Don & Stina's Wedding: 6.5.11

Best Man’s Speech

Best Man’s Toast – Cory Lancaster.

I’ve known Don since we met on the rowing team at Rutgers in 1993.  I met him under questionable circumstances sharing way too much personal information and consuming some very strange things during what, for legal reasons, should probably be described only as a team building exercise.

I remember the day when, nearing the end of his time at Rutgers, sitting at a kitchen table in a dingy college rental apartment in New Brunswick, New Jersey, he pointed to a picture some daredevil kayaker doing something crazy on some wild river in Washington, and said, ‘I want to do that’.  Sure enough, within 6 months I was helping him pack his car.  I followed him out to Seattle a few years later, where he introduced me to his new passion. And a passion it has been – Don has thrown himself into every paddling sport there is. He’s fearless, which is to say – he both lacks a fear gene and doesn’t really respond to pain.  So when we go on paddling adventures, I usually end up needing a clean pair of shorts.

Don is also one of those rare people who never seems to be phased by things.  It’s really noticeable when we’re together – I’m anxious and get worked up by everything.  He’s almost always calm and mellow.  If we were compared to dog breeds I would be a terrier on amphetamines who hasn’t seen a fire hydrant in days, and Don would be a basset hound napping in the middle of the street.  Although it’s rare, I have seen him loose his patience on occasion, for example – –

Don actually yelled at a guy once – for trying to steal his bike.

I remember the time he seemed rather annoyed when some woman insisted he get off his cell phone – after she pulled him over for speeding.

In Hawaii, a few years ago, Don was racing a kayak between the islands of Molokai and Oahu.  Making the crossing is an impressive feat that requires a support boat to give him water, encouragement, and direction, as the Island of Oahu only comes into view after most of the race is over. So I was amazed that he was only a little frustrated with me after the race, because, rather than directing him towards Oahu, I kept directing him towards New Guinea.

It’s obvious what Don sees in Stina – She’s amazing – she’s warm, caring, and laughs at everything.  (I used to think it was just at Don, but sometimes I’m really not sure what she’s laughing about.) There’s even a beer named after her – ‘Sassy Stina’s Surly Stout’. And, as a Japanese friend once put it, she has wonderfully long kicking legs.  I’d have to say, though, her most remarkable quality is her ability to put up with me.  She deserves to have someone like Don, who can devote his every waking hour to her needs – Don, it’s so thoughtful and generous of you to be unemployed.

So if you would all raise your glasses, I would like to propose a toast to Daring Don and Sassy Stina – to a lifetime of thrilling adventures and unending happiness.


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