The wedding dinner settled down as he tapped his glass with his fork. He took a card out of his suit jacket. He’d practiced, and learned the best words for this moment. He took a big sip of water, took a glance at the newlyweds, and leaned forward to speak into the microphone.
“When I was a kid I didn’t have much. I just grew up in one of those families where the only things you looked forward to inheriting was sorrow – the future I saw in front of me was workin’ at a shit town Pick and Save in a wrinkled red schmock dreaming of the day I’ll get promoted to Assistant Manager.
Sorry for the language, I’m not a very good public speaker.
Randall and I met our junior year at Haber High playin’ football. Ya’ll know his story – the glory, the Heisman. but what I got when I met Randall was someone who believed that everyone,”
He paused, embarrassed at being emotional,
“Believed everyone was capable of glory. He said to me once – early on – and I’m paraphrasin’ a bit – bare with me, ‘It’s easy to count your problems. but lets make a deal, goin’ forward, every time you mention a problem, also mention a blessing in your life. Try to see if that will add light to your troubles and hopefully make them less of a hassle. Think of it as a sorta contagious optimism.”
Many of ya’ll don’t know this – but Randall stayed up with me late nights to study – so I could score that extra percent to make me eligible to go to State. It was Randall who said to coach, the only one I want protecting me on the field is #22.
I’m not a smart man – but I’m a good man because of my friendship with Randall – and now – his new bride Kara. I am so unworthy of standing back there in that church in the best man spot.” he said with a second pause, “Such a special thing for him to ask me to do.
Leave it to Randall to fall in love with the only member of the State student body who had never been to a football game. I’ll tell you as soon as they met though – that it was something miraculous. There was such an ease between them. I mean – I watch the two of them and I know the incredible parents they are going to – the world their children will grow up in.. but heck, that’s all getting ahead of ourselves a bit, huh.
Let’s all raise our glasses then.”
He finally said, turning to face the newlyweds, a big wide smile spreading across his face, “Mr. and Mrs, friends and family, teammates – – lets raise our glasses in a grateful toast to contagious optimism.”