Speech 14

Good evening ladies and gentlemen, now before I begin I ‘d just like to introduce myself to those of you I haven’t had the opportunity to meet yet. My name is John and it is my very great privilege and pleasure to be the Jeroen’s best man for today’s celebrations.


OK, I first met Jeroen, when I was a very impressionable 2 year old, after his family had moved over from Holland into our neighborhood. At first I have to say that all my natural baby survival instincts were alerted – here I was little John Shepherd and there he was a kid with Wolf in his name – basic natural history suggested that I could have been in for a rough time. But I shouldn’t have worried, because, this kid was up for fun, and 31 years later he’s still up for fun.


However, a wolf and a Shepherd were always going to compete and from the very outset, we had a mini rivalry thing going on. It started off on the trampoline at which we were pretty evenly tied and then continued through grade school – either competing on the basketball court or competing for the same girl’s affections. All I can say is that Jeroen was much better at one type of 1 on 1 than the other…and the last time we shot hoops even I beat him.


Jeroen has always been a character bursting with energy and has always loved being outdoors, doing things with his friends. He’s a passionate snowboarder, golfer and mountain biker, and has an almost fearless approach when it comes to putting his body on the line. And then on his stag trip we made him do a bungee jump and instead of being nervous, Jeroen backflipped it. However, all this mountain based activity is simply a smokescreen to cover a deep and overwhelming fear that has followed Jeroen all his life. Sharks.


After becoming clinically addicted to Discovery Channel’s Shark Week, Jeroen developed an abiding mistrust for the huge, angry looking fish with killer teeth, which has played havoc with his life ever since. It can only be gripped by the thought of these terrifying creatures rising out of the water to eat him, that explains what managed to distract Jeroen all his way through his entire formal education. – so much so that nobody was more surprised than him when he actually graduated. However, Jeroen did make great efforts in the last year and many other students’ notes and answers helped him out…most weren’t aware that they had…but he remains, I’m sure forever grateful.


It seemed only natural that following his alternative study methods, Jeroen should take classes in criminology but a guy with this much energy and fun fizzing inside him would have made an unpredictable and largely ineffective cop – just look what happens on Police Academy. So he shelved his plans to jlay down the law and went to work in an industry that truly deserves his outgoing, adventurous and friendly nature, and is also completely shark free: the restaurant business.


Here, Jereon has gone from strength to strength and has not only maintained his permanent aura of youth and vitality but used it to make him a guy people want to work with and for. And that’s the type of person he’s always been: somebody other people want to be with, because you know whatever happens it’s going to be fun…and so we find ourselves here today at the wedding of two very special people.


Danielle, you look incredible, my old friend Jeroen is one lucky guy and I am so happy for him that he’s found such a great girl to share his life with, and just as importantly somebody who’s also up for these crazy adventures. I can see that you are made for each other.


Now, Jeroen what can I say in a few sentences to a guy I’ve known for 31 years? Well, firstly thanks for letting me beat you at basketball and I really want to say thanks to your parents Bert and Herma, who have always treated me as one of their own. But to you I simply say, thanks for being a great friend – I count myself very lucky to count somebody with such a boundless an amazing enthusiasm for life and such a kind and generous spirit as a good friend. You’ve always made the great times really great and the tough times not so tough, and for that I’ll always be grateful. Here’s to the next 31 years my friend.


All that remains for me is to wish you both a long and happy life together and all the luck in the world.


Ladies and gentlemen, the bride and groom!

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