One of the first things that popped into my head when Sarah asked me to be her Matron of Honor was my toast. I do not like speaking in front of a large group of people. It is one of my biggest fears and even though I had to do it several times throughout high school and college, I've never fullen gotten over my fear. So for months now I've given a lot of thought to what I wanted to say and how it was possible to sum it up in just a few minutes.
The first time I wrote my toast it was close to three pages long. As the weeks went by it grew shorter and shorter because I knew I couldn't bore Sarah and Clark's guests to tears with a recap of our friendship over the past fourteen years. As of last Thursday when we boarded the plane to fly home to Charlotte I still hadn't finalized my speech. I worked on it during the flight and told myself that I would make my final changes once I got home and had an opportunity to jot some bullet points down on an index card. Well what do you know, that moment never came. From the time we landed in Charlotte I went full speed ahead and before I knew it I was standing in the ballroom at the Charlotte City Club Saturday night staring at Mr. Burrill as he gave his toast.
Wait a minute. How did this moment get here so quickly? I'm not ready! I didn't realize that once Sarah and Clark were introduced at the beginning of the reception that they would cut the cake, have their toasts, dance their first dance and then have the best man and matron of honor's toasts. As I mentioned at the beginning of my toast, I thought I'd have a little more time to have a few glasses of wine and get a little "liquid courage." I stood by Kim absolutely freaking out. I must have said I wasn't ready a million times. I think Kim was close to kicking me to the front of the room by the time Mr. Burrill finished his toast. I honestly can't even remember half of Mr. Burrill's toast (except the words "then I heard she slept with a lobbyist!") because I was so nervous. So as Mr. Burrill closed, I took a deep breath and headed to the front of the room. My saving grace was the fact that the lights were so bright I could hardly see anyone in the crowd, except for Sarah. I locked eyes on her and she eased my way through the entire thing. She laughed when I wanted people to laugh and she made comments all along the way that eased my nerves.
As I got towards the end of my toast I started to choke up. My heart started racing and I knew there was no way I could finish without bursting into tears. At that moment I couldn't remember what I wanted to say and I can't really remember what came out of my mouth. All I know is I wrapped things up as quickly as possible and walked to the middle of the room where Sarah was standing.
Since I wasn't able to give my entire toast I would like to take this time to do so.
Here we go......
I'd like to take a minute to think back to 1996. The cost of a gallon of gas was $1.22. Bill Clinton was elected to his second term as President of the United States. The 26th Summer Olympics were held in Atlanta, GA. The Yankees won the World Series. The Cowboys won the Superbowl. Some of the movie hits that year were Twister, Mission Impossible, Romeo & Juliet and Jerry Maguire. The Spice Girls took over the music scene, but most importantly it was the year Sarah and I first met.
That was a little over 14 years ago. I didn't realize it had been that long until I started thinking about what I wanted to say tonight and began counting back the years.
Sarah and I first became friends running the hallways of McClintock Middle School as ninth graders. Eventually those hallways led us to East Meck where we graduated together with the class of 2000. We made great memories over those years but nothing brought us closer than college.
Some of you may be surprised to know that neither one of us wanted to go to NC State. For various reasons we had our hearts set on attending different colleges but thanks to our parents we both ended up packing our bags and heading to Raleigh in the summer of 2000. I believe it only took us a matter of hours before we first met up on campus. We rushed the same sorority that fall and were so close that we had the same big sister. We lived on opposite ends of the campus but Sarah's roommate's boyfriend went to a different school so she left every weekend. I would pack my bags every Thursday and hike across campus to stay with Sarah in UT. We learned to incorporate Chick-fil-a into at least one meal a day every day of the week, except for Sunday. We were so desperate to go shopping one afternoon that we decided to take the city bus to the mall. Lets just say that this wasn't the brightest idea because we didn't return from the mall until 9:00p.m.
Our sophomore year Sarah and I moved into the sorority house and lived in a room the size of a shoe box. If you know either one of us well you know that we love clothes and shoes, so how the two of us managed to live in that room together with all of our belongings and make it out with everything is a miracle. The two of us always looked forward to Mr. Burrill's big, white truck pulling up because we knew were finally getting to go to a nice meal out! We also mastered the art of tailgating and learned it was a necessity to invest in a good pair of cowboy boots.
Our junior year we thought it would be a good idea to live on Brent Rd. We also managed to sweet talk both of our Dad's into paying for our spring break trip to Acapulco and if you were to ask us to this day if we would return we would both simply tell you, no.
And our senior year, lets just say that we managed to go out every single night of the week for most of the year. With that said, we did graduate in exactly four years! As you can see, Sarah and I did everything together for four years. We graduated and moved back to Charlotte and tried putting off getting a real job for as long as possible. Sarah was the first one to take the leap and I eventually followed but in a completely different direction. I accepted a job opportunity in Washington, DC and moved away in January 2005.
I think most people would agree that distance is a true test to any relationship. If you can be seperated by hundreds of miles and still remain best friends then you know what you have is special. Even though Sarah and I may go days, weeks or months without a phone call we can always pick up right where we left off.
Sarah and Clark, I am so happy for the two of you. I wish you love and happiness over the months and years to come. Sarah, thank you for being such a wonderful friend to me over the years. I love you dearly and I promise that one day we won't have so many miles seperating us.
I love you both. Cheers to Sarah and Clark!