If I could have everyone's attention, I would like to propose a toast to my best friend Jack on his 40th birthday. I may not be Jack's oldest friend, but I certainly feel like we've known each other forever. Even though it feels like forever, I can still remember the first day we met. (Although it's getting foggy now that we're getting older!)
All you people may not know this, but I met Jack in the strangest of ways. I was sitting at a bus stop in the dead of winter, when all of a sudden I heard the clip clop of little horse hooves. I looked all around because, of course, this was Chicago not the middle of farmland.
Up the road, I saw a big red sleigh speeding towards us with two big black horses pulling it ahead. And Jack, he was standing in the sleigh dressed as Santa Claus trying to stop those horses with all of his might. Finally, he jumped from the sleigh onto the back of one of the horses and slowed it down. I remember thinking he was going to fall off that horse, but he didn't. He just screeched to a stop in front of that bus stop and let out a great big laugh.
I guess I must have looked surprised, because he smiled at me and for the first time I saw that mischievous smile we all know and love. And do you know what he said? "Want a ride? I think the sleigh is faster than the bus."
Well, Jack, you never did explain what you were doing that night, but I've come to think of you as one of my dearest, if strangest, friends. So, to Jack! May your excitement not be so great that it takes you from this world. And to another 40 years!
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