My little sister got married June 3rd of this year and it was my honor to toast and roast her as her Maid of Honor…
I want to dedicate this toast slash roast to happiness. The earliest memory I have of Dasha being happy is at age two when she was eating “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” out of a two-gallon bucket. Sitting in her diaper at the dining room table, elbow-deep in margarine, Dasha was ecstatic.
Around the same time, Dasha made her first friend. This friend was our dad’s size 13 tennis shoe. Her affection for this friend had no bounds. She cradled this tennis shoe, which was almost as big as she was, dragging it around our apartment in Champaign, Illinois. Her affections escalated, and soon she was gnawing on the toe box with glee. Which actually worked out pretty well, since she was teething at this time and the tennis shoe doubled as a teething ring for her. No wonder she needed braces later on in life.
We fast forward now to the beginning of Dasha’s awkward phase, roughly ages 11 – 17.
When I was in my senior year of high school, I was in love with Dawson’s Creek. Dasha also loved this show. Even though at that age Dasha and I didn’t have much in common, we shared a love for this angsty teenage drama. By this time, we were living in Pittsburgh and I was watching TV downstairs in our living room. When I saw that Dawson’s Creek was coming on, I yelled upstairs to Dasha to come down. Dasha was finishing showering. She was so excited to watch Dawson’s Creek, that she jumped out of the shower without toweling off and sprinted down the stairs, grunting with happiness. The next thing I heard was a loud thud. Dasha, dripping wet, slipped on the landing, legs flew up, towel flew off, and she came crashing down on the wood floor. Sprawled butt-naked on the landing, she was so happy to know she didn’t miss the beginning of her favorite show.
As we grew older, our shared interests started to merge and we enjoyed more of the same things. We both were very happy playing durak (but only if Dasha did not lose), drinking black tea that Dad brewed, and munching on Russian candies. We enjoyed watching “Say Yes to the Dress” and I remember us discussing episodes that we watched at the same time but across the country in different states. We developed a deep love for ABBA and Boney M and broke out in song whenever either came on the radio. And our mood immediately improved whenever we were offered a carb, especially bread or champagne (see photo evidence below).
I can only imagine how happy Dasha was in 2011 when she met Anthony for the first time. Like all romantic love stories, this one began in a dank fraternity basement. Let me try to recreate the scene for you to the best of my active imagination. Amid a sticky floor littered with solo cups and questionable puddles, Dasha locked eyes with Ant from across the dance floor. As strobe lights flickered overhead and Avicii blasted from the speakers, they made their way into each other’s arms and hearts.
Four years later their happiness doubled when they initiated themselves into the very exclusive Feline Appreciation Society, adopting two cats with too many beans and too few tails. After that their happiness tripled when Ant asked Dasha for her hand in marriage.
I wish for their happiness to continue to multiple as they start their lives together as husband and wife and for them to take care of one another much like our parents take care of each other. I’ll share an example.
I was at dinner with our parents a few weeks ago. Mom ordered a fancy drink that came embellished with colorful fruit and herbs.
“There’s a mango on top!” Mom exclaimed.
“Victor, do you want my mango?” She knew my dad was very fond of mangoes.
“Yes!” He said with gusto.
As my dad bit into it, first a look of confusion crossed his face then it scrunched up with disgust.
“Helen,” he said. “This is not a mango. This is the rind of an orange.”
The takeaway here is sharing is caring. But if your spouse ever gives you a mango, double check to make sure it’s not an orange rind.