A Toast

To Suzanne and Bryant

When I was young and growing up

My father began to write

Toasts in the form of poems

For occasions such as tonight

I’ve tried to continue that custom

Though I’m not as good as he

So I hope you’ll all bear with me

In this attempt at poetry

First, I salute the Tatum’s

Who host us all tonight

We thank you for this evening

Everything’s been just right

Now I think it’s fairly safe to say

That four short years ago

Suzanne had utterly no desire

To move to Statesboro

But things happen for a reason, they say

And this was surely true

For in that little Georgia town

She prospered and she grew

She found friends who have loved her

She found a career to start

And she found Bryant Tatum

The man who stole her heart

At first things didn’t move too fast

It started out quiet and slow

When Bryant and Suzanne first met

Just over two years ago

Suzanne didn’t seem too interested

From Bryant’s perspective

Friends had suggested that they should meet

But she didn’t seem too receptive

They finally met on the fourth of July

They watched the fireworks that night

But she said “Let’s just be good friends”

And Bryant said that was all right

Bryant to his credit

He didn’t rush a thing

He just became a good friend

As he waited in the wings

At first there was no sign of progress

Things were moving slow

She either wanted to just be friends

Or she was just telling him so

Then watching from a distance

I began to see signs of change

She described him as a good friend

But she described him again and again

Soon though, it became obvious

That things had really changed

Her good friend was now her boyfriend

Her life was rearranged

By early spring of last year

Suzanne began to let on

“We’re really quite serious, you know”

She said when she was home

Things continued to move along

The rest is history, they say

And now we’re here to celebrate

Tomorrow’s their wedding day

Now I am very happy

That Bryant asked for her hand

But I can’t deny deep feelings

As I give away Suzanne

Since she was just a young girl

She’s brought music to my ears

Her voice was sweet and perfect

And always brought me to tears

Riding around in her car seat

She would always sing to me

The pitch was always perfect

Even when she was just three

She sang “You Are My Sunshine”

She sang “I See The Moon”

She sang about “Tomorrow”

She sang in perfect tune

And so first I drink to you Suzanne

I’m so proud and happy for you

I thank you for the music

You are my sunshine too

Now I never thought I’d see the day

When I would give my daughter’s hand

To a guy who openly admits

To being a Georgia Fan

But no one’s beyond redemption

And he’s stolen our hearts too

And so I drink to you Bryant

And our family welcomes you

It’s with pride and admiration

That I toast this couple tonight

They each have shown great courage

To make their future bright

These are two extraordinary people

About to be husband and wife

With faith and strength and hope and love

They each have built a new life

They’ve grown into strong young people

They each have found their mate

They start a life tomorrow

And we’re here to celebrate

For thirty-one years this lovely port

Has matured and waited for this day

And like Suzanne and Bryant

It’s ready in every way

And so tonight I ask you all

To raise your glasses high

To join with me as I salute

The groom and his lovely bride

Here’s to you Suzanne and Bryant

To your future as husband and wife

May the happiness you share tonight

Be with you the rest of your life

                                   John Samford

                                   September 26, 2008