When a good toast is kind of a roast….

By the time you get back from the madness that is your own (second) wedding, you find yourself surrounded by heaps of gifts, cards, ripped up wrapping paper, wondering where the time went and is it wrong to start using the gifts and cashing the checks before you send out thank you cards??

My thank you cards will not be out until December. Sorry.

So in unpacking our gifts the other night, I was running my fingers over the smooth glass of my new plates, imagining what we’d set out in the new baskets for our first dinner party in our new house, picking out which white I’d taste first in my fancy, new wine glasses, and then I remembered.

“Where is Mark’s speech?” Our friend Mark L, Chris’ hysterical longtime friend from college, had written us a speech and gave it during our cocktail reception at the wedding. I had asked him to months ago. I knew that he would be the right person for the job. He would know just how to summarize Chris’ *interesting dating history (only one nightmare is actually considered *interesting) and also how to capture my behavior/mouth/personality most accurately, as he’s seen me many times in rare form.

Mark did not disappoint. He is a great performer, knows exactly how to roast while toasting, and as we stood in front of the fire, listening to him poke fun of and congratulate us, all we could do was laugh and smile and wait to hear what was next. I may or may not have slapped my knee a few times.

What Mark left us with was with this speech, tons of laughs and as always, memories we hope never to forget. So as he and his beautiful celebrate their four-year anniversary this week (actually last week—wooo hoo, congrats, Mark and Kel!!), I thought I’d post this very special gift.

• Good Evening, my name is Mark L. I’m here with my lovely wife Kelly. I take my wife everywhere I go. She always finds her way back.

• When I first met Chris, many years ago at UCONN he was wearing a toe ring, his partner at the time was leading him around by his ear and he had this small dog named Dante that would attack my dog at every chance he got. What’s interesting now…… is that seemingly nothing, other than the continent has changed.

• When I first met Heather, she was a swashbuckler to say the least. Salty and spicy with her vocabulary…. however very sweet with her compassion for others and willingness to participate so freely in all aspects of life. A word of caution about Heather though, a poker player she is not She’ll surely let you know her displeasure for the game should it not go her way. So much so that one such tirade sent our friend Sarah’s visiting father Bill back to Indiana on the first flight out that evening, his head all the while shaking in shock and awe.

• Chris and Heather are road warriors to say the least. When living in the states they made many trips back and forth from Washington, D.C. to CT to spend time with a group of us east of the CT River, and if you’re a follower of Heather’s never ending Facebook and Blog posts, you’ll know that they’ve covered much of Europe as well. For those times they came to CT we thank them and remember those times so fondly. I’ll be honest with you though, had it not been for their frequent road trips to CT I would never have seen them. You couldn’t pay me to schlep all the way down to D.C.

• Chris and Heather are legendary in participating in cross Atlantic chop busting via email. If you really want to feel down on yourself, all you have to do is sidle up to your laptop for a real one-upmanship tongue lashing. All in good fun of course, but it really shows that these 2 are a force to be reckoned with.

• Let me get down to brass tacks. The covenant of marriage is like no other. I’m so thankful to have a life partner there watching my every move day after day after day after day (hold up paper showing ‘Help Me’ scrawled on the back).

• My wife has given me 2 wonderful children one of which we just welcomed into the world less than 3 months ago. I once heard Chris say that all he wanted was many, many, many children surrounding him well into his golden years (a ‘flock’ I recall him saying). I’m sure like me, that he will enjoy not having a moment of his free time to himself (hold up paper again showing ‘No Really….Help Me’ scrawled on the back).

• Some words of sage advice:
o Heather, a husband is like a fire, he goes out when unattended
o Never be afraid to ask for help outside of your marriage. If all else fails it will get you a laugh and buy you some time.
o Chris, don’t expect meals with Heather to be prepared all that well. It takes time to find just the right restaurant.

• Long story short, best of continued success to Chris and Heather, as individuals and as a couple. Kelly and I love you guys very much. We look forward to new adventures that we are forced to read about in Heather’s web postings, and sharing a long friendship.

• Please raise your glasses for this toast: May your love be like the misty rain; gentle coming in but eventually flooding the river banks and wiping out a town. Cheers!

The original toast is now in my hope chest, where it will stay until we’re old and gray.