This weekend I'm going to be the best man at my best friend's wedding. After looking up the best man's responsibilities I'm pretty sure I've got them all nailed.
The bachelor party was three weeks ago in Vegas, so the antibiotics have run their course. All the groomsmen own their own tuxes, so I don't have to worry about that. (The groom, ironically, is the only one renting.) The wedding coordinator has the rings, which I will take possession of when I get to North Carolina.
Done and done.
[Should any of you reading this be going to the same wedding I am this weekend, stop. NOW. Especially if you're the bride or groom. Seriously. I'm. Not. Kidding. You'll ruin it if you do.]
My biggest responsibility, is the best man's toast. I've written the toast out, but it never hurts to get a second (or third or infinite) opinion. So, in the spirit of my friends' wedded bliss, I present to you my wedding toast for comment:
About eight years ago Bert and I spent three days in our friends Dave and Cassie’s back yard building a picnic table and two benches as a wedding present for our friends. The amazing thing about this process was – during three days under the July sun in suburban D.C. – I don’t really recall talking to him that much.
We’d bought the wood, studied the plans, figured out what we needed to do and got to work. Anything beyond “Pass me the saw” or “How long is that suppose to be?” just wasn’t necessary. We’d been friends long enough by that point, almost 20 years, Bert and I really didn’t need to talk to communicate.
Although that picnic table wasn’t the first thing we’d built together, it was probably the first that looked like something someone would actually pay money for. There have been many projects since, as we worked together through the past decade in North Carolina, Texas, D.C. and again in North Carolina. Bert and I have built exactly what we wanted and had the pleasure of doing it ourselves.
There is one funny thing I noticed along the way: every time we tried to include another person over the years it just hasn’t worked out. To be truthful, the most help we ever got from a third person was the time we sent a certain individual to KFC to get us dinner, just to get him out of the shop.
But last summer, while Bert helped me build a lovely rip-off of a Pottery Barn double chaise lounge to fulfill a promise to a friend, there was someone else there. And this time we didn’t kick her out.
This time it just seemed to work.
Bert and I, and our friend Dave here, like to joke with each other about how long we’ve been friends. I did a little figuring and found if you count the years I’ve been friends with Bert and Dave, the years Dave’s been friends with Bert and me, and the years Bert’s been friends with me and Dave, well, added together that’s 150 years of friendship right there. True story.
I met them both in 1983 and we have been friends ever since. I was there on the KC-135 for the infamous “popping the parachute while still in the plane” incident. We were together when we graduated from high school, and later celebrated our 21st birthdays together. And Bert was there the day the two of us – ill-advisedly, I should add – decided to try roller blading. Through the brick courtyards at N.C. State. On a personal note, I’d like to point out that helmets and elbow, wrist and knee pads do nothing to protect you if you fall and land on your butt. Three times.
A few years later, it was Bert who probably had the biggest influence on my choice of Chapel Hill when it came time for me to choose a college. And for this I will forever be thankful to him for his guidance. Well, for that and for teaching me to weld, which was pretty cool of him.
Then last year, right around the time we brought a tape measure into Pottery Barn to, you know, make sure their double chaise would fit on the patio, Bert was busy building something even more important and impressive, his relationship with Stephanie.
And now the mushy part.
Stephanie and Bert’s love is stronger than any I’ve seen built in the past. Like all love affairs this one started small, but it has since grown in depth and breath to encompass two lives until they’ve now become one.
It’s been my greatest pleasure to watch Stephanie and Bert forge these bonds that brought us here today to witness this joyful event as they joined their two lives into one.
And now, I would ask you to join me in raising a glass to toast the bride and groom with an old Irish wedding blessing. Stephanie and Bert:
May God be with you and bless you.
May you see your children's children.
May you be poor in misfortunes and rich in blessings.
May you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.
There you have it. All comments accepted, they just may not be acted upon.