My sister is getting married tonight to her long-time boyfriend, John. It’s pretty emotional, obviously…hard for me to have a cogent thought on it.
I gave the toast last night at the rehearsal dinner. It went something like this.
Hi there, I’m John, Julie’s brother. A lot of people think we look similar, but I’m the one with the better hair, if you get confused.
Welcome to our city! Thank you all so much for coming. Whether you crossed an ocean or the continent, braved a blizzard roaring across central Indiana, or just took a taxi from your condo on the Gold Coast, we’re all so glad you’re here. It’s an amazing celebration, this union of two families, joining into one with John and Julie at the center, isn’t it?
Watching John and Julie together for a couple years—or three, actually five, I think now, John? Is that right?—it’s clear how much they love each other. One sign is their constant use of terms of endearment. “Can you refill my cabernet, honey?” “That shirt looks great on you, sweetie.” “I think your brother is drunk again, dear.”
But over time, they’ve also learned to use those words like married veterans do, with just slight changes of inflection. “I cleaned the litter box last time, honey.” “Yes, I do know which exit we should have gotten off at, sweetie.” “Well, don’t blame me, you voted for him, dear.”
It’s obvious these people get each other, are so clearly right for each other. It’s always amazing to me when two souls find their perfect matches. So many things have to go just right to get to this point in space and time, so many coincidences have to line up just so. It’s a miracle of sorts that they found each other in this universe, and that we’re all here together tonight. It’s enough to make you think maybe it’s not a coincidence at all, maybe it’s something like fate.
It’s a reason to celebrate. It’s a reason to raise our glasses.
As we do, I will tell you I looked for a pithy quote about Chicago and love, but everything I found was from Algren and Sandburg and they were all about hog butchering and wheat stacking and coal-stained skies and steel cables. Doesn’t fit this romantic, lovely occasion, nor does it fit the beautiful city around us, this sleek city of architecture and art.
But along that line, I did find a quote from an artist deeply associated with Chicago, the great modernist Marc Chagall. Maybe you’ve seen his Four Seasons mosaic just down the street, or America Windows at the Art Institute. He said, “In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love. “
To love, to lovers, to John and Julie. Cheers.