Tuesday, August 08, 2006

That's Easy For You To Say

At Eddie and Amy's wedding I, as Eddie's best (wo)man, delivered a toast/speech* while everyone finished eating their delicious buffet dinner. I had never given a wedding speech before so I was a little nervous about how my written words would translate to the spoken word. Eddie told me later he liked it so mission accomplished, I say.

*And I didn't even cry (although Amy's beautifully written marriage vows heard earlier in the evening made for a little northern mist).


Hi there! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Karin, the sister of the groom. The much, much younger sister of the groom.

Today I was honored to stand next to my only sibling as he took his vows of marriage. It was a privileged duty and a unique vantage point—and the same position he stood in nearly six years ago for me on my wedding day.

I’ve been lucky in my life to be able to call Eddie not only my brother, but one of my best friends, too. We like to tease one another about almost anything, but one of our longest-running jokes centers around the realization that, despite the fact that we came from the same parents and the same home, we couldn’t really be more different. He likes to call me the City Mouse and himself the Country Mouse, after the children’s story of the same name.

And he’s right. Where I seek lattes, bookstores and quick Internet connections, he’s happiest deep in the trees, hiking up a trail, or somewhere under water. My little brother—the one who gleefully jumped off the high dive on MY first day of swim class as I struggled to put my face in the water—has always harbored a spirit that seems to hearken back to the days of great adventurers and explorers, one that channels the energy and ethos of the Jack Londons, Jack Kerouacs and Jack Sparrows of the day. He’s truly in his element and happiest when he’s discovering nature’s bounty.

Just listen to some of the unique experiences the guy’s had:
  • He’s taught tourists from around the world how to surf the waves of Lahaina, Maui;
  • He broke his longboard while surfing in Hanalei Bay, Kauai, only to exclaim how it was one of the best rides of his life and was totally worth it;
  • He’s crossed the Sea of Cortez on a three-man boat;
  • He’s bummed an impromptu boat ride with local Fijian fishermen to escape an approaching school of jellyfish;
  • He’s ridden the world’s longest left at Raglan in New Zealand;
  • He’s seen many, many G’days in Australia;
  • And he’s traveled the four corners of this fair country and most places in between. In fact, his list of states still left to visit could probably fit onto a postage stamp—the one attached to the postcard he’ll mail you for your birthday from some far away, sun-drenched locale. It may come a few days late, but it’ll get there all the same.

Because of his adventurous wanderlust, Eddie has some colorful and exciting stories to share and, because of the remarkable array of experiences he’s had in his youth, has become the envy of most of the older, wiser men I know.

I realize that part of the tradition of serving as best man includes giving a speech that includes some embarrassing and/or compromising tales of “I knew the groom when….” And I hate to disappoint. But the one story that kept creeping into my head when I sat down to write this wasn’t about those crazy times jumping off the pier or getting lost together at Denmark’s Tivoli Gardens and giving Mom a heart attack. Instead, it was about the single moment when I realized that Eddie and Amy were cut from the same organic, batiked cloth—and were simply meant for one another.

After one of the many Christmas holidays they’d spent at Mom and Dad's, Eddie and Amy took off for a nearly week-long adventure down in Baja California, Mexico. When they returned, they showed us their stunning photos, told some great stories, and casually mentioned that they had BOTH forgotten to pack a hairbrush for the trip.

For me, the admitted comfort seeker, this oversight would have been a total deal breaker, one that would have sent me fleeing north for the border and tidier climes. Or at least to a farmacia or mercado to fill the loss. But it didn’t break their stride at all; in fact, they simply continued on, unfazed and fine all the same, focusing instead on the scent of the Mexican sagebrush, the tastes of the local panaderia, and the thrilling curves of the road to Cabo San Lucas. Today you can all see for yourselves how beautifully they both clean up as they sit at the head table, radiant visions. But in that moment I realized they were truly bookends—a matched set.

And so now their newest adventure includes traveling together through life—kindred spirits who share the same passion for finding the beauty and mystery life offers those who go out and seek it.

Please join me in raising your glasses in a toast to wish these two a hearty Bon Voyage of sorts, as they embark on their grand adventure together as husband and wife. May it be a journey filled with much love and laughter.

July 29, 2006
Arrington Apple Farm
Eureka, California

Thanks, Kris and Pete, for the photo.

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