Sunday 1 November 2009

My toasts given at two events

I have attended many marriage, birthday, anniversary, appreciation and company events in which I have been asked to be a guest speaker giving the main toast. One thing I have learned about giving a toast and that is; make them laugh. I hope you will find my toasts amusing.

I gave this speech for my best friends, Felix and Mirella MATIZ at Probe Paralegal Christmas dinner on December 1st 1990 at Ramada Inn, in Toronto.

I want to thank Felix and Mirella for inviting Ayako and I to this dinner tonight. We haven't eaten this well since Felix directed us to the food bank.

One day Felix took me to a high class restaurant where waiting forever for service was part and parcel to eating at such establishments. Finally I motioned to the waiter and when he came to our table, I asked for pen and paper. When he asked why I wanted these items, I told him that I had given up all hope of ever seeing my dinner and I wanted to write a will and leave my dinner to my heirs.

When I was working for Felix, he sent me out to serve a divorce petition on a woman in Barrie. The woman had called our office to say that she would accept service of the document if we would drop by her house. Well, as you know, Felix forgets things sometimes but in this case, he finally remembered that the woman was waiting to be served the petition.

I arrived at her house and just as I rung the buzzer, she hollered for me to come in as the door was unlocked. When I followed her voice, she was in the living room. She said, "Thank God you're here. I'm just about to give birth to a baby." I replied, "Madam, if you're about to give birth to a baby, why did you call our office to serve you with the divorce petition?"

She looked at me rather funny like and asked, "Are you from Probe Paralegal?" I replied that I was. "She said, "Hell. When I called your Mr. Matiz, I wasn't even pregnant."

How many of you have ever taken a drive in a car driven by Felix and lived to tell about it?

Recent accident statistics show that 75 % of all car accidents are the result of drivers hugging too close to the curves. If Felix would stop hugging these curvy women he picks up every day, he wouldn't have these accidents.

Ford Motors has just recently completed a multi-million dollar proving ground so that they can give their new cars the acid test for durability and staying power. They could have save themselves a lot of money if they just gave their cars to Felix for the weekend.

I have often wondered what is the shortest possible period of time between one event and another. I discovered it while riding with Felix. It's when the light changes to green and Felix honks his horn at the driver ahead of him to get going.

One day Felix was stopped by a cop and asked for his name. Felix thinking that he may have an outstanding parking ticket, decided to give the cop a phony name so he told him that he was John Smith.

The cop snarled, "Don't give me that old phony name routine. Practically everybody I stop comes out with that phony name. Give me something more believable." Without a moment's hesitation, Felix gave his name as William Shakespere. The cop looked at him and replied, That's better. You can't fool me with that John Smith stuff."

Did you ever realize that the most commonest part of a car that causes most accidents is the nut behind the wheel?

As you all know, Felix and Mirella go on cruise ships for their holidays and I spoke with a fellow passenger who told me a bit about Felix and Mirella and their trips.

It seems that one night while they were cruising in the Carribean, a heavy fog covered the main deck of the ship but it didn't quite reach the bridge. Felix wanted to impress the captain with his knowledge of navigation so he offered some advice to the captain. He suggested that the captain might aim for the stars. The captain replied, "I would, my boy but I don't think I can get our boilers to fire up that much."

I once asked Felix what the difference was between valor and being smart. He replied, "Well, the first time we went on a cruise ship, not once did we tip anyone. That's valor. The second time we went on a cruise, we took another cruise ship. That's being smart."

When Felix and Mirella ate at one of the fancy restaurants on one of the Islands they visited a restaurant with soft lights and a small orchestra. They were a bit confused by the menu since it was written in Spanish. Nevertheless, Felix wanted to impress Mirella by giving the impression that he could read Spanish so he looked at the menu and picked what he wanted by pointing his finger at one of the entrees on the menu. The waiter responded with--" Sir, the orchestra is already playing that piece now."

Well we all know by now that Felix and Mirella had a baby boy. That's quite a trick when you think of it. Not for Mirella---for Felix.

The way that baby cries, I'm not surprised that he's referred to in the Matiz household as the prince of wails.

Of course you would cry to if you were bald, didn't have your teeth and couldn't get up in the morning to go to the bathroom. I'm speaking of Felix of course.

Felix has never been the father of a boy before so he wasn't sure what a baby boy looked like. When Mirella came home from the hospital, he picked up the little bundle from the crib and carried it about the house for hours. Chrissy ran to Mirella and complained. Finally Mirella couldn't take it any more so she called out to him. "Felix. You've been carrying Chrissy's doll around the house long enough. Return it to her."

I overheard Chrissy ask Mirella where the fire goes when it goes out. Mirella relied, "Beats me. You might as well ask me where your father goes when he goes out."

Now that Mirella has a baby, she realizes just how much she is in a changing world.

Well, Mirella, as a father of two children, I can assure you that what is an armful today will be a handful tomorrow.

Mirella. You will soon discover that babies are angels whose wings will grow shorter as their legs grow longer.

My wife wanted a son but they were out of stock. We had to settle for girls. Well, they are damn lucky. They could have ended up with my body and my wife's brains.

Somehow I think I am going to pay for that little joke.

We wish you both many happy years with your new son.

I gave this speech during the fiftieth wedding aniversary of Retta & Robert BRAITHWAITE on May 21st 1993

Bob and Retta are two of my oldest friends. In fact the more I think of it, I don't think I have any other friends that are older than Bob and Retta. In fact, I don't think anyone has any friends that are older than Bob.

Actually, they say that age creeps up on a woman but it has never really caught up to Rella. She still looks like a young woman; in her eighties.

I should talk. I must be getting real old. The women I meet on the street nowadays look younger than they really are.

Mind you, growing old has one major advantage. You never have to do it all over again.

Fifty years of marriage. That's a long time to be in love with one's spouse. It's not likely that anyone else in this room has been married to their spouse as long as fifty years. And in fact, many of the people in this room here tonight are not in a position to even think back fifty years. I can however. In 1943, I was ten years old.

If you think 1993 is a tough year, then obviously you weren't around in 1943. That was a tough year. We were in the middle of the Second World War. Food, gasoline, silk stockings, beer, rubber condoms---they were all rationed. We had to do without all of that if our ration stamps were all used up. Well, at ten years of age---I didn't wear silk stockings and I didn't need the gasoline---I didn't drive a car then. I know what’s on your mind about the condoms. If you think I am going to elaborate further with this aspect of my young life---you're in for a disappointment.

A lot of unfortunate things happened in 1943. The famous black scientist, George Washington Carver died as did the renown composer, Sergi Rachmaninoff. Canned food and leather shoes were rationed that year. Millions were being killed in the war.

Mind you, many good things happened that year also. For the first time in the war, Canadian troops finally landed on enemy territory. Trans Canada Airlines made its first non-stop Atlantic crossing. Come to think of it--it would have to be non-stop wouldn't it. That was the year the Polymer Corporation in Sarnia produced for the first time, synthetic rubber-- which meant no ration stamps needed for rubber you-know-whats. That didn't having any effect on Bob of course--he still had plenty of ration stamps left for those rubber things. He bought extra ration stamps for those items from fellow soldiers. Mind you, Bob knew what these things were called---he just didn't know what they were used for.

Bob, as you all know, was a soldier in the Second World War. No one has really been sure of what his rank was however. To Retta, he was a colonel---to his colonel, he was a private.

Being in the armed forces and undergoing combat training certainly prepares a man for marriage. Bob has always boasted that he took his combat training to heart.

When Bob first proposed marriage to Retta, he promised her that if she married him, she would see what he was really like. Well she married him and six months later, she regained her eyesight and she then saw for the first time, what Bob really looked like. It has been said that with blindness, comes bliss. After looking at Bob for the first time, Rella must have missed her blindness.

Naturally with any successful marriage, accidents happen and accidents have been known to make people.

First, there was Brian. It was through Brian that I came to know and love Rella and Bob. Brian always reminds me of the Timex watch. Takes a lickin and keeps on tickin.

Then came Valery who later gave up being the vice president of CBC or whatever to marry her husband. Now she runs the finest restaurant in Canada. How do I know that? Because she told me that.

And when you think of food, you also think of Victor. Wherever there is food---there is Victor. And what a cushy job he has. He's in charge of the food supplies at the Sheraton Hotel. That's like putting a fox in charge of the hen house.

Cecil of course is a gas fitter. Rumour has it that his boss came upon him smoking on the job. His boss yelled, "You ain't supposed to be smoking while you're working on the job." Cecil replied. "Whose working?"

Now we all know of course that Dianne is a famous playwrite. What some of you may not know is that Dianne teaches theatre at York University. Alas, Dianne is learning the hard way that often the worst behaved student is the one with the perfect attendance record.

And finally there is Charlene. When I first saw her, she was a little girl who began dancing as soon as the first musical note of a song was heard. After the song was over, she was jumping up and down in frustration. The ice cream was just out of reach. Dianne still jumps up and down. She has three kids of her own. Having three kids at the ages her kids are at, is enough to make any mother jump up and down---in frustration.

I better quit now but before I do, I want to say these few words for Rella and Bob.

The bonds of marriage are like any savings bonds. They get better as they mature. They have learned that great secret of marriage---that is to treat all disasters as mere incidents and the incidents as mere inconveniences.

My wife, Ayako and I will be celebrating our 17th wedding anniversary a week this coming Saturday. As an interesting side note. Bob and Rella were at our wedding and Bob was the man who gave Ayako away. He tried to sell Ayako to me but I wouldn't take his offer. Actually I would have paid for Ayako however,I just held out until Bob finally gave up and gave her away.

For any couple to stay married as long as seventeen years is considered fortunate these days but to remain married for fifty years is indeed rare. It proves that old belief that it is possible for a married couple to have their heaven on earth----and Rella and Bob have shared their heaven on earth with each other for the past fifty years.

I want to give you a toast to a couple who not only have loved each other for the past fifty years, but in that same time frame, their love for each other has made their hearts beat as one and their minds think as one. And they have shared some of their love with the rest of us so that we have all become---one happy family. They deserve our admiration, our praise and our love.

Ladies and gentlemen---to Rella and Bob

After the day I gave that speech, Bob died a number of years later. My wife and I at the time of this writing have been married 34 years.

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