An appreciation for the benefits of having sons

We recently had another wedding. Another daughter got married off, or perhaps I should say “another daughter got married.” That phrase “married off” sounds so 1800s, right out of “Pride and Prejudice.”

That makes two weddings in three months and another one on the way. This father of the bride schtick is wearing me out. I’m doing it more often than having my teeth cleaned and it’s a lot more expensive.

With four daughters, I decided to research “wedding etiquette” on the Internet, and I discovered that since the dawn of creation, the father of the bride has been the lucky guy who has to open his checkbook ... unless your daughter is over 60. Then, she’s supposed to pay with the inheritance you left her, if you weren’t smart enough to squander it all in Vegas. Wasn’t feminism supposed to change the rules?

At this rate, I’ll be working until I’m 75, so any members of the Millennial Generation who are waiting to get my job — and that includes my new sons-in-law — better think twice.

Nevertheless, I’m a happy man because everything turned out fine during the reception at Mount Washington Hotel even though there was snow in the forecast. No one wants it to rain on their wedding, but what about snow?

The morning of the wedding my wife had tears in her eyes, so I told her, “Don’t cry. You’re not losing a daughter — you’re gaining a handyman.”

Previously, I never appreciated the benefits of having sons, but there are many. They can talk about sports, they can open beer bottles with their teeth, they have huge appetites for large pieces of red meat, they seldom leave leftovers, and most important, they can cut the lawn for you in those rare moments when they’re not watching ESPN.

My newest son-in-law, Brendan, has already taught me how to change the oil in the lawn tractor and how to use a chainsaw. To his credit, I haven’t lost a finger yet.

These skills are crucial in our house, where the three most important things are yard work, yard work and — did I mention yard work? — knowing how to turn on the vacuum cleaner. I’m already putting together a work schedule for Brendan because those gutters get awfully clogged this time of year. Plus, I gave him written permission to use my brand new leaf-blower, which has been in the box for three years.

I learned a lot from these weddings. At the ceremony, the priest said the secret to a lasting marriage is “sacrifice.” I always thought it was a well paying job or a hot meal or hot romance or no snoring or a husband who obeys — in the olden days it used to be a wife who obeys.

A lasting marriage is rare in our times, which is why I was inspired by the groom’s grandparents. One couple was married 56 years and the other 67 years. Where do you find that kind of staying power? If the answer is “sacrifice,” I’m on the road to success because I calculate I’ve been sacrificing for 34 years, contrary to what certain people think.

“Sacrifice” means cutting the lawn so your wife doesn’t have to do it and washing your husband’s laundry so he doesn’t have to wear the same underwear twice — or even worse, learning how to use the washing machine so he can do his own laundry.

Just call me “Mr. Sacrifice.”

So where’s the Tide? Did somebody hide the Tide? (Brendan, how do I change the oil in this washing machine?)

Joe Pisani can be reached at