In January 2001 it was hard for Gary to try and find a best man to stand at his side, especially here in his new country of NZ. All the people he dearly wanted to come lived in the northern hemisphere where the depths of winter, difficulty in getting leave, the expense of traveling as well as fear of flying, were all valid reasons for friends and family to not be with him.
Knowing the importance of my soon-to-be-husband’s support system on his big day - the sort of support that only another man friend could give, I came up with an idea.
‘How about Robert?’ I ventured one day. Robert lived in Wellington in the North Island where we'd spent some great time visiting him and his wife Lynne. Gary thought for a nanosecond.
‘Oh that’d be great!’ he agreed. ‘We get on really well. Do you think he’d do it?’
'Why don't you call and ask him.’
'He agreed! Gary said excitedly after an immediate phone call, 'and Lynne was happy to be MC!'
'Great stuff!' I replied, feeling pleased with my fiance's telephone skills and Robert and Lynne's kind hearts.
‘I don’t know what it was,’ Gary mused as he pulled his wedding suit out of the bag he has kept it in for the last 16 years, ‘but Robert and I had an instant rapport. We seemed to understand each other from the start.’
‘I know sweetheart,’ I agreed. ‘You two formed a close brotherhood from the moment you met. Remember when he whispered to you in the church that you had one last chance to make a dash for it?’ Gary smiled reminiscing.
‘Yeah, it was the perfect thing to say at the time. I was feeling too emotional when I saw you, and he broke the spell, made me chuckle and relax. He was always giving me good advice.’ Gary stopped and thought a moment. ‘You know,’ he paused, ‘you know the last piece of advice he gave me last summer when he called in?’
‘No, what was that?’
‘Buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee,’ he advised me. ‘Emma will love it and you can do everything you want in it.’
I stopped and stared at Gary.
‘You never told me that before.’
‘Well I’ve just remembered it,' my husband answered before adding. ‘Honestly he did!’