Friendship, weddings, groomsmen and toasts

Over the weekend, my friend, Jeff Cohen, married Gabby Etrog at Camp Point O' Pines in the Adirondacks.   It was the third time I had been asked to perform best man duties (not including my dad's second marriage).  After giving many a toast at weddings over the past few years as both a best man and groomsman - toasts that ranged from the "power nap" (a series of emotional and rambling stories that dragged on for 20 minutes in my less experienced days) to the "Al Michaels" (an ad lib play-by-play commentary that I performed in more recent years) - my co-best man and I agreed to do something a bit different for this one.  We began by delivering a standard toast with a few anecdotes about our relationship with Jeff, playing well off each other as it unfolded.  At the moment the toast began to drag, I interrupted and suggested we change our tune.  We stepped off-stage, put on white long hair wigs, beards and cowboy hats and reappeared on stage as Kenny Rogers I and II.  Then, we called out into the audience for a guitar player.  As one emerged (someone with whom we previously rehearsed), we stepped up and began to perform.  The lyrics to our little ditty are below.  As we sung the final chorus verse, the crowd erupted in applauds and a cheering standing ovation.  Tal and I were unsure of how this unorthodox toast would be received by a diverse crowd, so we were particularly excited.  Compliments poured in throughout the night, to the point that I was gushing...nearly embarrassed.  In fact, I received two more mentions of it today, three days after the fact.  At this stage of the game, it's unlikely that I'll experience first-hand what it's like to get up on stage and receive a rock star's reception, so this may be the closest I ever get.  And I'm loving every minute of it.

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By Josh Guttman

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