My brother, Matt, was born four years after me, which means he was born with the nickname “Little Dobes.” In years to come, the nickname would spread amongst my high school and college friends. Little Dobes had his first beer with me, at Ohio University. I think he was fourteen, and one day, he too graduated from my alma mater, making it his alma mater. Little Dobes followed me to Charleston post-college, where we lived in the same city for a mere five months before Jake and I relocated to Phoenix.
Being in Charleston with Matt was special, because behind Jake, Matt is my best friend. In South Carolina, we watched bad horror films together. We partook in several “drinking lunches” that would last several hours and several, several beers. We called each other and met at random bars—glorious to live so close to Little Dobes!
I know he dated off and on during our shared time in Chucktown. He’s a musician—lead singer and guitar player in a band called Gangrene Machine—and chicks dig musicians. There was a short string of groupies, and Matt and I shared a few Seinfeld-esque conversations; for instance, “She has saggy elbows; I have to break up with her.” Well. Obviously!
When Jake and I went back to SC for a week two summers ago, I met a girl named Chambers. We were at the Pour House—a night of loud, musical chaos—so I remember few details, other than the impression that this Chambers person was very pretty, sweet, and not afraid to talk to my parents and give hugs.
A few months later, I received a strange, unfamiliar phone call from Little Dobes. He called while walking home from a bowling alley, late at night. He told me he had fun bowling. There were some pretty girls there, hitting on him. The old Dobes would have stuck around, maybe gone to an after party. The new Dobes? He said, “Sara, I just left. I didn’t want to be there anymore. I wanted to go home, because I knew Chambers would be there waiting for me.”
Safe to say: I knew Matt well enough to know this was a big deal.
If my calculations are correct, it’s been a little less than two years since Matt and Chambers became “official.” I got to know her, really, at my grandfather’s 90th birthday party … which is a lot to ask of someone not related to the Dobie-Schwind collective. Chambers handled herself with grace and style. She helped set up for the party; she helped clean up the party. She introduced me to bourbon and ginger, my current cocktail of choice. Outside the Village Idiot Tavern in Maumee, we shared inebriated post-party secrets. She made me laugh. She impressed me, even more than her amazing artwork—most especially a painting of Queen Ripley the Dog.
Tomorrow, Matt and Chambers are getting married in Charleston. The ceremony will be private, intended for the couple alone. Groupie hearts will break all over South Carolina, and my college gal pals will mourn the loss of a singular Little Dobes. But oh, tomorrow, Little Dobes will graduate to Big Dobes!—although he’ll always be “Little Dobes” to me.
For our wedding, Jake and I received a card from my Uncle Steve and Aunt Robin that read the following: “Remember, a marriage is a garden you are growing together—it will flower, bear fruit, bring great joy—but it takes work! Remember to pull the weeds and lay down a little fertilizer now and then.” Good advice, for certain. So what do I have to say about marriage?
Matt, you once asked me how I knew Jake was the one, and I told you, simply, “Because everything is easy.” You wrote a song about those exact words for my wedding, and I suggest you listen to that song again. It’s no joke, true love is easy. However, no matter how much you love someone, there are still going to be days you want to smack them upside the head.
There will be moments of great despair, when you will have to hold each other up, no matter how hard it gets. There will be moments of great joy—days when you wake up next to Chambers and realize, “Wow, out of all the lonely, wandering people on this Earth, I am no longer one of them, because I have found my perfect match.”
And you have, Little Dobes, found your perfect match. Who else would put up with your guitar practicing at all hours of the day and night? Your lack of daily showers and dirty jeans? Your sad, unfortunate obsession with all things Detroit sports? And who else would put up with your crazy sister who loves you—and will always love you—as more than a brother: as a best, cherished friend?
I’m so happy for tomorrow. I’m so excited Little Dobes has found “the one,” and Chambers, you have found your dude. Remember to always keep laughing. Take time out of every day to be alone together. Plan surprise date nights, even if the date night is just to AC’s for a couple dollar-fifty PBRs. Watch bad horror movies. Marriage is fun; have fun!
Okay, don’t let me ramble on much longer, because I’m gonna start crying over here …. In closing, my brother is getting married tomorrow, and I hope tomorrow is one of the happiest days of his whole life!