Friday, September 26, 2008


My earliest memory of Nicola, is she and I ages 8 and 5 respectively, stood on top of a rabbit hutch in the garden, huddled together for dear life and screaming, because our very unfriendly dog was snarling at us. I don't remember how long we were stuck there before we were rescued, but I do remember thinking; "We're in this for life, girl."

I can't think of a better way to open this celebratory speech in honor of my sister, than to talk of her loyalty, compassion and kindness - wherever I've been in the world I know that she's always been there with me. We've been booed off-stage together in Paris, we've been accused of shop lifting from the Cathedral gift-store in New York, we've convinced people in San Francisco that she was the Duchess of Wesham, and we've been stranded in London with no place to sleep and only a fiver between us. Usually this is all her fault, she's not very organised, but since she's my little sister I've always forgiven her. Well, except for the time she ate a multi-pack of Cadbury's creme eggs and put the papers in my room.

I say she's my little sister, because she's so short, but actually she's seven years older than me and as such she's taught me a few things over the years. She taught me a mnemonic to help me spell the word necessary; never eat chips eat salad sandwiches and raspberry yoghurt. She taught me that most important things to look for when buying diamonds are the three c's; cut, color and clarity. And she taught me (and all my friends at university in Berkeley) that if you light the bottom of your glass of booze you can inhale the fumes which really, really messes you up. It's called freebasing, isn't it? And honestly, all that advice has been invaluable to me.

Like every older sister should, she has been there for me since that day on top of the rabbit hutch in the back garden. When we were in High School, she kicked a particularly mean boy in the shins on my behalf, she played a chain smoking chambermaid in our Halloween show when she was six months pregnant with Isabelle, and one night a couple of years ago, she somehow saved me from getting arrested for underage drinking in Florida, when I insisted we walk down the freeway to TGI Friday's and order strawberry daiquiris.

That's not to say that I haven't been an equally incredible sibling to her; I have helped her disguise her outlandish Dorothy Perkins bills as necessary expenses. That is to say, whenever she spends more than she should she simply tells Michael; "Oh, it was JohnJoseph. He must have bought it all on my card, in my size, in my favourite color, without telling me. How strange, but you know what he's like."

But we're not here today to talk about my sister's impulse buying or personality disorder, sorry disorders, no. We are here to celebrate her as she becomes Mrs Nicola Dawn Euphrates Ypsilanti Darlington the Third. I remember when she first met Michael, well actually I don't because she had just taught me the trick about inhaling alcohol fumes, so that whole period is a blur, but for the sake of this speech "I remember when she first met Michael". The only other boyfriend I remember her having before him, was during her final year of junior school, but Michael was different. He was tall and knew how to fasten his shoelaces and didn't wear grey shorts everyday. Maybe this is what first caught her eye, I couldn't say, I wasn't there. I remember that she ditched the other boyfriend after a week, at age ten, because she said he was; "Sexist and racist and every other ist". She's always been strong-minded. Some people say hard-faced, but I say strong-minded. Famously, as a little girl, she would start debates with anyone and everyone, leading my poor old Grandad to decry; "You'd argue with Our Lord, you would."
"No I wouldn't," she said.

And so, in conclusion, I would like to toast the bride for her endless, loving nature, her incredible sense of humour, her loyalty, compassion and kindness and her horrible taste in music. I hope she takes these talents and qualities that have made her a somewhat above average sister, and uses them in her quest to be a suitably, quite alright, wife. If not, all I can say is that, she still doesn't really like dogs, and that rabbit hutch is still outside in the back garden. God save the Queen.

1 comment:

thejakeman said...

Wow. Nice speech. It contains a level of passion and interest that I couldn't really conjure for any particular person in my family, being an only child with divorced parents who have both kicked me out of their homes. But that is a story for another time. I could probably still write at length on the subject, but it would only be filled with distaste, or a subtle form of rancor. As people, I do like my parents well enough, but as parents, I quite hate them both.

I wish I could say I had other family to wax nostalgic on, But thanks to the odd stubbornness of my mother and geographic distance, I can't say I ever truly knew my extended family. Fortunately, as I'm on my own, I've been fortunate enough to rediscover my relatives through my own perspective, rather than the tainted bias of each parent of mine. Yes sir, I'm well on my way to forming my own bias regarding my family.

Best of luck to your sister and her new husband!