Sunday, June 16, 2019

Best Man Speech for Chike & Rachel

This is the pre-written version of the Best Man speech that I gave at Chike & Rachel's wedding last Saturday (6/8/19).  This does not include a few minor hand-written edits that I made that morning, nor a couple of lines that I ad-libbed during the actual speech.

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Before I start, I want to express my sincere thanks to everyone who was able to make it here today for this event.  My family and I are very happy to be able to share this day with you.

Chike

I want to start off by talking just a little bit about my dear brother Chike.  I apologize to those of you who are wanting to hear some funny stories about Chike as a kid, because I don’t really have any of those today - my memory isn’t exactly the greatest.  I will assert, though, that as the oldest brother, there definitely was a time that I could beat Chike up...I think...those days are long gone.  Or maybe it was just because I fought dirty as a kid.  Even with my hazy memory, I know that there was definitely a time when I was about 6 or 7 that I kicked Chike in the groin and made him pee blood.  Sooo...I’m hoping that he hasn’t been secretly plotting his revenge for 30 years.

But that is not to say that I ever worry about Chike hurting me.  As all of you know, he is a gentle giant.  Every time someone has realized that we were brothers, they have had nothing but the nicest things to say about Chike.  And it is all well deserved.

Growing up, I was a bit protective of both of my brothers, Chike and Nedu...in spite of a kick or two in the groin.  And I think this oldest-sibling-syndrome kept me from realizing for a long time just how remarkable a person that Chike is.  I knew he was a talented artist, but I was in denial for a long time that he could be as smart as I was when it comes to computers and technology.  But these days I am proud beyond words of how much success he has had in his career as a UX designer - already ascending to the ranks of director at (WWT) Asynchrony Labs.

On a personal level, I’m also happy with the relationship that Chike and I have.  We don’t need to say all that much to each other, but we have an understanding.  Although...there was this one time about 8 or 9 years ago when we were living together, and we both showed up to a mutual friend’s birthday party without knowing that the other person was going to be there.  Hmmm...perhaps we need to work on our communication just a little, tiny bit.

Kidding aside, I’m so happy and proud to have you, Chike, as a brother.  And I’m thankful that you have been able to step up to fill my absence since I moved to New York.  I know you’re definitely better at providing mom emotional support than I am, and I suspect perhaps also at tech support.

Rachel

There was always something about Chike and Rachel’s relationship that led me to believe that it would work.  Rachel has always been there for Chike, and the rest of us, both in good times and in bad.  The same can be said for her mom, Patricia, who has graciously hosted not just Chike, but myself and my mom at their holiday gatherings.  When my dad died, Rachel and her family showed up for every memorial event that we had.  It’s inarguable to say that Rachel comes through in the clutch.  A couple of years ago when Chike was setting up the smart thermostat in their house, he ran into some trouble with some wiring in a very tight space in their furnace.  Needless to say, Rachel put aside her bemusement with his technological antics, and came through with a slender, but quite literal, helping hand.

But, in seriousness, it’s been clear to many of us that this wedding was inevitable.  I remember, on the day of my dad’s funeral, talking with some family members from out of town who were impressed by how much support Rachel and her family had shown during that time.  I particularly remember my Uncle Ezy who made it absolutely clear that he knew that Rachel was the one for Chike.  After describing his observations, he summed it up by saying: “Chike, that woman is an Orjih.”  And I couldn’t agree more.

Toast

Finally...I want to wrap this up by proposing a toast.  But before I do that I cannot forget to express my gratitude for perhaps the most important thing about this wedding.  Chike...I want to thank you...for taking the pressure off me...to make my mom a mother-in-law and a grandmother.  Here’s to Chike and Rachel, and their beautiful babies.

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