The Full-Length Best Man Speech
Marc was actually able to do his speech before our run to the hospital. However, the speech he delivered was far shorter than the one he wrote, with the help of many of the guests. The following is the full-length speech. Whenever there is a [comment], that is Marc's statement. Enjoy!
Lily, as Jonathan's big brother and best man, I think there are a few things you should know about him. I've done a little research and contacted many family and friends as to the nature of his character. In performing this research, I inquired about things good and things awkward. I expect that you will know much of this, but there may be a few characteristics that you are unaware; characteristics that might help you to better understand your common future.
So, let's construct a social image of Jonathan...
I have just a few quotes here...
Never mind the overall size of this stack of cards... this won't take but three hours...
< QUOTES >
Ridwan Obaray wrote:
I suppose the first thing that comes to mind is [Jon's] neo-classical interpretation of Charlie Brown in 1990's smash musical "You're a Good Man Charlie Brown" and Mr. McQuade [Jon's high school math teacher] calling him "a depressed polynomial."
As for the good guy part, it's hard to sum up in a single moment. I guess mine is a very personal one - he came with me many moons ago and was one of the first people to meet a new girl I was seeing - who eventually turned out to be my fiancee (we're getting married this summer). His friendship and support was incredible as I was trying to figure things out - I'll always treasure that and it's a consummate Jonathan Evans thing to do.
From David Evans:
He's an amazingly great guy for us becoming friends based solely on the "alphabet."
Has Lilly seen his comic book collection? It's pretty big, or at least I thought so when I first saw his room. Which was messy.
He is definitely one of the easiest guys I know to laugh with.
I could think of some stories if I tried hard enough, but I don't have any that would suitable I think. Hopefully Jon's aplomb with women has advanced since my twin sister climbed out of a bathroom window to avoid him at a middle school dance. That's probably one of the not suitable stories though.
Jason (and Meredith Adler) wrote:
Good: His Junior year pad became notorious for movie marathons. Some of which involved drinking...
Good: He was an amazing co-RA for one of the best halls that Danawell has ever seen.
Good: He puts everything aside to help a friend in need.
Good+Awkward: He's a master procrastinator. I can't recall how many papers Jonathan did the night, morning and minutes before it was due. This was also good because I had someone to talk to while I finished up my papers.
Good+Awkward: This guy picks up friends like an old dog picks up fleas. [Lily'll] have to be willing to share his big heart with a larger universe than most spouses.
Melanie Carlson wrote:
The first thought that came to mind about Jonathan after your email was: "Hopelessly helpful."
I think this explains both his best and most awkward moments. You can always count on Jonathan as a friend to honor that friendship, do right by others, give in any way he can muster, offer whatever he has available, and consider the feelings of other people far more than his own. In a nugget, he always tries to help out, regardless of the predicament he may find himself in as a result. :)
Mike Casel wrote:
- wearing a milkmaid outfit
- being chased out of Oklahoma by a hick on a motorcycle with a shotgun
- thesis about Star Wars
- the largest laundry bag I've ever seen in my life
Daniel Gottlieb wrote:
When I think of Jon, I think of "commitment issues".
Not the kind of commitment issues a great woman like Lily would have to worry about, of course. The kind of commitment issues that department heads across Swarthmore College had to worry about on a weekly basis from 1992 - 1996.
I have it on good authority that Jon changed majors 27 times in four years. One week, he majored in four different things, including the same thing twice non-consecutively. He majored in Philosophy, Religion, Ecology, Philosophy of Religion, Religious Ecology, and Ecology of Philosophy. He created three entirely new majors, none of which had ever been seen on campus, and none of which he completed. He majored in Physics, until he slept through a Physics test.* Hey, it happens.
A more generous person would comment on Jon's omnivorous mind and his inability to limit the scope of his intellectual boundaries. I'm not quite generous enough to come to that conclusion, but you are of course welcome to do so ... :-)
*I have it on good authority that this is completely true. The prior sentences contain slight exaggerations.
From Bosnia, Natasha Franceschi wrote:
I remember talking to Jonathan the night before he went out with Lily. He was living in DC, working for Booz-Allen, and Lily had invited him to the Annual Roll Call Congressional Baseball Game. Jonathan spent a lot of time hemming and hawing about whether or not to go. As he put it, "How can I date Megan (Smith)'s roommate?!?"
For the record, Megan's recent response to this was: " That's OK, I told Lily that she should, under no circumstances, DATE Jonathan. I just thought she needed to get some...."
All of us from Swarthmore also figured that Lily's hair color must have played a role in Jonathan's initial reluctance to date Lily, for as we know, this is a man who only dates--or at least until Lily only dated---redheads.
Megan Smith wrote:
Well, would it be inappropriate for us to express surprise that Jonathan is not marrying a redhead?
Did you know that Lily is not the first girl I set Jonathan up with? Our first year at Swat my best friend came to visit, but ended up spending more time with him than with me....
Jon used to come down to get us for dinner every night. But often we'd be napping. He'd (sometimes knock) and just come in. It took us forever to convince him that he couldn't just come in. (That was when I lived with Heather, and then there's that whole "Jen" chapter.....
From Jonathan's cousin, John (III) -
Great Moment: This actually involves both of you...I was probably 8 or 9 and we were staying at the Sea Shell Motel in LBI. You know this story...your mother and my mother went drinking and left us to fend for ourselves. It poured rain, no one would deliver us pizza, and we ate Cheerios and watched TV in the motel room. At some point we drove out and around but everything was flooded and as I recall the breaks in the old buick failed. Anyway after you went to bed and I was pretty much out Jon stayed up until they came home...there was some yelling to the effect of "where have you been?! do you know what time it is!? ..."
We also spent a lot of funny times at the beach...waking up TB with the legos, or faking the lottery numbers, etc...
Awkward moment: I don't know that he and I ever had a real awkward moment (at least that I can remember or that I would share at a wedding), but he used to get so much shit for his array of girlfriends (what was the statistic about the number of them with middle name of Anne?). It usually came up while at lunch, and always turned him bright red...consistently this was something that came up when he was around (I think my dad used to bring it up most often). There were two memorable ones...the horseback rider from high school, and was it Jennifer the one that was hunt's first nanny?
Sylvia Morrison wrote:
Marc...what a nice idea you've had!
My best memory is of both you and Jonathan...the summer you came to CA with your mother and rode in the back seat of my car with Catherine and Richard, from Sacramento to the Redwoods to Yosemite, without complaint! And, then you all hiked all the way to Vernal Falls and then to the top of Nevada Falls. And, then, you swam in the very cold Merced River. Jonathan was a very good sport for a 9-year-old! He's still a good sport.
[I should add that Jonathan nearly fell off that trail. Which brings to mind a glacial ice cliff in Norway, off of which he did fall off. Jonathan was not afraid of exploring. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be that Jonathan didn't know he was exploring, he was just going.]
Jonathan's Aunt Robbie wrote:
An early memory of Jonathan was when Uncle John and I babysat both you guys while your mom was busy with the Hospital Fete. Your mom had warned us that Jonathan wasn't big on green vegetables but I didn't expect him to hold the both the peas and the chicken between his teeth and cheek for quite as many hours as he did.....like til the next day!
[I'm afraid that there's a bit of memory blending in this story. Jonathan did indeed hate green vegetables. He could only eat them if he could follow it up with a shot of milk. A most grotesque scene was him gagging on the vegetables, backwashing them into his milk, and mom assuring him that he would not be leaving the table until he had drank that milk. Oh, and the chicken in the cheeks - that was me - and I could indeed keep it there for many hours. Ahhhh... The Griffith will power.]
And, of course, Jonathan was always the one responsible for your mom's camera and it's idiosyncrasies. To wit:
JONATHAN! Where's my camera?
beep, beep, beep
JONATHAN! This camera's not working!!
beep, beep, beep
[At holidays, or whenever the family bush got together, a large percentage of our clan would have their own cameras. This always boggled my brother's and my mind because we're all family members - why couldn't we share the pictures rather than having to each take our own pictures? We were blinded by flashes for our earliest years. I thought no one took pictures like this family until I met my wife's family. Now, for some reason, in our family Mom took more pictures than anyone. Rather, she wanted to. When it was a picture moment, Mom would go looking for her camera, and when she couldn't find it, she blamed it on Jonathan. Then, when she found it, the camera would beep and whine, but it would not take a picture. She would blame it on Jonathan. I suppose he was just picture perfect but he secretly didn't want his soul to be sapped.]
And let's not forget the time he sent your mom a video of himself bungee jumping in Australia...as her Christmas gift.
[The bungee jumping requires further explanation - I shall comment on this a little later as it has been mentioned by others.]
Mary Grace Royal wrote:
...the day he showed up in Princeton Junction "sans" hair sent your mother into a tail spin.
[I must admit, Jonathan 'bald' was literally a scary sight. Jonathan had evidence of this. He told me that with bald held, and trench coat, and sunglasses; he went to a football game and sat down near a family (parents and little kids). Shortly after Jon sat down, they moved away. ]
The video I watched with your mother of his bungee jump in Australia...thank heavens this was not known before it happened.
[See, I told you this was mentioned again. It turns out that this was a traumatic an event for Mom as it was Jonathan. While Jonathan was on the far side of the world, he sent back a mysterious videotape. Once on, we witnessed Jonathan hurl himself off a bridge and plummet 250 feet into a rocky white water gorge. He did this twice, doing the sign of the crucifix on his second go. This was Mom's Christmas gift. Mom was traumatized. A few years later Jonathan admitted to me that he too was traumatized, and he still suffers from elements of that jump today. Personally, I found it funny. Especially seeing him hanging upside down and being hauled into the recovery boat like a large tuna.]
Spending a Sunday on 2nd avenue in NYC moving Jonathan, double parked in a rental van while the traffic whizzed by...unloading and hauling the furniture up a very narrow flight of stairs!
[I won't expand on the NY apartment, other than to say it was situated upstairs from a bad sea food restaurant.]
Jonathan's Aunt Betsy wrote:
[This one is one of those stories I feel a little uncomfortable reading. Only a little.]
I'll never forget the Christmas when we thought Jonathan was lonely and needed a girlfriend so we, actually Uncle John, (who always wanted one of his own) gave him a blowup Ruth. Well she was quite pretty in her maid's outfit and Auntie Lee just did not know what to make of her. I can hear her laughing now. Jonathan loved Ruth and, in fact, took her to a wedding with him. Oh, he was so proud of his woman...so much that at the airport he was asked to open his luggage for inspection and...well...there was Ruth in all her glory.
[I'm a little fuzzy on this last bit. I believe the airport confiscated Ruth without Jon's knowledge. Or so he claims. Let us all just accept that Ruth never left the airport. I wonder if that airport was near the landfills of northern Jersey.]
Donna and Bill Cartwright wrote:
When we visited Jonathan in his apartment on Wisconsin Ave. his television was huge and dominated the apartment. Then he went to London and took our address temporarily. Besides his mail, he left his TV with us, and we became completely accustomed to the joy of a big screen TV. So when he returned and took his TV back, we had to buy one for ourselves. So that is why we have a 32" TV, a subscription to netflix to watch movies, and four remote controls.
[Jonathan's big TV was one of the largest CRT's you could/can buy on the market. It was Sony's first Wega system. Jon had just gotten a job at Booz Allen and I had just shown him an article from Popular Science of a new Sony TV that the magazine referred to as HDTV-lite. A couple of days after seeing the article Jon invited me to see his micro apartment. I walked in and saw that he was paying rent to house this gargantuan TV. It should be noted that he's always been a technology trendsetter. He did the soft sell on the Cartwrights, and also on us - for Kari and I acquired a Wega TV fairly recently though it still does not match Jon's TV in size or capability.]
Jonathan's sister-in-law, Kari wrote:
I do not have a particular awkward moment in mind to relate about Jonathan. Instead, when I think of Jonathan, I think of great joy, an exuberant personality, a caring friend, the unfortunate butt of some good-natured stories, a kindred spirit in pursuit of a fabulous movie experience, and someone I absolutely want on my team when playing Trivial Pursuit: Pop Culture edition.
When I think of Jonathan, I get a loving smile on my face. I see a warm fuzzy guy who is kind... and has a heart full of compassion. I always know where Jonathan sat at my dinner table by the crumbs I find on the rug.
[Leaving trails of food have always been a unique trade mark of Jonathan. Jon always embarked on eating certain foods with gusto. The crumbs must have come from bread or cookies, which were favorites of Jonathan's. So too was ice cream. He left trails of ice cream consumption as well. Remarkably, when he was much younger, when Jon and I were treated to ice cream cones, I almost never had any drips that I let go - why waste the chocolate? Jonathan, remarkably, with one cone, could get the ice cream on his shirt, pants, socks, and shoes.]
In addition to being compassionate, jolly, bright and competent; how can you forget his endearing characteristics? Wendy and I always knew where Jonathan sat because of the crumbs. He got my "messy" gene, so I am very comfortable when we stay at his place.
But beyond that, let me expand on compassionate. He reaches out to everyone. One small example is that when he was living in San Francisco, he would, at Thanksgiving, make a turkey with all the trimmings and drive up to my Dad's place, 4 hrs north to serve him. When my Dad, Jonathan and myself got together, we'd play cribbage and just laugh and laugh. My Dad died last year and I know he will never forget those times; he told me that while he was in the hospital.
And when I see Jonathan, it is one big hug and a great smile and a lot of kidding each other about our "interesting" genetics... And he calls frequently, just to check on us (and then has to indulge my technology questions). Great guy! And I love him deeply.
Mom wrote and commented:
"raising Jonathan" was a wonderful adventure...it was filled with those days of laughter and tears that some mothers have the good fortune to experience...but I had such a wonderful share of "adventures" (not all without their stress...but all WONDERFUL, none the less).
There were animals...a rabbit that lived in the kitchen until Thumper ate the bottoms off the cabinets...but he was trained to kitty litter, then we built the hutch...and then Mackie and Nova entered our lives...and Mackie the terrier managed to try to consume Thumper on Good Friday.....Wonderful.....and Larry was called and immediately responded by getting the rabbit away from the dog...and spent the rest of the night having Thumper repaired at the only vet in the world that was open on Good Friday! ...after Mackie and Nova, there was Callie and Snowball....and so even when Jonathan left home for good, I still had pets to remind me of the wonders of my son!!!...
There were also sports teams and injuries and blackeyes...and hurt fingers and many, many trips to the emergency room with possible broken bones....
There was music...and getting the cello to school on a school bus (NO WAY)...and the Saxophone (of course the biggest one ever dreamed of)...and then there was choir and singing and trips and tense moments of a solo or two.
There was drama and the stunning recognition of this mom and the family...that this child was truly at home on the stage. He wasn't even acting...You're a good man Charlie Brown...Jonathan was just himself.
Trips:...Jonathan who can't learn a foreign language could use a CB in Swedish...and Uncle John and skiing in sun valley (where does one find ski boots to rent for size 14 feet with orthodics)...?
Music, adventure, love, laughter and tenderness....tears and laughter...all the lovely opportunities of childhood and youngman hood. Jonathan (and Marc), thanks for raising your mom so well.
< A FEW MORE MEMORIES >
Now, Lily, you should have a decent perspective about Jonathan that has been conveyed by friends and family. I should add a few stories of my own.
My relationship to this fellow was initially quite combative. Periodically, the combat was set aside for play. But even that had an element of competition.
While there are many examples of this the game of Risk is perhaps a superb example as any. In the early days of playing this game with family members, Jonathan became fed up with loosing, and in his last youthful risky battle, he tossed the world and its armies from the table onto the Elysian plains of the dining room floor. Years went by, brotherly relations warmed, and Jonathan practiced Risk till he could master it. When, after many years, we settled down for another game, Jonathan beat his older brother. Indeed, now, I am fairly certain he will always beat me at that game. So, Lily, Jonathan is the supreme player of the game of risk. Be warned if you ever wish to challenge him in it. But just as I can admit that he can beat most at that game, I would recommend never entering him into a Lego building competition against me.
Now, these years of conflict were torturous for both of us. Remarkably, we survived and grew out of it. Not without significant hurdles, however. I would say the single thing that allowed us to become best of friends and brothers was his compassion. It alone brought us closer together even as I had struggled to push us apart.
It's strange now to think back to an era of such conflict, especially now since we're the best of friends and brothers.
< COMMONALITIES >
Lily, what then seem to be the common themes?
First, there appears to be a zest for life and for knowing the world of the moment - as exemplified by his interests in contemporary culture (technologies, movies, comic books); adventurous travel (whether on the far side of the world or exploring some of the finer points of Oklahoma); food (he'll always leave a trail for others to follow - perhaps this is really compassion rather than a desire to quickly know the food stuff); and plastic and real women (what can I say about this???? Well, at least this means he should be intimately interesting). So, in this regard, Jonathan will always be ready to explore something new.
Next, and quite obvious, there is a theme that goes to the compassion for others (both people and animals). For me, this is a characteristic that is difficult to define. It is one, however, that should tell you that Jonathan will always be tender and caring no matter the weather.
Finally, there's something I feel is a kind of divine humor at work. It interweaves through the events that reveal his compassion and zest. While it is rather difficult to put a finger on, I think it can best be described as a kind of Charlie Brown effect. Jonathan will always get back up after having the football pulled away from him; he'll always feel compassion for that person who pulled it from him. And, Jonathan will always try that football again. I think many of us jest at being a Charlie Brown, but we should remember that all the other peanuts are peripheral; Chuck is central to the story.
Jonathan seems to be an excellent example of how to live life. Well, at least most of the time. At the end of the day, I expect these characteristics we've uncovered will add nothing but fortune to your new union.
Lily, I think you're marrying a beautiful person. I think, aside from the crumbs, and the ice cream stains, and I certainly hope he doesn't throw any more games across the room when you are whipping him, that you are about to embark upon a truly wonderful journey. I hope the stars of good fortune continue to shine and mark your course.
Also, Lily, I am pleased to now say that I have a sister as well as a brother.