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by Paul Graham

On the morning of Lolly's funeral mass & wake, I woke early. Unable to get back to sleep, I got up and wrote out these words so I'd have something for the wake. It turned out it was more a night of music & dancing, than maudlin' speeches so the words stayed in my pocket. I'm glad to be able to share them with you now.

“When I asked Lolly to be my best man, I must admit, I had some concerns. First off, he would have had to be responsible for not losing the wedding rings. And, Lolly was always losing stuff! His keys, his wallet, sunglasses, cell-phone, even his beloved Ipod, all have been left in pubs and people's houses across Canada, and the world. He would wake up the next morning, wherever he was, and have to retrace his steps, and call around, and try to find what he had lost. The thing is that with Lolly, all his stuff seemed to always come back to him. So I decided that even if he lost the rings, he'd find a way of getting them back.

Then there was the best man's speech. As you know , when Lolly told a story, he tended to ramble on a bit. We were all concerned that maybe his speech at the reception would be longer than the wedding ceremony at the church! But with Lolly's stories, you always wanted to know what happened next, and how they ended, so we figured our guests would forgive him if he went on for a bit.

But, when I asked him to be my best man, I told him it was because he was my friend, and because he was the best man I knew. The most loyal, trustworthy, decent, loving - I think he taught all of us something of the meaning of love, he was kind, passionate - he introduced me to the years of pain, suffering, heartache, and this season some joy in being a passionate supporter of Everton Football Club. Come on, you Blues! He was generous, and he was strong. And that's what you need in a best man. Someone to be strong for you when you're feeling weak. Just the Sunday before last, Sue and I had Lolly over for his Sunday dinner, and afterwards, he and I went out for a pint. And we talked more about the wedding, and I told him that what I needed from him most, or when I would need him the most, would be at the church, in the vestry, when we would be waiting for the ceremony to start. And he assured me that he would have a flask of whiskey, at the ready, in case I need a quick nip to calm my nerves. And then he looked me in the eye, and he promised me, he promised that he would be there for me. So I know that he will, I know that he will.
Finally, I'd like to read part of a poem by W.H. Auden. Forgive me if you've heard it before as I've changed some of the words, but it says a little bit of what Lolly meant to me.

Stop all the clocks, turn off the telephone
Quiet the barking dog, all alone
Hush the piano, and with Lolly's drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come

Let airplanes softly drone over head
Writing in the sky; he is dead
Let Lolly and all the angels play music in one glorious eternal jam
And, here on earth, let Everton players wear black, arm bands

He was my North, my South, My East, my West
My working week, and my Sunday rest
Our noon, our midnight, our words, and he was our song
The bible says love lasts forever; it is not wrong

Love does last forever. Here's to Lolly"

Sue & I were married three days later in Toronto. Pat handled the rings, Tony signed the register, and they both made brilliant speeches. Lolly was there with us, in the church as we said our vows, and at the reception as we danced all night, ran out of white wine, and had to send out for more.

He was there for me.