Example Toasts

Friendship Toast

I would like to propose a toast: to friendship! Though friends may come and go, they shape us like rocks in a stream. And, though we do not see their effects in the moment, a lifetime of friendship makes each of us smooth and complete: the best of what we can be. So, let us drink to friendships like those here today!

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Index of Example Toasts

45 Best Toasts for All Occasions

Celebrate Life's Big and Small Events With Poetic Verse

The Spruce / Leticia Almeida

Some say toasts are old-fashioned, but regardless, they're still a popular way to celebrate. Any special occasion—weddings, retirements, graduations, or even a night out with good friends—is a little more memorable when a fun or meaningful toast is involved. If thinking of what to say while raising a toast makes you rack your brain, refer to a list of the best toasts.

A traditional toast is an excellent toast to say; they're short and easy to remember. It's good to have at least one all-purpose toast in your memory bank to use as you raise your glass at the perfect moment. Whether you're looking for a funny or friendly toast, or some drinking toasts, never be at a loss for words. These catchy phrases impress or save the day with a sentiment beyond "Cheers!"

Get Inspired by These Best Toasts for All Occasions

1. to health and prosperity.

This is the perfect toast for those big moments in life. Celebrating the boss's retirement? Maybe your friend's college graduation or wedding? This toast wishes them all the best in their pursuit of a happy, healthy, and prosperous life.

"May you live as long as you like, And have all you like as long as you live."

2. To Deep Friendship

Save this toast for lifelong friendships when you want to show just how much you care. It's particularly fitting for going away parties or reunions when the sentiment will mean the most.

"My heart is as full as my glass when I drink to you, old friend!"

3. To Friendship (or Not)

You have to appreciate the sass of this rhyme! Keep it in mind for your absolute best friends who have a great sense of humor. It goes great with a round of shots .

"Here's to you and here's to me, Friends may we always be! But, if by chance we disagree, Up yours! Here's to me!"

4. To Solid Friendship

Let out your inner poet with this "ship" lyric. It is a perfect choice for dinner parties with friends and anytime you just want to say, "Hey, I love you guys!" in a more poetic way.

"There are good ships, and there are wood ships, The ships that sail the sea. But the best ships, are friendships, And may they always be."

5. To a Round of Drinking

Your friend just walked in with a bottle of "the good stuff," and it's time to show off your appreciation. This toast is easy to remember so you can pop it off once that bottle's cracked.

"One bottle for four of us, Thank God there's no more of us!"

6. To Love (and Kisses)

This toast can be interpreted in so many ways. Sure, it ends with that sweet, endearing sentiment, but the first line is more reminiscent of spring break. It's definitely a fun one for the right occasion.

"May we kiss who we please, And please who we kiss."

7. To Happiness and a Good Life

Sometimes, you just have to pull out an old-fashioned verse. This one is ideal for any special event or those times when you simply feel like getting a little poetic.

"May neighbors respect you, Trouble neglect you, The angels protect you, And heaven accept you."

8. To a Good Time

Show off your lyrical skills and impress your friends with this fun rhyme. It has that sauciness of Irish drinking toasts, and it's better than just saying, "Drink up!"

"My friends are the best friends Loyal, willing, and able. Now let’s get to drinking! All glasses off the table!"

9. To a Life of Happiness

The sentiment of this toast is ideal for almost any occasion. Use it to wish someone a happy life or to celebrate overcoming a difficult time. It is a fantastic way to say goodbye (or see you later) as people move away or take on the next big thing, too.

"May the saddest day of your future be no worse than the happiest day of your past."

10. To Happiness and Wisdom

This one is an old favorite that you might expect to hear from a clever grandfather. These words of wisdom are perfect for any of life's big milestones—weddings, college graduations , a job change, or a move across the country. They are words that anyone can live by and relate to, and that's what makes a truly great toast!

"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you have gone too far."

11. To Old Friends and Memories

This humorous toast is written for friends with a shared history. The words are perfect for high school or college reunion toasts to reignite old bonds and memories.

"To those who have seen us at our best and seen us at our worst and can't tell the difference."

12. To Friends Moving On

This old Irish blessing is perfect to toast someone on their way to a new phase in life . Keep it handy at a retirement, graduation, or wedding party when you want a quick chuckle while sending someone off.

"As you slide down the banister of life, may the splinters never point in the wrong direction."

13. To Sharing Experiences

Sometimes the occasion calls for a funny toast with a little revelry. You can't beat this drinking quote to kick off a good time when out with close friends at a bar or party.

"To hell: May the stay there be as fun as the way there."

14. To the Bride and Groom

For a quick bit of the best advice, this wedding toast fits the bill. The message applies to both bride and groom so look them both in the eye when delivering this toast. You're sure to see lots of nodding heads in agreement.

"To keep a marriage brimming with love in the loving cup, when you are wrong admit it, and when you are right, shut up!"

15. To True Friends

If you want to honor your true friends, do it with this toast to make them feel special. Just have plenty of bubbly on hand!

"Champagne for my real friends, real pain for my sham friends."

16. To Thank Your Friends

If you're the one giving the toast as a thank you to everyone in the room, these words will say it all. Plus, you'll get quite the laugh.

"I would rather be with the people in this room than with the finest people I know."

17. To a Night on the Town

If you want to kick off a night of merriment with a group of good friends, try this funny but heartwarming toast. Those with pets will understand its meaning immediately. Dogs and other pets think their owners are the best and most trustworthy humans on earth, so may you all stay that way throughout the night!

"May we be who our dogs think we are."

18. To Healthy Friends

When you are celebrating an announcement of the improved health of a loved one or friend, it may be tough to find a funny toast. But here's one that combines humor, gratitude, and wisdom all into one line.

"Here’s to staying positive and testing negative."

19. To Bar Buddies

Start a bachelor party or any celebration at the bar with this winning poetic but funny toast.

"If I should stumble out of this bar, I pray this night is worth the scar!"

20. To Lasting Friendships

This good Irish toast is perfect for a group of old friends together for a celebration. It's ideal for the mature crowd who, as we know, feels those creaks in the hinges every now and again.

"May the hinges of our friendship never grow rusty."

21. To a Graduate

You can give a toast filled to the brim with great advice for a young adult at a graduation party . But, it's probably best to keep the congrats short and sweet. Here's one that a new college graduate can appreciate, or one who is heading off to college after high school. Say it loud and proud for all to hear!

"The tassel’s worth the hassle!"

22. To Good Friends

Here's another poetic and good Irish toast to celebrate the friends in the room. This rhyme is easy to remember, but be careful, it may bring a tear to everyone's eyes.

"Here’s to good friends, Never above you, Never below you, Always beside you."

23. To the Guest of Honor

This traditional toast is ideal if you're toasting the bride and groom or celebrating a couple on their 50th anniversary . It's a good, solid way to bless the guest of honor.

"May your troubles be less, and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door."

24. To Financial Success

Even if you aren't Irish, and neither is the person you're toasting, this is one of the best financial toasts you'll hear. It's a great one to say to send off a graduate to a new job.

"May your bank account always be like the capital of Ireland — Always Dublin!"

25. To Single Friends

Out with single friends celebrating a job promotion or bachelor/bachelorette party? Here's the perfect funny toast to get the evening started. Raise a filled glass and say:

"To being single, seeing double, and sleeping triple."

20 More Toasts to Celebrate With

Here are 20 more general toasts that can work for many occasions:

  • "It is around the table that friends understand best the warmth of being together."
  • "May every day bring more happiness than yesterday."
  • "May you have all the happiness and luck that life can hold, and at the end of your rainbows, may you find a pot of gold."
  • "Always remember to forget the troubles that passed away. But never forget to remember the blessings that come each day."
  • "Here’s to the nights we’ll never remember with our friends we’ll never forget."
  • "Our friendship like old wine of vintage rare and fine. A toast to many happy days, rare good luck and pleasant ways."
  • "Here’s to your health! You make age curious, time furious, and all of us envious."
  • "Here's to great friends. They know you well... and like you just the same."
  • "May you always work like you don't need the money; love like you've never been hurt; and dance like there's nobody watching."
  • "May we have more and more friends, and need them less and less."
  • "May the most you wish for be the least you get."
  • " May good fortune precede you, love walk with you, and good friends follow you."
  • "May your home be a place where friends meet, family gathers and love grows."
  • "May the roof above us never fall in, and may we, as friends, never fall out."
  • "Another day, another bender. No retreat, no surrender."
  • "I would rather be here, with the people in this room, than the best people in the world."
  • "May we get what we want, what we need, and never what we deserve."
  • "Take everything in moderation, including moderation."
  • "May we all have the chance to prove that money can’t make us happy.”
  • “A toast to bread, without bread, there would be no toast.”

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Dining Etiquette

  • dining etiquette
  • toasts and toasting etiquette
  • friendship toasts

Friendship Toasts

Here’s to our friends – in the hopes that they, wherever they are, are drinking to us.

Here’s to absent friends – particularly to prosperity.

Here’s to our faraway friends. May their spirits be with us as soon as these spirits are in us.

To our absent friends. Although they are out of sight, we recognize them with our glasses.

Here’s to our absent friends – God bless them.

Here’s to our absent friends – both the long-lost friends of our youth and our long-lost youth.

Here’s to the girl I love best, I picked her out from all the rest; She’s not here to take part, So I’ll drink to her with all my heart.

May you live all the days of your life.

May our house always be too small to hold all our friends.

A toast to your coffin. May it be made of 100 year old oak. And may we plant the tree together, tomorrow.

Here's to us, And those like us. Damn few and they're probably dead. Cheers!

More friends and less need of them.

May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, but never catch up.

Old wood to burn, Old books to read, Old wine to drink, Old friends to trust.

A day for toil, an hour for sport, But for a friend life is too short.

We'll think of all the friends we know And drink to all worth drinking to.

resting knife and fork etiquette

How do you rest your utensils while eating?

Our resting utensils etiquette section covers the rules (american and continental) for resting your utensils when taking a break from eating, when you are finished eating, and when you are passing food [...]

example of toast speech about friendship

Oyster Etiqette

Proper technique for eating oysters.

example of toast speech about friendship

Caviar Etiquette

Dining etiquette for eating caviar.

example of toast speech about friendship

Hard to Eat Foods

Proper etiquette for eating hear to eat foods.

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Table Manners Guide

It's easy to impress at the dinner table! Just take a few minutes to read through our table manners section and you'll be the most sophisticated diner at the table.

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International Dining Etiquette

Visit our international dining etiquette section for more etiquette tips for your next trip overseas or hosting international guests!

Wine Tasting Etiquette

Once it is poured into the proper glass, it’s time to evaluate and enjoy the wine. Evaluating wine involves four basic steps – looking, swirling, smelling, and tasting.

  • Step #1 – Look . Holding the wine glass up against a white background, such as a napkin or table cloth, to evaluate its color and clarity. Red wines should range in color from deep purple to brick red. White wines should range in color from lemon gold to golden amber.
  • Step #2 – Swirl . Swirl the wine in your glass to aerate it.
  • Step #3 – Smell . Put your nose in the glass and take a deep breath. Older wines should have subtler aromas than younger ones.
  • Step #4 – Taste . To taste the wine, fill your mouth about ½ full and subtly swish the wine around.

Table Setting Etiquette

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Helpful hints for setting the perfect table!

Visit our table setting section for information on:

  • Formal table settings .
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Dining Etiquette Topics...

  • Table Setting
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Best Friend Wedding Speech: Nailing the Ultimate Toast of a Lifetime

Standing by your best friend as they tie the knot is an incredibly special experience. As the best man or maid of honor, your role includes delivering a heartfelt and memorable speech at the wedding reception.

Crafting the perfect speech can feel daunting, but with some planning and a few personal touches, you’ll undoubtedly create a moment your friend will cherish.

Begin by reflecting on your shared memories with the couple and why this day is so meaningful to them. Then, include anecdotes showcasing your best friend’s character and relationship with their spouse. By incorporating these personal stories , your speech will weave a narrative that resonates with the guests and provides a glimpse of the love story you’ve had the privilege to witness firsthand.

As you embark on this journey of crafting the perfect best friend wedding speech, keep in mind that authenticity is critical. Speak from the heart, and don’t be afraid to let your emotions show; this is a celebration of love and friendship.

Best Friend Wedding Speech

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In This Article

  • Wedding Speech: Everything You Need To Know
  • 5 Steps To Create The Wedding Speech
  • Dos And Don’ts For Wedding Toast Speech

Best Friend Wedding Speech Examples

  • Wedding Party & Reception

The Ultimate Guide To Creating The Perfect Best Friend Wedding Speech

Natalia Bayeva

lichttrunken via Instagram

It’s easy to panic if you’ve been tasked with giving a best friend wedding speech, especially if you’re not good at public speaking. However, no need to worry; with the right tips and a bit of guidance, giving a wedding speech for a best friend would be no trouble at all.


Read on to get helpful writing techniques and guides in delivering your speech in the best way possible.

Quick Navigation

Frequently Asked Questions

What should i say in my best friend’s wedding speech.

When giving a best friend speech at a wedding, you can talk about your friend, be they the bride or the groom. Talk about the couple’s love story, and also about your best friend’s partner and any good qualities that they have.

What should I write in my best friend’s wedding card?

When writing in your best friend’s wedding card, you should naturally write well wishes for them, their partner, and for their life ahead. For instance, “I wish you love and happiness forever together” or, “May your journey together be filled with long-lasting joy”.

Best Friend Wedding Speech: Everything You Need To Know

best friend wedding speech

kathrinkrok via Instagram

Your best friend is no doubt dear to you and witnessing their wedding would bring joy and a variety of emotions. Your speech at their wedding can be an avenue to express these feelings to your friend.

Top of our wedding speech ideas for a best friend is to make your wedding speech personal. You know your best friend more than most. And, asides from knowing what they want to hear, you also know what they need to hear. You can mention incidents in your relationship that helped reveal their good qualities and their value in your life. Values that they would no doubt carry into their marriage.

You should also remember to focus on the couple as it’s their day. So, while it’s okay to talk about your friend, you should also find points of intersection with her partner and their relationship.

When To Give Best Friend Speech At Wedding?

best friend wedding speech

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How Long Should The Speech Be?

best friend weddingsspeechsideas

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5 Steps To Create The Wedding Speech For Best Friend

best friend wedding speech

It’s always an honor to be asked to give a short wedding speech for a best friend on their special day. However, if you have difficulty writing or giving speeches, you can use these practical steps as a guide.

  • Introduce yourself: Introducing yourself is a great way to start since not everyone there might know who you are. It’s also the polite thing to do. You should also acknowledge the guests and thank them for being there.
  • Say some words about the wedding and the newlyweds: Talk about the couple, their love, perhaps the story of how they met and what they mean to you.
  • Say some words about your friend: There will no doubt be lots you would want to say about your friend. However, it’s a good idea to compress it to a memory or story that expresses more about their character, also something that you can connect to their relationship and to their partner.
  • Add a joke or a quote: If you have any good best friend wedding speech quotes, this would be a good time to interject them. You could give one or two, not to make your speech too long.
  • Say congratulation words: End your speech with your well wishes for the couple and a toast if possible.

Dos And Don’ts For Wedding Toast Speech For Best Friend

best friend wedding speech tips

  • Start with an introduction: It’s the polite thing to do, but also not everybody might know who you are.
  • Welcome the newlyweds and the guests: Welcome everyone, and thank the guests especially for taking the time to be there for the celebration.
  • Share stories about your best friend: You know them more than most, so this would be a good time to highlight their good qualities. If you’d like to give a funny best friend wedding speech you could include a hilarious memory here.
  • Say something nice about your friend’s partner: If you have any anecdotes about how they met, you could include that too.
  • End with good wishes for the couple: Say some inspiring words. Then, you can add a toast as well.


  • Do not introduce bad memories: This is a day to celebrate with your friend and their family. If you have any bad memories or even any disagreements, this is not the place to bring that up. Focus on the happiness and love of the day. Everything else can come afterwards.
  • Don’t overshare: Be careful what you share. Some things are too personal to tell to a crowd. Choose to share what you know your friend would be comfortable with and the guests will be happy to hear. Don’t share any stories that would make anyone uncomfortable.
  • Do not make costly jokes: Jokes are only great when they are in good humor. Keep your jokes clean and try to strike a balance. Do not allow your jokes cross the line from funny into offensive. Light humor is always best.
  • Don’t make your speech long and boring: The perfect timing for a speech is between three and five minutes. So, don’t make your speech too short that the message gets lost. But don’t allow it get so long that the audience begins to get bored and distracted.
  • Do not mention any exes: Whether it’s your friend’s exes or their partner’s. This is not a good time to mention them. Exes belong in the past. Focus on the present, on the couple and on their joyous celebration.

Something else that can guide you in delivering the best wedding speech is examples to show you how the outline works. So, here are some best friend wedding speech examples to show you just how you can put those words together in honoring your best friend on their special day.

Hello everyone! My name is _, I am the best friend of the bride. They say that good things happen to good people. And today, we can see this for ourselves! I have known the bride since childhood and the groom for about 5 years. And I think they are just made for each other! They had found their balance; she had found her calm, and he had found his fire. _ is without a doubt one of the most amazing people I know; she is kind and loving, funny and fierce. So I can confidently say that I am very lucky to have such a friend. _, I want to thank you for loving my girl. There is no one who can do it as well as you. For the newlyweds! Be happy!
Good evening ladies and gentlemen! For those who don’t know me – I’m _, the bride’s best friend. I am honored to be here today and, in general, to be her friend. Her warmth and generous nature draw people to her. She is brave and full of love. This is the kindest person I know, and I am sure that _ will be able to make her happy for many, many years. They are so similar! Don’t you think? Both in their appearance and in personality! This is truly one of those unions that were made in heaven! Let’s raise our glasses to this beautiful couple! You are perfect! Cheers!
Hi all! My name is _, I am the best friend of the groom. What is love? It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and impossible to live without. I’m just incredibly happy that _ was able to find such a beautiful girl, and today we are all here at their wedding, celebrating their love! When we were 9 years old, we promised each other never to get married. Haha. _, do you remember? And here we are, and today I am happy as ever, oh, I already said that, sorry! Be happy, my dear, you have a long and interesting life ahead of you! Enjoy it! Cheers!
Good evening everyone! I’m so glad to be here today. My name is_, I’m the groom’s best friend. _ and I became friends in college – we played soccer together and liked to go to parties. And one day, at one of the parties, he disappeared. I was looking for him the whole evening, already beginning to worry. And then it turned out that he met our bride and they went to look at the stars. And then I realized that now _ would appear in our company often. Haha. 5 years have passed, and here we are today! You are so beautiful, it’s incredible! And you are so happy! Please be so happy always! And on that note, I ask you all to raise a toast to our newlyweds! Cheers!

There is no need to worry or fret if you have been asked to give a best friend wedding speech. With the right tips and guidance, you can improve your writing techniques and create a wedding speech that your friend will be proud of. Once you’re done writing a speech that you are sure of, delivering it on that day will be a like a walk in the park.

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example of toast speech about friendship

A Toast to My Best Friend

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it but only you can feel it..

A Toast to My Best Friend

This is so unlike me since I am against any and all things cheesy and awkward, but I've been feeling sentimental lately…so here goes nothing.

I can’t believe we had to wait until college to meet and become friends, but hey, better late than never. I knew we were meant to be friends when our parents met and realized they were pretty much the same people.  Even though we are complete opposites, we somehow fill in the missing pieces of each other. There is no one I would rather call at 2 am asking for peanut butter or to snuggle. 

Thank you for being my shoulder to cry on and my strength when I needed it most. Even though you’re a terrible rapper and you can’t actually rap “Juicy” by Notorious BIG, I will keep telling you that you sound great, because that’s what friends are for.

Thank you for putting up with my weird obsessions and for pretending you liked Breaking Bad when I made you watch the finale with me while I cried the entire time. 

Here’s to us, and to all the crazy adventures we have yet to experience in life. Here’s to our continued Jonas Brothers sing along sessions. Here’s to me making sure you didn't miss a piece of your hair when you curl it, and here’s to you taking care of me when I’m sick.

I promise to always make sure that you are awake for your 8:30 classes, as long as you promise to no longer record embarrassing videos of me dancing.   

Thank you for being the blonde best friend that every brunette needs, even though you refuse to be Serena and Blair for Halloween because, “it’s too basic.”

Consider this my promise to always like your Instagrams, and to forever take embarrassing pictures of you so I can one day use them in a slideshow at your wedding.  

Cheers, to us, Best Friend. 

Love you Always, 

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A beginner's wine appreciation course, while i most certainly do not know everything, i feel like i know more than the average 21-year-old about vino, so i wrote this beginner's wine appreciate course to help you navigate the wine world and drink like a pro..

A lot of people our age (21-25) don't really drink wine because they want to appreciate it, they drink it to get "f*cked up" in a "classy" way.

***Reality check: if you're still blacking out every time you drink, it's not classy OR healthy*** So if you're reading this article, this probably means you want to learn to appreciate wine a little bit more, or learn a few new facts that you can whip out in front of your Barefoot chugging friends (I like Barefoot), or maybe you're just looking to feel more comfortable going into a winery's tasting room. It can be intimidating when your server is whipping out terms like "oak-aged" or "tartrate crystals."

I started working at a winery recently, and my employers have really taken me into the industry fold. I'm going to be learning and doing everything: from tasting room, to harvesting, to making, filtering, sampling (yes, that's right ;)) and so on. I had always known that wineries work hard to make their product, but I'm only just learning that creating the right taste practically a science. While I most certainly do not know everything, I feel like I know more than the average 21-year-old about vino, so I wrote this article to help YOU navigate the wine world!

Part I of IV: advice for when you first start going out to wineries.

1. Figure out what kind of wine drinker you might be. If you haven't ever been to a winery, and the most experience you have drinking it is at parties or Grandma's for holiday dinner, you should start your wine journey by figuring out what kind of wine you *might* gravitate to. But Alexis, isn't the point of going to a winery to experience new wines? Well, yes. But you can probably narrow down what kind of flight you would want to try if you know what kind of drinks you like: do you have a sweet tooth? Are you more of a dirty martini kind of person? If you like sweet drinks, tell your server that. Not a fan of sugar? They'll set up dry tasting. Not sure about about either? Most wineries offer middle-of-the-road wine styles that may be a little sweet, but not too dry either. We call them off-dry. 2. Pick a place based on your choices. Part of the reason I suggested you contemplate what kind of wine drinker you might be is because based on what your taste profile may be, you will want to start off with a winery that will match your palate. I live in Maryland, and my state has the wonderful nickname of "America in miniature." We have a lot of little microclimates, which change what kind of grapes work best in what region. The winery where I work currently has a strong showing of sweet wines, whereas some of the other wineries in the neighboring county have a better dry wine production. NOTE: It is important to know that just because a winery may have a reputation for making good sweet reds or good dry whites does not mean they don't have good wines in general. What another person hates, you might love and vice versa! 3. Go with friends! That's just because it's more fun! And a lot or wineries will have an amazing atmosphere, especially if the tasting room is on the property where the grapes are grown. It makes a great little getaway. Also, you may or may not need a DD.

4. Trust the server. Odds are the person who is running your tasting knows a little bit about wine and has served plenty of people with all kinds of palates. Don't be afraid to tell them that you aren't sure what your taste profile might be, and that you have some idea. They'll guide you along based on that particular winery's offerings. Some wineries offer a dry flight and a sweet flight, or a make your won flight for a set price. The ones with make your own can be hard to navigate, because there are often lots of choices! But again, ask questions! Your server can help you find something you'll like. NOTE: Some wineries have a set list of tastings for the day, but if something that they offer in the bottle piques your interest, ask to try it! The worst thing they can say is no.

5. Let yourself experiment! The greatest thing about going to a winery is that you get to try new things. You might find that you really like oak-aged dry whites and sweet reds. You might also be pleasantly surprised that you like something you thought you would hate.

6. Buy the wines you like at the winery. It's cheaper to buy a local wine at the winery itself because you don't have to pay the up-charge a liquor store would charge so they can make a profit. Plus, you can share a bottle that you picked yourself from the winery with your friends and family . (It always feels cool to be able to say that you picked it out!) That being said, sometimes price does NOT indicate the quality of a wine! I love some $100 wines, but I love some of my $10 wines just as much. What is important is that YOU find a wine YOU like!

Part II of IV: What to buy at the liquor store

You can, of course, continue going to wineries and buying your bottles there, but you'll still want to try other styles and brands. That's when you get to go to the liquor store and be intimidated once more, this time by the variety of selection you'll have. So what do you do when you don't get a chance to try a wine before you buy it? Take a leap of faith, yes, but you can still take an educated guess! 1. Remember what you like. Based on your previous experience, you should look at the labels of bottles and read the blurbs liquor stores have written/printed about the wine and try to find a wine you're willing to try. 2. Ask for help. Some liquor stores that have a large selection of wine probably have a staff that can answer a few questions, one of them being "what sweet/dry/white/red wines do you have?" 3. Google is #bae. You should absolutely use Google if you can't find anything written about the wine on or around the bottle. If it is something that really intrigues you, look up the winery that produced it because usually their website will tell you about the wine's flavor. NOTE: Do NOT look up the variety/blend of wine that it is and ask Google if such-and-such is a sweet/dry wine, because not everyone makes their varietal/blended wine the same (i.e. Winery A might make their Riesling more sweet than Winery B). Avoid the problem by going to the Winery's website.

Part III of IV: The restaurant menu

1. Unless otherwise stated, most wine menus go White Wines, Red Wines, Dessert Wines with the top of each category being the driest, and the bottom being the sweetest. Some menus will go by region, and others (menus that are very small) will just go dry to sweet, regardless of color . 2. The first number is the glass price, the second is the bottle price. So if you see this: Alexis B's VWinery 2009 Merlot, Maryland........... 7/20 You know that the glass price is $7 and the bottle price is $20.

3. Ask your server for a pairing. Depending on the restaurant, some serving staff may be very good with pairings, or know their menu well enough to tell you what you should pair with what. NOTE: The old adage "white wines go with white meats, red wines go with red meats" is pretty true, but I've had some fabulous white pairings with red meats before. 4. Ask your friends what they like, and buy a bottle. It will be so much cheaper if you can all agree on one wine and buy the bottle rather than buying by the glass. This also holds true for buying glasses v bottles at wineries. Part IV of IV: Lingo

Congratulations! You have survived my crash course Wine Appreciation 101! That wasn;'t so hard, was it? It's easy to feel overwhelmed, but just remember: every person who know a lot about wine started out knowing absolutely nothing and making some terrible pairings. Now go and experience some great wine, show off your knowledge, and be sure to grab a glass for me ;)

15 Kinds Of Ice Cream From Around The World

Countries have their own creative twists.

Who doesn't love ice cream? People from all over the world enjoy the frozen dessert, but different countries have their own twists on the classic treat.

1. Italy: Gelato

Gelato, perhaps one of the best-known varieties of ice cream from around the world, has less fat, more sugar and less air than other frozen desserts .

2. Turkey: Dondurma

In Turkey, dondurma’s elastic and stretchy texture and resistance to melting make it extremely popular with street vendors, who play with the ice cream before serving it to customers.

3. Japan: Mochi

The small ball is actually ice cream in the middle surrounded by a sticky rice cake.

4. Israel: Halva

The Israeli treat is made with sesame flavored halva, a compact honey-like candy, which is popular across the Middle East and Asia.

5. Iran: Faloodeh

Ice cream in Iran is often served with pasta noodles, rose water, lime juice and pistachios.

6. Germany : Spaghettieis

Germany’s take on the dessert is a spin on a dish of spaghetti: vanilla ice cream is run through a pasta maker to mimic spaghetti, strawberry sauce is drizzled on top to mimic tomato sauce and coconut flakes, shredded almonds or white chocolate is used to mimic the Parmesan cheese.

7. Mexico: Paletas

Paletas are extremely similar to popsicles, except that they must contain fresh fruit to be classified as such.

8. India : Kulfi

Kulfi is similar to ice cream, though its increased density and creaminess allows it to be molded and served on a popsicle stick and topped with pistachios.

9. Thailand: I Tim Pad

Thailand’s i tim pad , which is often sold by street vendors, is the rolled ice cream that has become a novelty dessert here in America.

10. China: Fried Ice Cream

Though supposedly invented in the United States, fried ice cream has become popular in Asia, and the Chinese version uses ice cream flavors like green tea and red bean, fried in a tempura batter.

11. Greece : Pagoto

Greek ice cream is a mix of gelato and dondurma, which makes sense considering its location in relation to Italy and Turkey.

12. Philippines: Sorbetes

Although it sounds like it, the Filipino dessert is not sorbet. It is cheese-flavored ice cream made with coconut milk and served in a bread bun.

13. Malaysia: Ais Kacang

The ice cream variety found in Malaysia and Singapore is actually shaved ice topped with cooked red beans and evaporated milk.

14. South Korea: J-Cone

The cone, made with crushed corn, resembles a churro, and ice cream is served on both ends of the J-shaped cone.

15. United States: Everything

The U.S., Canada, U.K., Ireland, Australia and New Zealand have everything that you can imagine. Just think of all the varieties we have: the typical hard ice cream, frozen yogurt, Dippin’ Dots, soft serve, sorbet, Italian ice, custard ice cream, sherbet, snow cones, ice pops, milkshakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches and those skinny ice pop things in the plastic that you have to cut and no one knows the name of it, but you know exactly what I’m talking about.

100 Reasons to Choose Happiness

Happy moments to brighten your day.

As any other person on this planet, it sometimes can be hard to find the good in things. However, as I have always tried my hardest to find happiness in any and every moment and just generally always try to find the best in every situation, I have realized that your own happiness is much more important than people often think. Finding the good in any situation can help you to find happiness in some of the simplest and unexpected places.

Many people often think that happiness can be found by creating the largest social media pool, trying to be someone that they are not in order to be accepted or even having the nicest car or the biggest house. But happiness does not come from these material or “fake” things. It comes from strong connections with people you love, having gratitude and consideration for the people around you and finding happiness in the most unexpected and often overlooked places.

Constantly reminding yourself that your happiness is one of the most important things and sometimes having to put your happiness first is something that should be happening every day. Personally, my happiness comes from thousands of things ranging from reading a book all the way to vacationing to the ocean and everything in between. Also, I find happiness in the happiness of others and seeing others in content, but this also sometimes means that I do not put my happiness first.

Everyone has their flaws and many people are like me—forgetting to put their happiness before others. Therefore, in order to give you just a simple idea of how easy it is to find happiness in the smallest of places, here are 100 reminders of happiness that surround you each and every day. This list also purposes for each of you to think of your own reminders that make you happy and to tell yourself that your happiness is important and that you should always find happiness in every situation in the most unexpected places.

  • You are loved by more than you could ever imagine.
  • You have a home.
  • Flowers are blooming around you.
  • Summer is closer than it has been all year.
  • You talked to someone you love today.
  • You are beautiful.
  • Listening to the rain hit the roof when you fall asleep.
  • Freshly mowed grass.
  • Watching the stars at night.
  • Someone in your life wants you to be happy.
  • You have food to eat and water to drink.
  • Chocolate is still existing.
  • There are dogs to pet and to cuddle with.
  • You are talented and have a special talent that no one else knows about.
  • Listening to music.
  • One Direction .
  • You are able to help someone.
  • Volunteering for a charity.
  • Sitting on a dock.
  • Taking pictures with your best friends.
  • Going to a cabin.
  • You have cute clothes to wear every day.
  • Someone said, “Hi” to you today.
  • Someone thinks you are the most important person in their life.
  • Someone looks up to you.
  • You have a job or some other commitment.
  • You believe in something.
  • Someone believes in you.
  • Listening to the birds chirping outside.
  • Finding a dandelion in the middle of a grassy lawn.
  • Starbucks is a thing.
  • You have or will see the Northern Lights.
  • Vacations or camping or nights out.
  • Spontaneous road trips .
  • You can do anything that you set your mind to.
  • You believe in someone else.
  • Warm, melty chocolate chip cookies.
  • You matter.
  • Chicken noodle soup when you are sick .
  • Grey’s Anatomy/One Tree Hill/Gossip Girl.
  • Freshly cleaned sheets.
  • You have dreams and goals .
  • You are inspiring .
  • You are inspired by something or someone else.
  • Bright colored daisies.
  • Reading your favorite book over and over again.
  • Coming home and changing into an over-sized sweatshirt and leggings.
  • Going out and dressing up.
  • But feeling confident in both.
  • Sleeping in on Sunday mornings.
  • Getting up to watch the sunrise.
  • Surprising someone or being surprised.
  • Art museums.
  • Good nights and good morning’s.
  • Laughing, laughing, laughing.
  • Making someone else laugh.
  • Board games.
  • Rainy days.
  • Sunny days.
  • You are vibrant and radiant.
  • Bare feet in the sand.
  • Highlighting quotes in your favorite books .
  • Seeing others happy.
  • Seeing couples holding hands.
  • Your mother, father, sister, brother, grandpa , grandma, aunt, uncle, cousins, etc.
  • Putting your music on shuffle and having your favorite song come on first.
  • Did I mention One Direction?
  • Oh, and Beyoncé.
  • Saltwater and sea shells.
  • Loving something or someone with the strongest passion.
  • Being the only one on the court/field/track/ice.
  • Feeling invincible.
  • Adrenaline.
  • Conquering one of your fears.
  • Listening to someone’s heartbeat.
  • Talking to someone about their favorite things or memories.
  • Disney movies.
  • God , Jesus and your faith.
  • Girls’/Guys’ night.
  • Butterflies.
  • Airports and airplanes.
  • Acing a hard test or failing and learning from it.
  • Sleeping with the window open.
  • Being there for someone no matter what.
  • Trusting someone.
  • You are the best at something.
  • You are someone’s best friend .
  • Chocolate still exists.
  • You can move mountains.
  • Your happiness is the most important.

Remember The True Meaning of Christmas

“where are you christmas why can’t i find you”.

It’s everyone’s favorite time of year. Christmastime is a celebration, but have we forgotten what we are supposed to be celebrating? There is a reason the holiday is called Christmas . Not presentmas. Not Santamas. Not Swiftmas. Christmas.

What many people forget is that there is no Christmas without Christ . Not only is this a time to spend with your family and loved ones, it is a time to reflect on the blessings we have gotten from Jesus. After all, it is His birthday.

The whole point of presents is not to be about receiving, it is about giving. Giving to those we love to put a smile on their face. But in today's society, it has become all about the materialistic receiving of gifts. People scoff at a homemade gift, and long for a PlayStation or another expensive purse that they don't really need. We live in an age where 3 year olds have iPads, and teenagers stare more at a screen than their actual surroundings. We are constantly entertained, and therefore forget to acknowledge the reason this holiday was created to begin with. Gifts tend to be exchanged rather than given and expected rather than hoped for. We need to be reminded that a gift is a privilege and a blessing, not a right. Jesus gave his life without expecting anything in return, so why can't we give a coffee mug without expectations of receiving a present in return?

Recently, Taylor Swift tried to trademark the term “Swiftmas.” Don’t get me wrong, I love Taylor Swift as much as the next girl, but she is no Jesus Christ. Taking the Christ out of Christmas takes the meaning out of the holiday. I understand that she is using the term for her giving presents to some of her fans, but that makes her Santa, not Jesus. Her generosity is admirable, but she is making it about herself, rather than the giving spirit.

It is sad to me that people feel that something as menial as a Starbucks cup represents Christmas, and the religious, the Christian, part of Christmas is completely disregarded. No holiday should be about a coffee cup, and if it is to you, you might want to reevaluate your morals. Who cares if the cup doesn't say "Merry Christmas?" December 25th will still come, you will still see the Chreasters (people who only go to church at Christmas and Easter) at the Christmas Eve service, and you will still be able to celebrate a wonderful holiday with your wonderful family.

Exploring the Best Dog Breeds: 11 Reasons Why Golden Retrievers Shine

Named for their heart of gold.

Anyone who knows me knows how much I adore my dog . I am constantly talking about my love for her. I attribute many of my dog's amazing qualities to her breed. She is a purebred Golden Retriever, and because of this I am a self-proclaimed expert on why these are the best pets a family could have. Here are 11 reasons why Goldens are the undisputed best dog breed in the world.

1. They are beautiful!!

If you don't know a thing about Goldens, you at least know how beautiful they are. Their shiny, long-haired coat is a distinct trait that ranges from a very white, cream color all the way to deep red. Their dark noses, fluffy ears, and deep brown eyes make them a sight to fall in love with.

2. They are extremely gentle.

It is a true fact that a Golden Retriever can hold an egg in its mouth without breaking it. Their nurturing nature and calm demeanor is a very comforting quality that makes Goldens a joy to be around.

3. Goldens are very easy to train.

While they may be stubborn dogs , they are incredibly easy to train. This is mostly because they are people pleasers at heart ! (And they'll do anything to earn themselves a little treat for being a good doggy!)

4. They love to cuddle!

This may come as a shock to Goldens, but they are not lap dogs. While they may like to think its okay to lay on their human's lap and cuddle, they don't realize that eighty pounds of pure fluff can be a little harder to cuddle with. Even if they can be huge, cuddling with Goldens is worth the pain.

5. Goldens are America's favorite family pet.

Golden Retriever's make the best family pet. They are very patient and loving with babies and kids, and their love knows no bounds. Every person in the house is apt to adore their Golden, and their Golden is just as likely to love their family as well.

6. They love the water!

Because they carry a heavy coat, the summer heat can be hard on Goldens. As a result, they are quite the swimmers. They love to play around in the water and feel the cool sensation on their long hair, as well as dropping all their toys in the pool and making you dive to the deep end to get them.

7. They are obviously very photogenic.

As you can see, Golden Retrievers are very photogenic. They love to be the center of attention, and always want recognition. That means trying to get a great shot for the 'gram won't be a problem.

8. Goldens are super playful.

Any time is play time! Goldens are professional fetchers. Whether it's a lacrosse ball, tennis ball, field hockey ball, soccer ball, or bowling ball-a golden will try to play with it. Except, sticks, leaves and other animals serve as great distractions to the great game of fetch.

9. There is no argument that they are the CUTEST puppies.

Golden Retriever puppies are essentially balls of fluff with big brown eyes that scream "hug me". The little rascals will get into anything, but its SO hard to say no with that little puppy dog face!

10. Golden are extremely loyal.

Goldens will lay by your side when you're sick in bed, they'll bark when a strange car pulls into your driveway, they'll even cry when you arrive home from the grocery store. No other dog shows so much affection and loyalty as a Golden.

11. A Golden Retriever will always love you more than you love them!

To any Golden Retriever, you are their whole life, their whole world. They live for when you come home from work/school, and they grieve when you leave. Golden's are a gift sent from God as a reminder that there is good in the world-in the form of your dog.

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example of toast speech about friendship

Toast to My Friend or Why Friendship Is the Best Kind of Love

By dorothea lasky.


by Jack Underwood

I’m not sure I believe the statement ‘friendship is the best kind of love’. It sounds like the kind of thing you’d say to a friend, but then not to a lover, or it’s the kind of thing you’d say to a friend when you don’t have a lover, or say sympathetically when your friend doesn’t have one, which is all fine, only what kind of contest between loves is that: between the friend you have and the lover you don’t? Between a friend you can tell, and a lover you can’t? Why would we even want to enter our loves into a hierarchy like that? And what’s not equally ‘best’ about the love of lovers? What’s not ‘best’ about long-haul, potentially-ruin-your-life-forever love; love that you can find yourself living within like a submarine, practically oblivious to the mortal depth and pressure that surrounds you? Or parental love – the kind that makes ordinary people lift up cars, or tear their winter coats off to dive into the lake; the kind that taught most of us about love in the first place – does friendship really come out on top?

I have nothing against friends. Even thinking about my own in an abstract way makes me feel very amorous. I would breathe in the smell of their jumpers right now, were any to hand. But absence or distance is, I think, also part of what makes friendships good. Like cactuses, friendships can survive for months without being tended to. Nothing dies overnight on the windowsill. There are, of course, those intense, sustained, passionate, submarine friendships, though the existence of these only further complicates the claim of ‘best love’, because where do we draw the line between one kind of love and another? Can I not keep a cactus on board my submarine? And what of people that desire neither cactuses, nor a life underwater? What of their ‘best’ loves? No, this idea of a ‘best’ love is the problem, because it’s a deliberately cute reduction. It doesn’t want to be trusted.

But before I look at why the premise of Lasky’s poem might not want to be trusted, first I ought to try to clarify what I mean by ‘cute’. Cuteness is being extra pleased by a pair of children’s shoes because you imagine that they are trying to be bigger shoes; cuteness is assigned; we read it onto or into things, mainly to celebrate and enjoy them, sure, but in doing so we unconsciously belittle them, because in order for something to be cute it must be regarded in a real or imagined context in which it will fail. Cuteness is the consolation prize that we award to the little thing that wasn’t even trying to be bigger. For example, I find it true that my cat’s arms are truly adorable because they are such little arms, in their various poses, but to call them “little arms” is to place the unreasonable demand upon them to be bigger arms, human arms, when they are, in fact, perfectly adequate and serious front cat legs. To assign cuteness is to position something unreasonably as subordinate in relation to an idealised version of ourselves; cuteness is a form of othering. When we play cute , we belittle and other ourselves by deliberately performing failed versions of our idealised selves: we pretend we don’t get it, we act more vulnerable or incapable than we are, we retract our heads and hunch our shoulders and blink naively, because we imagine this oversimplified self to be more appealing to those around us than the unstable, inconsistent self who howls into the pillow some nights, who desires greedily, and also privately enjoys the sickly-sweet failures of imagined rivals. Cuteness seems to stem from a defensive impulse to reduce things into manageable, innocent, unthreatening forms, and when we turn that gaze upon ourselves we are seeking to deny those parts of ourselves that threaten our own self-mythology: the parts that are selfish, violent, visceral, complicated. Why would we want to simplify ourselves like that? Is performing cuteness a form of denial or self-loathing? I don’t know.

But I do think the speaker of the poem ‘Toast to My Friend or Why Friendship Is the Best Kind of Love’, contrary to the title’s claim, knows that love takes many complex forms, and these manifold intimacies and passions cannot be compared or forced to compete. I think the speaker is deliberately encutening their predicament; they are using the hyperbolic ‘best love’ to signal that this poem will be a romantic performance, characterised by ironic or melodramatic gesturing, because it’s about intimacy and friendship, and this is, after all, part of how we are with people that we love: we goof around, we over-egg and mythologise, we say, ‘I care only for you and am yours,’ despite the reality of all the other loves we weigh within our hearts, and then there are chores, and responsibilities that tug and bat us elsewhere and compromise the simplicity of such promises, such romantic claims. In love we make ourselves cute. Because we are rhetorical animals, we toast ourselves, our friendships and loves in this simplified way all of the time.

Which brings me on to toasting, because this poem is a toast. Toasting began in the 17 th Century when people started serving drinks with spiced toast. That’s 100% true. Toasting someone as a form of publically honouring them derives from the idea that the announcement of an honouree enhances the flavour of the booze via the attachment of their name to the drinking act. Were you to toast to my friend Wayne, for example, the logic follows that the drink would be imbued with a certain Wayne-like character, improving things no end. Toasts are very poetic in their logic, in this sense. There’s also something in the history of toasting, about touching glasses being a reference to poisoning – as if the drinkers were saying ‘it all comes from the same bottle’ or ‘good luck, I hope we don’t die from this wine’ – which is also quite poetic, so there’s much symbolism behind the act of toasting. Even though these ideas and origins are now foggy to us, the ceremony of naming the honouree and drinking to them still generates a nice tension, a frisson, a collective sense of sentimental propriety. When someone makes a toast, it’s as if people have always been doing it, and no one ever made it up.

Nowadays the idea of honouring someone, by raising a glass and making a speech about them, has sadly passed out of everyday fashion. It is the sort of thing military men with great whiskers do all the time in Chekhov stories, but in real life it only tends to happen at leaving dos, or weddings, when sentimentality is called for, but one that requires regulation, formality. Is that what a toast is: the formalised regulation of public sentimentality? Sounds a bit like poetry. Lasky’s poem plays with the ironic tension between the public formality of the ‘Toast’ and the intimacy of the speaker/addressee dynamic. Recognising this as a reader brings you in on the joke, makes you part of that intimacy. While the sentiment of the poem is completely serious – the speaker loves Laura – the tone seems to suggest that summoning Seriousness and Gravity down from their mountain to speak the earnest language of deep, important feelings, would be at odds with how these friends operate. They seem way beyond formalities, so making a toast is deliberately inappropriate. Irony is one of the ways we can guard against the inadequacy and reductivism of a monological view of language. Irony is a demand that the binaries we use to conceptualise our thoughts and feelings (serious/frivolous, cute/austere) are collapsed, because life just isn’t like that. It demands that a more dynamic and accurate conceptualisation of how language relates to ourselves be formed, one that allows for confusion, ambiguity, duplicity and provisionality. How might we otherwise address the complexity of overlapping personal histories which close friendships operate within, and oscillate around?

I’ve been noticing recently that the speaker of a poem’s title is rarely the same speaker as the rest of the poem; they always seem to be slightly different people. Does the title of a poem belong to the poet, and the poem itself to the speaker? Whatever first-person poems talk about, they are always as much about their speakers, are always acts of characterisation, but titles usually feel as if they are trying to be unvoiced, neutral, in the third person. It’s as if the gap on the page between the title and first line is the length of time it takes for the actor to arrange her props and assume her position before beginning her monologue. But with its slight cuteness, Lasky’s title does feel voiced. It’s a rarity. The actor setting up her stage is just as much a part of the performance as the toast that follows:

Laura, Laura I am sad for you But more than that I am sad for me And when I make a toast to you I make a toast to me, my friend.

This is a lovely rhetorical double-knot to begin the toast/poem. The admission that the speaker is at least as concerned with their own feelings, and that the toast is as much an act of self-honouring, is, one would think, an odd opening gambit. It’s being sassy, but a mutual understanding between Laura and the speaker is intimated by this sass: there’s clearly some amount of truth underlying this “performance” of egocentricity, and the speaker is making an ironic admission of it by way of apology, but also because it also seems understood that Laura already forgives and accepts this about her friend. The subtext here is intimacy. Firstly, an emotional interdependency between the friends is alluded to, but also, since we tend to perform cartoons of our worst behaviour to each other when we know we are already forgiven for it, these opening lines are a way of giving thanks for the friendship’s unconditionality. All this inference and double bluffing is nicely weighed out rhetorically with the line breaks: ‘you / …me / …you / …my friend’.

I love the big swooping metaphor that comes next: ‘Here on the front porches of our lives, / I toast to you, with goblet raised.’ I like that it has that ‘concrete of the abstract’ construction, which hardly ever works because it tends to sound too grand: the mountain of death…the cupboard of hope…the lobster of faith, etc. Generally, too much is asked of the little concrete vehicle, and it can’t take the weight of all the material dumped onto it by the big abstract tenor. In the context of a cute toast, however, melodrama is part of the dynamic. It’s a construction that Lasky uses quite a lot in other poems, and the appeal is the way these big-time, fluorescent moments of grandiosity are neither entirely camp, nor entirely earnest, but entirely both.

Something about the plural “front porches” rather than one “front porch”, works doubly hard here too, because of the way it simultaneously unites and separates the friends’ lives. We can imagine Laura and the friend sitting out on separate porches, but twinned; we know their hearts are still in close proximity, as each ponders like James Wright ‘Lying in a Hammock at William Duffy’s Farm in Pine Island, Minnesota’:

I lean back, as the evening darkens and comes on. A chicken hawk floats over, looking for home. I have wasted my life.

The raising of the goblet then kicks the poem into a further gear: who drinks from a goblet these days? Who raises a goblet on their front porch? It is a delightfully preposterous image, with the arch omission of the determiner ‘a’, making it extra campy: ‘with goblet raised’.

Lasky then repeats the ‘abstract of the concrete’ construction, ramping things up even more: ‘And the house of our lives too, glittering / With decay.’ It’s nice to discover that the earlier front porches are now affixed to the front of the same house, bringing the friends’ lives together under one roof. And what about this decay? The ‘glittering’ hangs out on the end of the line, getting its extra 10% of eye-time, as we hold the image, carrying it over, until ‘With decay’ surprises us on the next line, suddenly giving us further imaginative work to do: we were thinking about general glittering and now we have to adjust, look again, and see that in fact it’s mould, slug-slime, wet wood. It takes a while to see this new rotting house with its two porches as beautiful again, but the effort makes us redraw the imaginative world of the poem, investing us further.

And the fatish ghost Of losing and the sun and moon Being the same thing outside our house, O!

Again Lasky goes for a ‘concrete of abstract’ construction, but this time the vehicle, the ‘fatish ghost’, is in itself something of an abstract. With ‘fatish’ being a neologism, for a start we have to get our heads around what it might mean on its own. Is something ‘fatish’ to do with fate, but only vaguely? Can we be sort of destined to lose? It can certainly feel like that a lot of the time.

I’ve always misread this line as ‘fattish’, imagining a moderately overweight ghost. This doesn’t exactly help matters in terms of clarity. The degree to which a ghost can actually be said to be ‘fat’ is a fairly out-there idea to begin with, before we get to thinking about one being ‘fat ish ’, but the cartoonishness of the ghost image (I’m thinking one of the mean ghosts from Casper here, or the Ghostbusters logo) gives both readings a solid outline to hang onto as we carry the image over to the next line, where, as with the ‘glittering / With decay’ break in the previous lines, we are confronted with a wider, more surprising idea, ‘the fatish ghost / Of losing’. Does the fatedness (or fatness) correspond proportionally to the degree of the loss? Is the ghost the ghost of the thing we have lost specifically, or is losing, more generally, a ghost that haunts us? Probably the image is all of these things. Probably, the fact the image is a ghost means that we are more easily able to allow these questions to hang, translucently, in a vague shape: a fatish ghost of questions, passing through our logical walls, unimpeded.

Whatever a ‘fatish ghost / Of losing’ is, without a comma after ‘losing’ we do at least know it’s the same thing as both ‘the sun and moon’, which are also the same as each other in this strange neighbourhood of friendship. That’s an awful lot to get your head around! No wonder the speaker becomes overwhelmed on our behalf and something finally gives, ‘O!’ The poem has built up pace and pressure with the number of ‘and’s running ideas together, and we’ve had to do so much imaginative work with all of the concrete-abstract manoeuvres and then everything being the same, that a little explosion is necessary.

There are many such ‘O’verwhelmed O’s in poems, of course: ‘O rose though art sick,’ says William Blake; ‘O me O Life,’ says Whitman; ‘O for a draught of vintage!’ swoons Keats; ‘O that I am nurtured at the sight and taste of love! O that the moon and the big tree / Of my childhood glow on me…’ writes Lasky in another poem for her friend Laura Solomon, making use of that ‘concrete of an abstract’ construction again. What makes the ‘O’ in ‘Toast to My Friend or Why Friendship Is the Best Kind of Love’ extra swoony is that Lasky places her ‘O!’ on the end of her line.

I can think of only one other poem that ends a line with an ‘O’ (‘Baby/Baby/Baby/O’ is not a valid answer, but it may be a case in point) and it’s an extremely good poem, in fact. It is called ‘Oh’, by Anne Sexton, and is mainly about death. It ends like this:

I see the child in me writing, ‘Oh.’ Oh, my dear, not why.

At one point, Sexton’s speaker says, ‘I would… / lift my madness / off like a wig”, which is wonderful, isn’t it? There’s also this lovely ‘Oh’ earlier in the poem.

It is snowing and the ninety year old woman who was combing out her long white wraith hair is gone, embalmed even now, even tonight her arms are smooth muskets at her side and nothing issues from her but her last word – ‘Oh.’ Surprised by death.

While Sexton’s ‘Oh’ here is a phatic gasp of surprise and mortal bafflement, Lasky’s ‘O!’ falls somewhere between the ‘O’ of an orgasm and a good old fashioned fit of vapours. I think it’s that ‘h’ which differentiates the forms and degrees of emotion and drama with these two forms of ‘O/Oh’, but that’s a whole PhD thesis. Anyway, the toast is going very well at this point.

But then the speaker begins to try to tie things together: ‘That in decay we could find that losing / Is truly beautiful.’ The concretes (the porches, decaying house and moderately overweight ghost) are gone, but the abstracts they qualified are left behind, struggling to align into a half-sensical sentence. It’s hard to work out exactly what it means – ‘That in decay we could find that losing / Is truly beautiful’? It doesn’t matter, of course; we can resist the temptation to force the sentence into a logical mechanism here, because the speaker doesn’t seem to be entirely sure either; emotions don’t translate into language that neatly. The speaker turns their attention instead to what they do know: ‘I love you and what’s so wrong / With that? Life is before us, so let us live!’ After all the metaphor and melodrama, it’s time now just to come out and say it:

In friendship we are one together and in friendship I am all soul. No that’s wrong, too.

The toast is beginning to unravel. Friendship and togetherness? Being ‘all soul’? It’s gotten a bit baggy, a little trite. The circuitous tactics, the irony, the metaphor, the cuteness, were all there for a reason: they guarded against precisely this kind of ‘summing up’. The speaker knows it: ‘that’s wrong, too’, they admit. Meanwhile Laura is waiting for the toast to reach its finale. We all are!

What is a soul all aflame?

The ‘all soul’ idea from earlier is inverted, complicated, set on fire. This question is so lofty and abstract we’ve no hope of knowing exactly what it’s asking, let alone how we might answer. It could be the set up for a joke: What is a soul all aflame? One of its legs is both the same . But burning souls are surely about passion, and so in friendship the speaker is all passion. It’s almost baroque.

If it’s a bird in snow, Then that’s what I am.

I don’t know what a ‘soul all aflame’ is, or looks like, but this small bird in the snow, with its busy life taking place in the cold – that’s a wonderful rug-pull of an image! The shift from the flames to the snow is a relatively obvious juxtaposition, but it works very effectively, I think, because of the drop in temperature the image implies as well. A sudden drop in temperature is a very different feeling to a sudden hotness arriving. A sudden drop seems more mortal, more like fainting, dying. And then visually there’s the whiting-out of the flames, again with an omitted determiner, so it’s just a bird ‘in snow’, a pervasive snow-ness.

The bird image also coincides with a downshift in register, from the high, archaic, abstract ‘a soul all aflame’ (who says ‘aflame’ these days, outside of poems? The same people who drink from goblets on their porches, I’ll bet) to the relatively plain and concrete, ‘If it’s bird in snow’. It seems to have appeared very suddenly and clearly, this bird in total snow.

And what about that last line, ‘Then that’s what I am’? What happened to our toast? When do we get to say ‘To Laura!’ and drink the Laura-wine? Has the speaker forgotten her? I don’t think so. This whole performance has always been for Laura. The bird-soul, ‘aflame’ on the inside, internally boiling its essence within itself as it stands against its cold-white backdrop, is a pretty darn good image to demonstrate how we feel when we find ourselves stranded and humbled by our feelings, humbled by the extent and complexity of love. The bird-soul seems a little cute at first, but look again and it’s not at all, because it’s not set up to fail; it’s winning , this “bird in snow”. Stuffed with fire, it’s a deadly serious bird, standing in serious, cold snow. It admits and owns its littleness. The bird is the speaker, the poem, the toast, the love for the friend: a soul all aflame, hidden inside this deliberate smallness, defying simplification. It is a touching poem about friendship, and that it allows us to look on and listen in only excludes us from its central intimacy. While we swoon away vicariously, we know this poem is only half our business, and so we search through the directory of our own loves and friendships for a locus. We toast to absent friends, with goblets raised, on all of our front porches.


Laura, Laura I am sad for you But more than that I am sad for me And when I make a toast to you I make a toast to me, my friend. Here on the front porches of our lives, I toast to you, with goblet raised. And the house of our lives too, glittering With decay. And the fatish ghost Of losing and the sun and moon Being the same thing outside our house, O! That in decay we could find that losing Is truly beautiful. I love you and what’s so wrong With that? Life is before us, so let us live! In friendship we are one together and in friendship I am all soul. No that’s wrong, too. What’s a soul all aflame? If it’s a bird in snow, Then that’s what I am.

From AWE (Wave Books, 2007). Reproduced with permission of the author.

Related articles

Jamie mckendrick, 1. out there 2012, 2. the urban field 2015, roddy lumsden, 1. autism 2015, 2. from steady grinding blues 2011.

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