Although I was heavily involved in the music business for almost thirty years, I only once chatted with Stompin’ Tom Connors.

             I enjoyed Stompin’ Tom’s music. I appreciated his sincere patriotism. I considered him an excellent folklorist and a true balladeer. However, my admiration for Stompin’ Tom goes all the way back to the night of August 8, 1969; the night before Anne and I got married, and the one time that I talked to him.

             Lou McGuire, Don (Boo) MacDonald and I had gone to the famed Horseshoe Tavern in Toronto, where Stompin’ Tom was performing, to celebrate my last night of bachelorhood. When we arrived there we were surprised to see three tables of people we knew: one occupied by a number of Anne’s PEI relatives, who had come to Toronto for the wedding; one where some other Islanders that we knew were sitting; and one occupied by some of my Toronto friends. None of the parties knew that the others were going to be there.

             During the course of the evening someone (no one has ever taken credit for it) sent a note up to Stompin’ Tom. He read the note, leaned into the mic in his patented slightly-humped pose, and said, “There’s a young fella from PEI here tonight named Lyman MacInnis. This note, which ain’t signed, says that Lyman’s getting married tomorrow, and whoever sent it up wants me to sing a funny song for him.”

              Tom paused for a moment, clearly thinking about something, and then went on. “Well, folks, marriage shouldn’t be made fun of. Marriage is a sacred thing. So I’m not going to sing a ‘funny’ song. But, Lyman, I am going to sing a song for you, and here it is.”

               He then sang Hank Snow’s touching With This Ring I Thee Wed. He started off with just his own guitar as accompaniment, but his band quickly picked up the key and tempo and joined in.

               At his next break I introduced myself to Tom, thanked him for his thoughtfulness, and we chatted for a couple of minutes, a chat that ended with his strong handshake and warm wishes for a “long, happy marriage.”

               For those of you who may not be familiar with the song, here are the lyrics.

                      With this ring I thee wed

                      An angel here beside me

                      A moment more

                      And heaven will be mine


                      With this ring I thee wed

                      As every dream inside me

                      Comes true each time

                      I hear the church bells chime


                      This little band of gold I hold

                      Will soon be on your finger

                      A vow and now

                      That moment so divine


                      With this ring I thee wed

                      And make you mine forever

                      To have and hold

                      Until the end of time


                      With our hearts tied as one

                      We leave the church together

                      As we know that

                      We will always be


                      In a life just begun this day

                      That will live forever

                      Like blossoms

                      In a treasured memory

                      Your big bouquet may fade away

                      But as the years go by, dear

                      I'll take your hand each day

                      And say anew

                       With this ring I thee wed

                      I vow to love you truly

                      And every day

                      You'll hear me say, "I do."

            Rest in peace, you wonderful man.