Almanac Life: My wedding speech, to Claire

 

 

 

Mickey and Claire got married on Saturday, April 10. Here’s Mickey’s speech:

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone for joining us at our beloved Kapunda High School, and here now, in this footy club which is one hundred years older than Claire and me. These places have such profound and affirming meaning for us, and across the ceremony and this reception we’ve wanted to tell our story; our long, sometimes maddening, always beautiful story. I thank Claire for making today the elegant event it’s been. Your dress, the candles, the delicate details you’ve created for this celebration – I love you.

 

We were still teenagers when Claire rang to tell me she’d won the job. I knew she would – such are her impressive talents and attractive, girl-next-door persona. She was to be a host on the kids’ TV show Cartoon Connection. Of course I was thrilled for her, but also secretly despairing…

 

I imagined Claire (and her shapely calves) at Channel 7 touring the facility and saying hello to Wheel of Fortune’s Adriana Xenides and the goofy Baby John Burgess. But she’d also encounter the weather presenter, Keith Martyn. According to some, a gruff and condescending figure, he also annually published his own South Australian almanac, the impressively entitled, Keith Martyn’s South Australian Almanac. Now Keith’s book included tide times and details about when to plant tomatoes. How could I compete with this glamour? I could see Claire stepping in and out of Italian sports cars, going to A-list events and having her photo in the Sunday Mail (and not just the Possums Pages). I was right to be concerned at the high stakes: early on in the show they gave away – I’m not making this up – a 14-inch Phillips portable colour television!

 

I feared that Claire might be swept away from us for there I was, working weekends in Kapunda at Rexy Draper’s service station. Datsun 180Bs returning from day visits to Cadell would limp in with hissing radiators and billowing smoke and the frowning drivers would plead, “Can you fix it?” and nineteen-year old me would reply, “No, sorry. I’m not a mechanic, I’m a historian”. But then, one afternoon, I saw you on Cartoon Connection. You’d taken your dog, Bonnie, to appear with you on the show, and got her to count to ten with her paws. During that segment, you were so engaged with, and proud of, Bonnie that I reckon you forgot you were on camera. In that moment, I knew it was all going to be alright. You wouldn’t forget us. You were still our Claire – and always would be.

 

But before you moved on from your TV career you were to be offered a job as a weather presenter. That would’ve been fantastic. “Let’s cross now to Claire who’s up in Kapunda outside the Clare Castle Hotel and she’s got your four-day forecast (the seven-day version had yet to be discovered). Oh, we seem to have lost Claire. No, wait, she’s actually inside the pub! Ordering a brandy and coke!”

 

In 1991 I was living in Kimba and that November, you and Trish came to visit one weekend. Our worlds were expanding and we were all being pulled on different paths, but a photo from that weekend captures the moment when you and I sat together at Lake Gilles on a wooden sign – looking out towards the horizon. Things shifted that weekend, and we turned towards each other and in the two months that followed, I thought our time had arrived. On Boxing Day I went to America for three weeks and with you as a constant, joyous reference point I visited San Francisco and Phoenix and Santa Barbara and I stood on the snowy rim of the Grand Canyon. I was at some of the most exciting places in the world but, most exciting was the thought that you were awaiting me, back home across the Pacific in Adelaide. But the world turned. You continued with your life and I, mine. I did the only thing I could: I went out to Buckleboo one February afternoon and for the Kimba Cricket Club took 5/15. Gee, I bowled well. My in-swinger was never better. Tragically, we were later rolled by Waddikee who went on to win the A grade grand final.

 

And then, precious Claire, after almost thirty years, our paths changed and we found ourselves again sitting side-by-side, gazing at the horizon. In early 2020 we allowed ourselves the kind of indulgence only permitted those in love: we flew to Sweden for a week. We drove (not in a Volvo) across the bridge from Copenhagen to Malmo and then near Lyungbyhed to a secluded cabin. It was a remarkable, enchanted time. Some evenings we’d walk through the forest to a dark, still lake and climb onto a creaking pontoon. We’d sit at the table with a lighted candle, pull a rug over us, eat olives and talk of all we’d done that day, and of old friends, and things over the years that had made us laugh and things that made us cry, and of our children, and our hopes. And geese would skim across the lake and gather on its island and you’d smile at me in that heartening, exquisite way. Around us a peculiar, blue twilight would grow above the trees and my heart was singing for I knew, after all the desperately rushing decades and the long aching years, that finally, finally – kind, clever, funny, amazing Claire – we were together.

 

 

 

 

 

For more from Mickey, click HERE.

 

 

 

 

 

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About Mickey Randall

Favourite film: The Shawshank Redemption Favourite song: Khe Sahn Favourite holiday destination: Gold Coast Favourite food: steak Favourite beer: VB Best player seen: Dogga Worst player seen: Frogga Last score on beep test: 3.14159 Favourite minor character in Joyce’s Ulysses: Punch Costello

Comments

  1. Congrats Mickey and Claire.

    On Saturday (wedding day) you were mentioned in dispatches at Tanunda as the Kapunda boys battled the locals. Then later in the day you were mentioned again by a bloke called Jeremy whom I’d just met at the bar.

    Superb speech. (It’s like the opening of a novel. So much unsaid. So much to find out.)

  2. John Butler says

    Well said Mickey. Congratulations to Claire and your good self. :)

  3. Lovely, Mickey! All the very best to you both!

  4. It goes without saying that Claire looks smashing.
    But, Mickey, you actually don’t scrub up too badly yourself!!

    Congrats.

  5. Colin Ritchie says

    The heartfelt words of a man in love! Congratulations Mickey and Claire; peace, love and happiness for ever.

  6. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    Calves hey?

    You two make a beaut couple.

  7. Congrats Mickey and Claire, hope you enjoy a wonderful life together.

  8. Congratulations Mickey.
    Congratulations Claire.
    What a wonderful shared story you have built – with more to come.

    Thank you for sharing here.
    My heart opens a little further tonight.
    Go well. Love & best wishes.

  9. Thanks everyone for reading and commenting. We had a terrific four days back in Kapunda and planned both the ceremony at the high school and reception at the footy club to be rich in story-telling with contributions from family, old friends and our Year 12 history teacher. Later this week we’re heading to the Flinders Ranges and Arkaroola to explore and relax. My only disappointment is that we’d hoped to visit the Prairie Hotel at Parachilna but due to tricky renovations it’s closed until April 2022!

    Thanks again.

  10. Daryl Schramm says

    All of the above, especially JTH ‘So much unsaid. So much to find out. Well played.

  11. Luke Reynolds says

    This is wonderful Mickey. Congratulations and all the best to you and Claire.

  12. Thanks Daryl. As we had two lots of three speeches at the reception and I was the last, I decided to keep it to about seven minutes, which meant limiting my stories in length and scope, and trying to make these represent bigger truths. I hope it worked.

    Thanks Luke. Hoping we can celebrate soon at the NFA with a Prickly Moses!

  13. Generally I go by the name of Someone on this site. Today I’ll be Claire. Beautiful speech Mickey. Thanks Smokie for your kind comment, and yes M does scrub up well! Thank you to all of Mickey’s treasured Almanac colleagues for your kind support and congratulations.

  14. CITRUS BOB says

    Congratulations to you two. Bravo! Exquisite.
    Watching a movie last night about Cyrano de Bergerac and then read your piece and reread it this morning.
    Mickey are you sure you are not de Bergerac’s author?
    Reminds me of WM Lawry’s comment that “you must sniff the ball”. Would have been handy in your halcyon days?
    Claire oculd you start writing the book on “the Amorous Mickey” – sure to be a hit.
    Live life long
    CB

  15. G’day CB. I couldn’t write a book on “The Amorous Mickey” – It’d need to be a trilogy! And funnily enough, in some circles I am also known as CB.
    Live life long CB,
    CB

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