The lone osprey hovered over our gathering – a majestic aquiline talisman of vigilance, beauty and grace.
We had come from near and far to celebrate the wedding of Socrates and Emily, and we had assembled for the rehearsal dinner hosted by the Rosenfeld’s – the groom’s family. We were a motley bunch. There were those among us who call
The setting could not have been more inviting. For over twenty years, John and Ketty Rosenfeld and their children have enjoyed spending a portion of each summer in a rented cottage overlooking The Vineyard’s picturesque Sengekontacket Pond with its panoramic view across the sand dunes to the distant
After most of us had eaten to the point of feeling stuffed, John took the microphone to lead us in a Rosenfeld family tradition. Whenever the clan gathers, impromptu speeches by many in attendance are the order of the day. And this was a very special day, so the speeches were in keeping with the magnitude of the occasion.
Socrates, who would be the first to say that he does not enjoy speaking to a crowd, took the microphone and thanked everyone for coming. With great emotion, he shared with us that in addition to him wanting his brother, Abe, to serve as his best man, Soc had looked forward to sharing his special wedding day with three of his closest friends. His friend Paul was unable to be present because he wife was expecting their first child that weekend. Matt was unavailable because he is in the midst of evaluation for Special Forces. And “Sly” . . . . Socrates had to take a moment to compose himself, and then he continued by reminding us that Robert “Sly” Seidel would not be standing at his side on his wedding day because he had been killed in action in
The regal osprey overhead continued to remain on station - flying in an oval pattern and watching over the proceedings – an airborne sentinel.
The entire Seidel family had come to know the Rosenfeld family very well as the older sons visited one another’s homes during their four years together at
Sandy Seidel was clearly moved by her young son’s words. She made her way slowly up the steps to the porch, and accepted the microphone from Stephen. She shared with us a story that I can only describe as miraculous.
“A couple of weeks ago, we received a visit from one of Robert’s soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division at
As we continued to talk, the soldier asked, ‘Have you had a chance to go through Robert’s personal belongings that were shipped back from
‘Not really. I quickly checked the contents against the inventory list, but I did not really look at things.’
‘Would it be helpful if I went through the things with you?’
So, we started going through Robert’s trunks. We came to something done up in bubble wrap. On the inventory list, it had said ‘box,’ and I assumed it was some kind of a box, but I did not know what kind.
The soldier smiled and said: ‘I can tell you exactly what this is. Almost a year and a half ago, Robert and I were together at the bazaar, and he found this special carved wooden box, inlaid with ivory and mother of pearl. He turned to me and said, “I am going to buy this as a wedding gift for Socrates and Emily.” ‘But they aren’t even engaged,’ I replied. “But they will be, and I want them to have this.”
I thanked the soldier, and told him that Soc and Emily were to be married in just a couple of weeks, and that I was heading to
So, it is clear that Robert went to a lot of effort – not only to buy this gift – but to make sure I knew about it so I could bring it here tonight.
Soc and Emily, I am pleased to present you with this box – a gift from my son.
I looked to the sky and the osprey was gone; having done his duty, he had returned to his aerie.
In loving memory of Robert “Sly” Seidel
Rest in peace.