I’m rather proud of the speech that I wrote for my brother’s wedding. I even had someone approach me and pay me for a copy! I don’t think it fully has the same effect in print as it did when I was giving it (you missed me ugly crying, guys), but I still like it. There are parts I skipped, and areas where I improvised (uh, hello, Shakespeare?), so it’s not verbatim. If you’re looking for speech inspiration, give it a read!
Hello, for those of you who don’t know me, I’m Gina, Joseph’s older sister—depending on which document you’re referencing… His old ID from Tennessee says I’m younger, but a very distrusting bouncer is San Luis Obispo has it.
I want to tell everyone a bit about Joseph growing up.
I first met Joseph in the early 90s, when he was referred to as “Baby Brother.” I remember that I didn’t really want a younger brother.
Anna and I used to bully him—scaring him with a plastic horney toad that we’d hide under his napkins. As he was the youngest and the most eager to please, he almost always took the rap for everything—on account of we had to make sure mom and dad didn’t get mad at us, and he was usually in trouble anyway, so he wouldn’t mind… Once, I dropped a glass of milk and yelled his name in anger before realizing he wasn’t even home.
Perhaps this lent an expectation, and he was forever afterwards doing something to get in trouble. I’ll never forget him literally singing the blues after being sent to his room after setting off firecrackers in the basement. I think he actually had a harmonica. “They took my knives, They took my fireworks. I’m so saaAAaad.”
I suppose because he was such a loyal comrade that we at some point became the best of friends—we’d watch Zorro and Indiana Jones, and then gallop around on our bicycles, brandishing jump ropes at trees. We didn’t ride real horses. Joseph didn’t like them. He once fell off a horse, and my dad said, “Well you know what you do when you fall off the horse…” Joseph had never heard the expression, and was inclined to eat it.
We once had the park rangers at Yellowstone is a flurry after telling them that we lost a dog in the park. After describing his breed and markings, there was much back-and-forth deliberation on the radio, until it came out that this lost dog was his beloved beanie baby toy, Nanook.
As we got older, we took our bikes everywhere—all around Park City, and even to abandoned mines, which we only admitted to our parents at a dinner table conversation years afterward.
We regularly went camping—it seems whenever it was due to rain, and Joseph and I would sit in the car listening to Queen while the rest of the family was productive and set up camp. Joseph would have to pitch his own tent though. The rest of the family slept in the camper, but he had to share a tent with our dog (a real dog) because his feet were smelly—. That poor dog died. Many years later
and unrelated to his feet, but I’m just saying—the dog stayed in the tent with him. And the dog died.
In high school, we played a game where when it was late at night and no one was around, he pushed me in a grocery cart, and he had to buy whatever I could throw into the cart—and he went purposefully slow by the little Debbie snacks, by the Fancy Cakes. [pull out Fancy Cakes]—I’ll forgo the Fancy Cake song so I don’t upstage Richard.
At Brittani’s bridal shower, all the ladies played a game, where we answered questions about the bride to see who knew the most answers, and one of the questions was, “What does the bride love most about the groom?” Everyone had a different answer, and I think I could think of examples for every virtue.
Joseph’s adventurous nature is probably why most of my best memories involve him and why he’s always the first person I miss when I’m away.
- Nearly drowning and laughing while dragging a sinking kayak through Jordanelle Reservoir,
- In England—drunkenly sneaking into a castle
- Running around Florence in the middle of the night after eating entire platters of sweets and complaining about the unfair genetics of the slim Italians.
We decided to get sibling tattoos when the family visited me studying in Ireland, but Anna and I realized when we were sober that it was a terrible idea. Joseph went and got one anyway, but I swear that even though the shamrock looks like a girly flower, he is really lucky.
On the morning of his 21st birthday, the family planned to helicopter over the Grand Canyon, but Joseph was nowhere to be found. After calling all the hospitals and jails, mom insisted we would go “even if we didn’t like it because it was already paid for”—and Joseph got there right in the nick-of-time to get on the shuttle—the previous night he’d gone to the wrong tower and tried his keycard in every door before falling asleep in the corridor, and was subsequently relocated outside by security.
We found a wheelchair at Six-Flags and realized we could get to the front of—just kidding, JUST KIDDING, I’m not going to tell that story here.
Joseph is foolhardy and fearless.
The steepest snowboard runs, the rockiest mountain bike trails, walls of ocean waves and anything fast with a motor—despite the many scars—are only fun pastimes. – His guardian angel definitely does overtime.
We went skydiving for one of his birthdays, and as the rickety plane skidded above the ocean, I thought—What if this is the last conversation I ever have—and I said, “Joseph, I love you.” And he said, “Shut up, Gina.” He back-flipped out of the plane and I threw up everywhere… But at least I didn’t chicken out.
90% of everything that comes out of Joseph’s mouth busts me up. He’s hilarious. Even though sometimes he and I are the only ones laughing, annoying everyone else. He got called out once at a Piano Bar for knowing all the words to “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” which we would sing together on road trips.
On Easter, when we were the only ones in Utah, I drug him to mass when he was hungover. It was standing-room only, and we were right in front of the pipe organ—which was blasting away—and Joseph looked up with red eyes at the alter and said, “How amazing would it be if instead of the cracker they gave you an eggs benedict.”
He has an enduring work ethic—I wouldn’t know what that’s like.
Joseph is dependable, and he’s likable. Once, we biked by a concert in Park City and decided to check it out. The bouncer asked to see our tickets—which we didn’t buy—and Joseph said, “Come on, man.” And the bouncer let us in!
Joseph is remarkably kind. He’s the guy who will buy a drink for the old guy drinking alone at the bar, and he would take a bullet for any of his friends. He’d do anything for his family—he even let me stay at his house for a few weeks one summer—rent free. On more than one occasion he’d come home late and fall asleep petting Sophie—outside on the dog bed.
And, though it may seem surprising, Joseph is a romantic. Besides getting attacked by bats, we’d have fun playing in Los Alamos every year. One day, when we were kids, hiking on the ranch, Joseph said to me, “When I fall in love with a girl, I’m going to bring her here.” Not fifty feet from where he said that, he ended up living with Brittani, and that’s when I knew she was the one for him.
With all these traits, at the bridal shower, no one got Brittani’s answer right for what she loved most about the groom. She said, “I put that he’s caring”.
And through every adventure, every bravery, every laugh, all the travels, and all the trouble—that’s really what makes him special. He’s the most caring brother, friend, son, grandson, and now husband.
I’m so proud of my brother, and what he’s done and where he’s come, and I’m so happy that he found Brittani. –and that Anna and I now have another sister to share in more adventures–
I love you guys.