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Darrell Huckaby: Time flies when a wedding is on the horizon

Darrell Huckaby

Darrell Huckaby

So here we are in the month of June. Time does indeed fly. June, of course, is one step closer to July and July is next to August. August is going to be a special month in the Huckaby household because we will be experiencing our first wedding.

Let me clarify. My lovely wife, Lisa, and I have already experienced a wedding -- our own. And I have been to hundreds of weddings. For 10 years, I owned a photography studio and spent most Saturdays trying to get grooms to smile naturally and keep brides and their mothers from getting stressed out over something that wouldn't amount to a hill of beans by the time the newly united couple was back from their honeymoon.

But those nuptials were different. They involved someone else's daughter. It is different when it is yours.

I suppose I knew this day would come sometime, but not this soon. Jamie Leigh Huckaby is only 27. When I held her in my arms as a newborn baby and stared down into those beautiful blue eyes -- as blue as the Bonnie Blue flag -- I vowed that I wouldn't let her start dating until she was 40. That's still 13 years away!

I knew, of course, that someday her prince would come and Daddy would be relegated to second-most-important man in her life. I always knew I wouldn't be ready for that day, though.

Jamie was quite precocious as a child. We traveled a lot back in those days and it was nothing to us to strap Jamie in her car seat and buckle her into an airliner and away we would go. She loved the attention she got from everyone we encountered and learned, at a very young age -- like 6 months, maybe -- to work a crowd.

Her first spoken word was "Hey!" at that very age. We were dining with my basketball team at a Pizza Hut in Lexington, Ky., and a waitress had the audacity to serve Dr. Pepper to our table without pausing to make a comment about how beautiful the little baby was sitting in the high chair next to the guy who would be paying the tab. As the waitress turned to walk away, Jamie screamed out, "Hey!" and waved at the young girl. She gave Jamie a brief glance and continued on her way.

Still dissatisfied, Jamie once again yelled, "Hey!" and waved her tiny hand. This time the waitress realized she had been summoned. She returned to the table and oohed and aahed appropriately -- and received a considerably larger tip than she might have otherwise.

When Jamie was about 18 months old, we took her to Walt Disney World and she ran around the pre-show area of the China Pavilion at Epcot, putting on a show for the entire crowd that was crammed in, waiting to see the movie about China. She sang and danced and smiled -- she did everything but tell funny stories.

Those would come later when she teamed up with me and, dressed as Bobbie Jo Barlow, went on the road with me to churches all across the area. She wore a dress sewn out of a flour sack and a big bonnet. I appeared as my alter-ego, Deacon Homer Barlow, and was actually her straight man. We would interact like two characters on "Hee Haw" and then she would sing a couple of songs before I would teach a Gospel lesson. It was a good gig until she outgrew her flour sack.

Before I knew it, Jamie was in middle school and then college and pharmacy school and now she sells drugs for a living. I say again, where does the time go?

At least I raised her right. We dressed her in red and black for her trip home from the hospital and her first two toys were stuffed bulldogs -- a red one named Dooley and a white one named Herschel. We had to change churches when Jamie was 2. During a pre-Fourth of July choral concert on a bright Sunday morning, our choir director, Dan Brokaw, was leading the choir in a stirring rendition of "The Battle Hymn of the Republic." As the choir reached a big crescendo, holding the note after "Glory, glory halleluiah," Jamie stood up on the front pew and screamed at the top of her 2-year-old lungs, "And to hell with Georgia Tech!"

They finally let me rejoin that church last summer.

And now, in about 70 days, give or take a teardrop or two, she will walk down the aisle and become Jamie Fairchild. I have 70 days to shop for a handkerchief large enough to wipe away all my tears.

Where is the wedding? The UGA Chapel, of course, with a reception to follow on Herty Field, Georgia's first athletic field. The rehearsal dinner? Sanford Stadium, of course.

I told y'all I raised her right.