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On July 30th, my wife (left) officiated the wedding of our dear friends, and I was the Best Man. A grand time was had by all. The location was on a hilltop in Marin County, CA, at the Ralston White Retreat. A huge heart-shaped lawn greets you when you arrive. Ralston Lovell White built the home between 1911-197, out of a profound love for his bride Ruth.
Here is my Best Man’s speech. I worked on the poem for a while. The day before, I was reading it out loud to myself and, when I began choking up, I realized I may have a winner.
Welcome ladies and gentlemen to this most blessed of occasions under this magnificent canopy of trees. For those of you who do not know me, my name is Mark Alexander. For those of you who do know me, stop that and please start calling me Mark.
Doesn’t Terrie look absolutely stunning? (Hold for applause.) And doesn’t Ed look… Isn’t Terrie’s dress completely amazing?
Let me talk a bit about Ed, since the Maid of Honor will talk about Terrie. I’ve known Ed for almost 40 years. I cannot remember how we met, and oddly we don’t see each other that often. In fact, I don’t think we have ever lived in the same county.
In life, there are three kinds of friendships. The first are friendships based on pleasure. These are the friends that are fun to hang with. We go to parties and play fun games with them. And the truth is, once the pleasure ends, the friendship ends.
Then there are friendships based on usefulness. They are our coworkers, our classmates, our political allies, and our fellow club members. As long as we have common goals, related to work or politics or mutual aims, the friendship endures. When the association ends, the friendship ends.
Finally, there are friendships based on themselves. These are the friends you can count on one hand, who you just enjoy being with, and they enjoy being with you. It does not matter what you are doing, nor how pleasurable or useful it is to be together. These are the friends who you may not see for years, but when you are together again, it’s like no time has passed. You are right there together again wherever you left off.
These friendships are timeless. And that is the kind of friend Ed is. When we are together, it’s like no time has passed. And that time together is so valuable because Ed has a particular kind of wisdom that he shares with me. Years may pass, but when I am going through a hard time, I remember what Ed had said, his particular wisdom, and it helps get me through.
I have written a poem to you both, which I would like to share with everyone. I set out to write a poem that would mean so much more many years from now:
Please, let’s lift our glasses and toast Ed and Terrie. May your lives be healthy, happy, wise, and free.”