As Gail and I celebrate our 9 year wedding anniversary today (July 8), I wanted to post what I consider the best speech I’ve ever heard at a wedding.
Now, I am likely biased because it’s from my wedding and it’s by my brother, but Jason had everyone in stitches with his speech, in particular his Top 10 List.
Loyal, trustworthy, dependable, friend…these are all words that come to mind when I think of our dog Shaila. Man, Clay loves that dog… Anyways, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Jason, and I am Clay’s best man and brother. When Clay asked me to be his best man, I was extremely honored and I jumped at the chance. Now, standing in front of 350 people, I starting to rethink my decision. I’ve tried to memorise the speech, but forgive me if I look at my notes every 3 to 5 seconds. We booked a cue card guy, but he turned out to be a Hyatt union member.
When I first started brainstorming ideas for this speech (at about 11:00 last night), I thought to myself: “how can I make this speech really personal and meaningful? It had to been tailor made for Clay and really capture his essence.” Then the answer came to me…I went to the most useful resource I could think of…The Internet. I put the words “best man speech” into the search engine. Hmmm…lots of websites, so I clicked on the first one with breathless anticipation…Speech Masters.com. For only $8.95, Speechmasters.com can help sort out what you want to say in your speech, arrange your stories and messages, and make sure you earn that big round of applause from wedding guests…please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery. The timing didn’t quite work for me.
The second site was a little bit more helpful. It actually had a ready made speech! It went something like this: “and then, with proper violence, she clubs the bow that hulks behind the artful bunting; the crows erupts, wine flies, the shuddering hull rocks with impact, slowly settles, is still.” Not bad, except I couldn’t understand a word of it. I could see I was gonna be on my own.
So I started thinking…thinking about all the guests coming to the wedding, all touched by Clayton in some way, whether it be from church, high school, family trips to the Okanagan, church, University, or church (He spends a lot of time at the church; it’s true, it’s true). I realised what my unique perspective of him is; for the better part of my life I followed him through all his years, one step at a time, from infancy to man-hood every step of the way.
Clay has come a long way over the years. At young age, it was apparent that he was extremely bright. He learned the alphabet by the time he was 2, could read by the time he was 3, and was a back-seat driver by the time he was 4. However, it took a little longer for us to mature socially, as my parents were always quite protective of us. I think a lot of his maturation had to do with what one of his teachers said to my mom. To set the scene for you, my mom went to pick him up one day from school. She was quite worried when Clay’s teacher Mrs. Hunter approached her with a concerned look on her face. So my mom asked her what was the matter. Mrs. Hunter replied, “Clayton had trouble doing up the zipper on his jacket, and he started to cry. He is also one of the only kids who still wears diapers. At this rate, he will never make it through University. You need to untie the apron strings.”
Mrs. Hunter was Clayton’s Grade 10 science teacher…actually, she was his kindergarten teacher, but even back then she could see the potential in him. Clayton would go on to make a huge impression on every teacher or student that crossed his path. As evidence, in my elementary and high school days, teachers called me “Clayton” more often than not. In fact, someone here called me Clayton 10 minutes ago. Seriously though, it really goes to show you the impression he can make on people. Long after he left somewhere, he always left his legacy behind. People talked about him, and fondly remembered him.
I learned a lot from over the years…So I call this “Top Ten Things I Learned Growing Up in Clay’s Bryant Reeves-like Shadow.”
Top Ten Things I Learned from Clay
• Lesson #10 – Concealing the Evidence – I learned this lesson from Clay way back when I was 4 years old. That’s when I found out that if you accidentally burn a hole in the carpet while playing with matches, a big cardboard box goes a long way towards hiding that little secret.
• I also learned Lesson #9 – Volunteering Information, really quickly: when your mom asks what a big box is doing in the middle of the room, the wrong response is “We didn’t play with matches! We didn’t play with matches!”
• Lesson #8 was learned over the years…Phone Manner. I think I’m gonna have to go into Clay imitation mode…
• Example… If it’s guy phoning, and Clay picks up the phone, it would sound like this: “Hello? Heeeyyyy…what’s up?”
• If it’s a girl phoning, the answer would sound more like this: “Hello? Oh hiii…how are you???”
• Lesson #7 – How To Get What You Want – If there are two pieces of steak, one of which you have to give to your little brother, the best way to make sure you get the piece you want is if you lick all over it. He still uses that technique to this day.
• Lesson #6: You can be a 26 year old man, a professional, and role model, and still enjoy wrestling as much as you did when you were 10 years old
• Lesson #5: It’s okay to say “no” when offered an alcoholic beverage. And if they try to force it on you, it’s okay to run away, or physically hide. When we were in Vegas for his stag, we were visiting one of the local clubs. Midway through the evening they announced over the loud speaker that for the next 60 seconds, tequilla was free! Mark, Brian and I walked around looking for Clay, but we couldn’t find him. We found out later that he was hiding in the bathroom.
• Speaking of bathrooms, Lesson #4 is that as far as toilet paper is concerned, money is no object. Word of warning to Gail, he uses half a roll every time he goes.
• Lesson #3 – Procrastination is okay – I learned this last night, or more accurately, this morning. There’s nothing wrong with procrastination…as long as you get it done. Both Clay and I were up to the wee hours of the morning writing speeches…it always seems to work out in the end, though.
• Lesson #2 – There’s nothing wrong with wearing clothes that you’ve owned since you were in grade 8; I guess it helps if you haven’t grown since grade 8…
• And the #1 and most important lesson is a one that Clay truly believes in, and he lives on a day in and day out basis: there’s nothing wrong with sticking with a haircut that works. Anyone who has seen his pictures from grade 11 knows what I’m talking about. That’s when he decided to experiment with the “perm” look. Most of you probably haven’t seen pictures. There’s a very good reason why.
In all seriousness, Clay has been in ideal role model and tremendous friend for to everyone he’s encountered in life. From family members, to life teen members, to his friends…I don’t think there’s one person in this room who hasn’t learned something from him.
I used the words loyal, trustworthy, dependable, and friend to describe our dog Shaila. All of those words describe Clay as well, but I would like to add a few to that list: words like role-model, teacher, friend, loving son, brother, and now husband.
I may be the best man in name, but I think the real best man got married today. Thank you.