A Best Man’s Toast…

My friend Chris is getting married. By the time this is live, the ceremony will be over and the couple will have been officially joined as husband and wife. For some context, we go back. A while. He has been best man for both of my weddings, and was also pall bearer for a funeral. To see him married is a happy time, made more so because of that. I’m not sure how coherent I’m going to be later, but for the sake of posterity, here’s what the anticipated speech/toast is supposed to look like.

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We are celebrating the joining of Chris and Johanna into a new family. It’s a special occasion for all of us, but being here is especially poignant for me. Chris and I have a history. There are yearbook pictures that show we were in first grade together, but it wasn’t until we were in the same homeroom in sixth that saw the start of the road that brings us to here, now, and my spilling these words to you.

That road saw us as freshmen in high school, at Universal Studios in Florida, doing the Star Trek screen test – Chris as the Vulcan science officer with me as the captain. Or as seniors, pouring our efforts into the JROTC program that was just getting started that year, or writing up stories for the school newspaper.

Which is part of the glue that’s bound us for the last twenty-five years, give or take: we wanted to be writers. In seventh grade, we spun out the idea for a story, the search for Atlantis (hey, it was big in the late 80’s). In true science fiction fashion, we spun the story out from a single book idea into a trilogy. Much of that expansion was Chris’s doing. Which is an aspect of our friendship that has been a constant: “You should try this,” he would tell me. “Have you read this [person/book], yet? You’ll probably like them.” So it’s gone from playing Civilization (the first edition of the computer game), to creating websites and blogging, to being introduced to the work of authors like Charles Stross and Cory Doctorow, among others.

For the better part of the past thirty years, I took a lot of clues from Chris. If you will indulge me a few more moments, I would like to try to return the favor, in whatever small portion I might.

Chris and Johanna, as you are starting out your lives together, consider the following suggestions:

Always say “I love you.” Before turning out the lights at night, first thing in the morning, before ending a phone call. Say it as often and as fervently as you can. They are three simple words, but you can never say them enough to each other.

Build memories, whatever way you can. Be there for each other and nurture each others dreams. Travel. Encourage each other’s hobbies, participate in them together when you can. Learn the art of compromise.

Where I am going, and likely the core of what anyone else might suggest, is this: regardless of what happens, from the mundane daily grind to whatever adventures you create, cherish and appreciate every day, every blessed moment you have together, blissful and rocky alike. As long as you do that, everything else will fall into place.

From my family to yours, congratulations on your special day, the first of your many cherished memories.

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