was nervous. I replied with this impromptu & earnest speech:

“Son, let me tell you something about your ol’ man, I don’t get nervous. I don’t let moments or events become bigger than me. Is this an unbelievable honor? You bet. Am I excited? Absolutely! But Bailey & Steffen need me to keep this thing on track, this is a huge moment for them, and I need to be invisible. It can’t look like it’s too big for me. I can’t be nervous… I can’t be emotional… for them. I’ll be fine.”

When I finished that little soliloquy, I thought to myself, Damn! That was Good! I thought, there’s my mantra for the next 48 hours, maybe not the whole freaking speech, but the “invisible” part, hell yeah!

So, with that resolution in place, I closed the hatch on our SUV, we were loaded up & heading north! The rehearsal dinner was at 5:00, we would get there about 3 hours early, connect with friends, and nothing was going to shake this Large Man, this rock.

We gathered at the wedding venue; the backyard of Steffen’s grandparent’s home. The grounds were a lush green, the bridesmaids and groomsmen were milling about… the chatter and laughter of friends and family filled the warm summer air. It was a total “joy vibe”.

There were sound guys working, there was a musician going over the timing and starts and stops. Mrs. Large Man was the tournament director, she would put people in their respective places, get the ushers to ush, and have the bridesmaids maid. She would make sure they all walked in proper sequence. It all came together as one would hope, and once we had the choreography worked out, we ran through our first full rehearsal of the processional.

It went GREAT… well, for the most part. Everyone got to their proper spots, and Steff & Bai were in front of me, all smiles. We were using a proximity microphone, so it would pick up the sound of my voice and the bride and groom respectively. To get things set, I was asked to start with the beginning of our wedding script.

“Ladies and gentlemen, welcome! Welcome to the wedding of …Ste…welc…hmmmm” and then I broke. I could not finish the first f-ing sentence of the ceremony script before I choked up and could not speak. Looking back at it, I’m reminded of the Allan Iverson rant about practice:

We’re not talking about the wedding! We’re talkin’ about practice! Not the WEDDING! NOT THE WEDDING! We’re talking about REHEARSAL, MAN! We’re talkin’ about PRACTICE! AND I CAN’T DO IT! PRACTICE, MAN! THIS IS JUST PRACTICE!

Oh, it gets better.

Kelsey, the awesomely amazing younger sister of Bailey, and the Maid of Honor, obviously right next to me, sees my seizure, and says, “Oh no! Shit! Really? Are you gonna be able to do this?”

Did I mention the proximity mic? Yeah, the microphone picked that up too. And all I heard was, “Shit! Really?” echoing off the other houses in the neighborhood (and the church next door!!) “SHIT Shit shit …..”

I gathered myself. I wiped a single tear and I soldiered on. It was just practice.

Then Kelsey lost it in the next run through. Then a few bridesmaids were overcome… and a few parents. The emotions shifted from love and joy, to laughter, and then back again. It was the best! It is the Large Man’s opinion that tears of joy or laughter are some of life’s most precious gifts. I don’t know of anything more genuine or pure. It was sweet, it was funny, and it was lovely. And it was just practice!

Frankly, I’m not sure I want to be at a wedding (or a practice) that goes off without a hitch, and I damn well KNOW I don’t want to be part of a wedding where everyone can keep their emotions in check. Those emotions should be too big to contain.

After four run throughs, and some adjustments, the rehearsal was called complete. We had a wonderful dinner. We laughed about the day. We were ready. (Not really)

Saturday came. The music played. We all made that journey down the aisle. And, proudly, with only a few choked up moments, we made it through the ceremony. There was a LOT of misty eye action, but nobody broke. When Steff & Bai exchanged the vows they had written for each other, was the hardest part for me. The two people in front of me were not the little kids I had met so many years ago. These were 2 grown up best friends who could not imagine a life without each other. This was a man and a woman who loved each other as purely and as deeply as possible, and that love radiated right in front of me.

That moment was definitely bigger than me. And yet, I get to keep that moment and hold it in my heart for the rest of my life.

And then they kissed. And now, they will live happily ever after.

So, there you have it! The Large Man performed a wedding. It all happened on August 20th, 2022… The Blair Hitch Project. Steffen Blair & Bailey Dilks became Mr. & Mrs. Steffen & Baily Blair, and I was the first person to officially (and tearfully…a little) introduce them! And then, as if all that wasn’t enough, we got to dance! Dancing is fun.

Thank you for reading! I hope you enjoyed it as much as I loved telling the tale. I miss this!

It doesn’t take a whole lot to impress me these days, and that’s very different from how I used to be. I remember a time when acts of violence, hostile dialog, and even simple elevated confrontations, between people in a public place were remarkable, and at least mildly shocking. I certainly noticed it, and I think most of us did. I also remember when random acts of kindness were so common, they sorta slipped under the radar. Human decency and respectful dialog were simply the standards of behavior we expected and lived by.

Well, things have changed. Sadly, I’ve kinda gotten used to it.

When ‘The Large Man Chronicles’ started, 13 years and 103 posts ago, I wrote about funny and remarkable things that I thought were “commentary worthy”. Things that I witnessed in my travels. I loved watching people navigate the ins and outs of their working days. Flight delays & cancellations, rental cars that were reserved but not there, hotel room fiascos, food poisoning, weather nightmares…even simple jet lag and the weariness of being on the road… all of it was interesting to me, and based on the feedback, it was interesting to my readers as well. Watching our fellow humans trying to earn a living to support a family was relatable to us. I lived it… I still am living it…and I still love it. So, I enjoyed sharing these things with you.

I got a kick out of watching parents soothing their “last nerve” as they endured the struggle of traveling with young children. I enjoyed it because I lived that too. I appreciated it because I could see that conflict of frustration that borders on “hair fire” anger, against the love that borders on nothing you’ve ever really understood before. Again, I loved being in the audience, because I loved being the character in that play not so many years prior. I didn’t know I loved it at the time I was going through it, but luckily, even then, I knew I would be able to look back at these frustrating moments and smile…and I do. The convergence of frustration and unconditional love when it comes to the love of our children is why humanity survives…unconditional love almost always wins. I guess airport security cameras have little to do with the survival thing too.

But it is different now. Things have changed and moved in a direction that truly worries me, because I just don’t know how we rechart this course. We now have a convergence, a hot pot if you will, of political correctness against outright anger, spiced up with indulgence and entitlement (from my lens, across the board, not just our youth) with seemingly no desire to find common ground.  We are seasoning this “hot pot” with anger, indifference, entitlement, and indulgence, and we are leaving empathy, understanding, respect, and dignity on the spice rack. It’s cooking up a nasty tasting stew.

It is a straight-up BUMMER that outrageously rude behavior doesn’t really surprise me anymore.

But … on the other hand…occasionally, I get a little hope.

TWO STORIES…8 Days Apart

Story 1… Bummer:

The Large Man is on a flight from KC, connecting in Nashville, then headed home after a long and dreary week. I’m back in “pre-COVID 19” traveling mode. I miss my wife, my kids, my obnoxious dog…and I’m a bit cranky. But I’m so full of kindness and light, even a cranky Large Man is mostly a joy to be around. I open doors for ALL people, I thank uniformed military men & women for their service, I smile at people who make eye contact with me…and my smile is so bright and full of Large love for humanity, they see it even with my mask covering my mouth (AND NOSE!! Because, really?). My point: While I’m not in my best headspace, I still feel an obligation to kindness.

But then this happened…

Three lovely, enthusiastic, dressed to party ladies, stop by row 18 on Southwest Airlines’ flight to Nashville. It is early on a Saturday morning, when I should be snuggled up next to Mrs. Large Man and considering waffles, pancakes, omelets, or breakfast burritos, because Saturday is cheat day…but I’m not…I’m in row 18 on a Southwest flight from Kansas City to Nashville. I’m in the aisle seat with two empty seats next to me.

The leader of this terrorist organization of 3 tells me that she is going to need me to move so the three of them can sit together, because they are going to Nashville for a bachelorette party, and there are no more empty rows on the plane, pretty much only middle seats.

And I quote:

“Sir, can you take your headphones off, so we can talk?”

I comply…with a fully masked smile…remove my headphones, and reply, “What’s up?”

“I’m gonna need you to move to one of these middle seats so me and my girlfriends can sit together for this one’s bachelorette party.” She said this with her own smile that was visible behind her bedazzled mask, as she pointed her thumb over her shoulder at her pre-wedded traveling companion.

Before I share my reply, please understand three (3) things:

1) I was not asked to move, I was told, “I’m gonna need you to move”.

2) These were three (3) grown ass women, none of whom I am currently sleeping with or share family with. They were not traveling with a family, small children, elderly people, or persons with special needs. To quote Sam Cooke, they were “…having a party, and everybody was swingin’, dancing to the music on the radio”.

3) Southwest has a program called “Earlybird” where one can reserve early boarding privileges for $20. I know the program is available on flights from Kansas City to Nashville, because I was a current participant.


I replied, “No, thanks. I’m gonna stay here. I paid the Earlybird premium so I could have an aisle seat. Two of you are welcome to sit in these seats”, as I point with my thumb over my shoulder at the middle and window seats in row 18, “…and one of you can sit in the middle seat right there.” (Row 17) “It’s only about an hour flight.”

“I can’t believe you won’t move! What an a-hole!”, was her retort. Except she used the real word… I’m continuing to try and clean up LMC language, even though it’s not true to my nature.

I replied with a sincere, “I’m sorry, I paid for this and I prefer an aisle. Also, to properly ask, you should have said, ‘My girlfriends and I’, not ‘me and my girlfriends’ and then you should have asked, and not just told me what you needed me to do. Some simple etiquette would have gone a long way.”, and then I put my headphones back on and listened to the haunting voice of Susan Tedeschi sing ‘Midnight in Harlem’. But in the background, beyond the magic of noise cancellation technology, I heard the good people in my general vicinity give a light round of applause. It was a nice validation.

Had I been asked nicely; I probably would have moved. I think I would have moved. Maybe.

Story 2… Hope:

It’s 8 days later, and I am not cranky; I am angry. It is a Sunday morning, it’s early, my kids were in town and at home. Pancakes were on the breakfast menu, and Mrs. Large Man makes the best pancakes in America, probably the world. I had been home less than 48 hours, and I’m back at the airport. Did I mention that it was Sunday?

I plop my angry ass in seat 24D on an American Airlines flight to DFW. As the plane fills up, I become a little hopeful because seat 24E remains empty, so a buffer seat on a non-stop 3-hour flight was looking hopeful. That’s like winning the lottery! Well, it’s actually nothing like winning the lottery, but the little comforts, like an empty seat next to you on a long plane ride, are awesome.

Just as I start to get comfortable and feel the twinges of smile muscles starting to flex, it’s déjà vu all over again. Two beautiful young ladies are hovering over me and my aisle seat in row 24.

Here we go…

“Sir, my daughter and I are in 2 different rows. We had to book this flight at the last minute, and I only had that middle seat”, the one next to me, “and the seat behind it available. I know it’s a lot to ask, but would you mind…”

“Of course!”, I interrupt. “Absolutely.”

I gather my things and I make my way to the middle seat behind me. As I move, the diminutive man sitting in the aisle says, “I’ll take the middle, sir. I’m small, and I’m gonna sleep the whole way anyway. You take the aisle.”

The mom and her 4-year-old daughter (so a “beautiful” young lady) were able to sit together on this long flight. When we landed at DFW, Kara, the daughter, draws a picture for me, and mom writes a note that simply reads, “Thank you!! For your kindness.”

I feel good. They feel good. The sleeping man in seat 25E feels good. AND… I leave the plane less angry, and a little more hopeful about the state of mankind (including yours truly).

Story 1 & Story 2, are sorta the same; there were women asking me to move from my seat to less comfortable accommodations. In one an order was given, in the other one a favor was asked. In one there was indulgence and entitlement, in the other there was grace and respectfulness. And…obviously…there were 3 drunk women in one, which most of the time I like, and there was a sweet, classy mother and her adorable little girl in the other.

I’m doing my best to stay focused on Story 2. I’m going to keep Kara’s note in my computer bag, and I may even show it to folks when we talk about the horrors of road warrior travel, and how unpleasant people are becoming.

I think the course to redemption starts with a new hot pot of my own, with new ingredients and seasoning. I want to use Kara’s note and picture as the foundation stock.

We must chart a new course, and I guess it should start with me…and maybe even some of you. Too bad, I was really hoping to take the day off.

Big Love & thanks for reading!!