Saturday 22 August 2020

Jamie vs The Wedding Speech

Dear sister,

It’s been almost a year since you got married, and I’ve been slow about posting the wedding speech I did for you. So as your first anniversary approaches, I thought I’d help you relive your wedding with my small contribution to your big day.

Doing the speech at your wedding was an absolute highlight and honour for me. It made me realize that I love a microphone and an audience, and that high following a great performance. 

Oh, and your wedding was cool too.

So here is my speech for posterity. Although it is missing bits, because some comedy gold was dropped on me at the last minute and I had to improvise...the fact that there were an obscene number of Jamie’s at your wedding gave me one hell of an intro, and dad getting pulled over by the cops for going to slow despite trying to rush home for a panicky Mexican food poop, were all just too good not to use.

So thank you for giving me a stage, for trusting me to roast you enough to make you cringe but not cry, and for the literal standing ovation that night and massively supportive comments afterwards from people I’d know for years, and many I’d never met. 

I absolutely had a blast writing this for you and watching your face during those moments where you figured out where I was headed before the rest of the guests, and despite this knowledge, you also knew that you couldn’t stop me. I loved every single moment. 

Happy anniversary sis. 

Hi everyone, I'm Jamie 

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Kendra’s sister.  We don’t look much alike, but if you close your eyes and just listen, we’ve been told we sound almost identical. Friends, boyfriends, and even our parents have gotten us confused over the years, which of course we exploited at every point possible, so don’t feel bad if you think you hear Kendra across the room and it turns out to be me.  You wouldn’t be the first, and probably won’t be the last. (***cheers from the old friends in the crowd who actually made this mistake a number of times)

Besides being her sister, I’m also Kendra’s maid of honour, making it my job to talk her off ledges, make sure the back of her dress isn't tucked into her underwear, and to basically help her get to today. 

But because I’m her sister, it’s now also my job to make sure that I share as many childhood stories as I can within a reasonable speech time frame.  

Now at this point that I should tell you that I was going to put up some pictures, but Kendra and Robert basically refused to let me have any sort of screen. To be fair, this was probably a very smart choice on their part, but still, now you’ll have to use your imaginations. Think of this as the audience participating aspect to the traditional wedding speech. 

For example:

Here I would have put up some beautiful art work done by Kendra. Now you’ll have to just take my word for it that it didn’t suck. 

Kendra has always been very artistic….again, you’ll just have to trust me.  She can create art out of basically any medium available, and once painted a tree mural on our wall that I’m convinced was the selling feature of the condo years later. 

I have a picture of this masterpiece, but you can’t see it.  

But Kendra had humble beginnings.  Her first attempt at non-conformist modern art was drawing on a foggy mirror after a shower. At 10 years old, she had realized that if she drew a picture on the mirror with her finger, it would appear again later in the steam from the next  shower.

So…..14 year old me finishes a shower and reasonably expects to see nothing but my own reflection in the mirror, but what 14 year old me sees instead...and no, I promise you will never guess this if I gave you infinite chances to guess. And it also wasn't a penis.....she wrote:


I know…

Three things here. 

One: OJ Simpson wasn’t, and still isn’t dead. 

Two: my sister watched too much news?

And Three:  Kendra somehow managed to do fake news before it was mainstream.

Besides her obvious artistic tendencies, Kendra has always had incredible physical prowess. She is a talented skier, she enjoys running, and is literally a world class paddler (PSA:  never call it rowing, or she will drown you) 

But like her art, her athleticism began much more humbly. When she was younger, Kendra wasn’t capable of walking like a human being.  For reasons only an 8 year old can understand, her and her friend wanted to be horses. Not to RIDE horses, but to BE horses.

At this point, Kendra probably doesn’t want me to elaborate on what I mean, so I will.  

This means offering to hitch yourself up to large logs in order to pull them like draft horses. It means perfecting your horse sounds. It also, more importantly, means walking and running on all fours, because real horses don't walk on two legs.

But this 4 legged walking doesn’t come easily, it takes practice and dedication. And they got good. And my dear sister, who excels in most things, also excelled in this. 

Over time, the two girls developed a loping kind of canter, a smooth-ish walk, and an ungainly but surprisingly quick gallop, all of which were done on all fours. And they were faster than you think. 

Again, since I can’t show you, you’ll need to imagine a young version of Kendra decked out in multi-coloured spandex, no small amount of neon, and a fanny pack, posing on all fours like the horse she believes is her spirit animal. The picture is out there…..

But for me, the best part of this was that over time they performed these moves so frequently that they would forget what they were doing and just drop into horse stance. Literally ANYWHERE.

 I would be walking home from school with Kendra and suddenly she would drop to all fours and run. Any time she ran there was at least a 40% chance that she would end the run as a horse.

The most memorable time was at the local ice rink. We were at public skating, just going around in circles and I guess at some point we achieved critical horse speed.  Out of nowhere Kendra dropped automatically into horse stance and tried to run. 

As you all know, ice isn't famous for it's traction, and horses don't wear ice skates. 

And just to make sure I wasn’t creating fake news, I googled it I can tell you that there are no horses on ice skates, although I was surprised to learn that there was at least one that roller skated. His name was Jimmy, and was quite famous in Ohio in the 1950’s.  

I would have put up his picture here, but you know. 

Anyway, these things, combined with not actually being a horse, created unsurprising disaster. My agile little sister face planted on the ice after taking about 2 to 3 loping attempts at a gallop in public. She wasn't hurt, and I enjoyed watching it immensely. 

Much like I’m enjoying retelling it now.  

It’s the gift that keeps on giving. 

Kendra also has a memory rivaled only by that of an elephant. No matter how insignificant the screw up, she will remember it.  I only mention this because she has been holding a grudge against me since she was 6.  

We were walking home from school one fall.  Kendra was picking up leaves, and I was making sure she didn’t walk into a tree while paying attention to the leaves.  She had a very singular focus in those days. 

She found a leaf she liked, which was basically like every other leaf on the ground, but she wanted this one. Instead of carrying it herself like a normal person, she assumed I was a willing pack horse and gave me the leaf to carry for her. 

It’s a well known fact in our family that my hands don’t generally stay still.  I will shred paper table clothes, play with crumbs on my plate, and apparently, I also unconsciously shred leaves that are handed to me for transport.  As she was off searching for more leaves identical to the one I was holding, I decimated the one she’d given me. 

Now, in my defense, I want it on the record that I did not do this intentionally, but the leaf was gone none the less.  And she has NEVER let me forget it. Ever. It comes up at least once every major family holiday, including when she told it at my wedding. 

But she will tell the story much differently than I do. The difference being that my version is true, and hers is a drama worthy of an academy award.

Click, a picture of Robert and Kendra together on top of a mountain has just appeared on your internal screens. It’s lovely. If only we could all see it…..

And so we’ve reached the part of the speech where as the maid of honour I’m supposed to say nice things about the groom. 

Robert, Rob, Bob, Bobert

Despite our weird habit of constantly trying to out-insult each other at every possible opportunity, I want to say welcome officially to the family.  We’re very happy to have you here. I for one appreciate that we can verbally abuse each other on a regular basis without mortally offending one another. It’s something I look for in a brother in law, and to date,  you’re the only one who’s had the ability to keep up with me. Well done. Although you may want to vary your insults a bit, some are getting a bit uncreative old man.

But I’ve known Robert for what has actually become a fair number of years now, and for those of you who’ve also known him for some time, you may remember that he used to have much longer hair. 

After meeting him for the first time, my uncle pointed out that in large part due to this mountain of hair, he looked a lot like the painter Bob Ross, who is well known both for his wild Afro, for painting happy little trees, and for turning mistakes into birds on canvas.  

Once again, you’ll need to close your eyes and imagine a split screen with an older picture of Robert side by side with one of Bob Ross. See….it’s uncanny. And I have a point to all this….

Ok, next slide. Nope, there isn't one. Maybe in your head? I'll leave it up to you.

Now imagine a Bob Ross painting, it’s trees, and mountains with a little lake between the peaks.  It’s probably dusk, but without the mosquitoes. And in the distance there are a couple of birds because at some point along the line, there was a paint splatter that was later reworked into….buzzards or something. 

It’s toast time. 

Kendra and Robert,

In the years that you have been together, I’ve seen each of you grow as individuals and as a couple. You’re both equally stubborn and passionate, which does make for some interesting battles over how much spice to add to a dish, the pros and cons of wearing plaid to a wedding, or which craft beer is better. It’s adorable and irritating in equal measure. 

Always keep in mind that marriage can have a lot of ups and downs, and it’s important to be honest about that. It’s not always easy, and you will probably have times where you consider the cost effectiveness of changing the locks while the other one is out. Don’t. But feel free to consider it. 

You will both make mistakes. You will both say things that you regret. And you will both feel tired and wonder what on earth you are doing together.   

But rather than letting those difficulties get the better of you, channel Bob Ross. Together you can turn your problems into happy little trees and your mistakes into birds, because that is marriage.  You take what each other brings to the canvas and you make a masterpiece together.   Congratulations