Raise your glass
“You’re not marrying her for her matchboxes?”
In a fortnight’s time my brother-in-law is making an honest woman of his partner and I have been chosen as the best man. This will be the third time I have been given the honour of being the “best”. Luckily, yet again, no kilts will be involved. A man in a skirt just isn’t right, now is it?
The first time I was the “best” was over twenty years ago to one of my good friends from school. All I knew about my duties were getting the groom to the church on time, not to lose the ring and make a speech at the meal. In those days we were all young and drunk and the speech was not as daunting as I thought it would be as I’m unaccustomed to public speaking. The speech was a customary medium line and length gentle stab at the groom. All the tables laughed; as I said we were all drunk. The pièce de résistance was at the end when I recited one of my poems. Now you all know how bad my current odes are, imagine the quality of my youngish offerings…go on, imagine…
Well without any modesty I can truly say the gathering loved it. Probably, because they were impressed that I managed to integrate the groom’s occupation, the loveliness of the bride and humorous best wishes for the couple’s future all into the one verse. Or maybe it was because it rhymed. Delivery is everything and I’m sure the groom would have agreed with that.
“I’ve been bathing for almost a week without any soap.”
My second taste of “best” was a few years back when an old friend was getting married to his second wife. He had a fall-out with his brother over family matters -not because of the divorce from wife no.1, I should add- and I was promoted. This was a more quieter affair and there were a lot of unknowns at the function. Some performers prefer big crowds to small and I’m inclined to agree with them. All my gags went flat and I was waiting to hear slow hand claps. I cut my drivel short. This was no time for poems.
Thus, I look forward to the big day when I can go once more unto the speech. Only my wife will have been present at all three of my addresses. The audience will be full of familiar faces. I have my anecdotes at the ready and will name-check any Charioteers jokes/ideas that I use on the day. I promise, I solemnly do.
And this one’s for the happy couple.
Well tonight you step away from me
And alone at the altar I stand
And as I watch my bride coming down the aisle
I pray for the strength to walk like a man