This is a blog featuring my personal stories of food, gardening, yachting, photography, travel and life.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Wedding in Shenandoah National Park

Our family has been through quite a whirlwind over the past few weeks. Specifically, our son-in-law and daughter have really had a rough time getting themselves over here to America. So, when the paperwork still had not been completed and the time had come for a wedding in which our daughter was to be a bride's maid, she had to make the difficult decision to come without Nick.

Elise Reuschenberg and Duane Lambert were getting married in the Shenandoah National Park. Elise was our Kate's maid of honor at her wedding in England. The two of them had met while in the Peace Corps in Guinea, West Africa, where we also met Elise for the first time. Elise is a wonderful lady who has become our east coast daughter. This was our first meetin
g of Duane. He turned out to be (as if there would be any doubt) a wonderful guy, a perfect match for Elise.

Kate arrived in New York the same day we flew into Newark, NJ to rent a car and drive to the wedding. Nick and Kate had arranged for a car to be purchase
d for them to pick up in New York on their arrival. Kate had to pick it up by herself and drive on to the wedding. I wasn't at all sure about making the trip after hearing about Hurricane Earl which was traveling up the east coast. But I decided to go ahead with it and take the chance that the hurricane wouldn't, and it turned out it didn't, interfere with the trip. The drive to Shenandoah was beautiful when we finally got off I-95, one of the main north/south freeways along the east coast. We arrived on Friday, the 3rd of September, checked into our rustic but comfortable room with an incredible view looking out over the Shenandoah Valley hundreds of feet below. Kate arrived a couple of hours after us.

Many of those attending the wedding gathered for a BBQ in the afternoon and we got to k
now some of the family and friends of the bride and groom. Some of the bridal party were also Peace Corps alums who we had met there and had also had in our home a time or two. It was great to get to talk to Kate and let her vent a little. We spent the evening writing out the table name tags for the wedding dinner the next afternoon.

The next morning many of us met in the conference center where the wedding reception and dinner would be held later in the day. The flowers for the tables and the wedding flowers needed to be made and we had agreed to help. My floral design skills came in handy. I arran
ged most of the table arrangement flowers and created the bride's nosegay. I also arranged the flowers for the trellis the bride and groom stood in front of for their vows. A lot of others helped with the bride's maid's nosegays and the boutineers for the men in the wedding party. It all came out beautifully and it was so much fun to be able to help out on Elise's special day.

The wedding turned out perfect though quite blustery. It didn't dampen anyone's enthusiasm and the ceremony went of without a hitch.
We all headed for the reception/dinner where a Zydeco style band played throughout the afternoon and evening. There was plenty of liquid refreshment and finger foods before the dinner. Prime rib, trout and a vegetarian entree I never saw were the options for dinner. Besides the wedding cake, we also had a delicious dish of blackberry ice cream. The music went on into the evening and many danced the night away. I can tolerate only so much loud sounds before I become overwhelmed so about 9:30 I called it a day and headed up to our room.

The next day, many of the folks that had come for the wedding were leaving. We were unsure what to do since Kate still had a car that needed to get across country and no one to drive with her. I suggested that Leslie, who didn't need to be back until later in the month for her classes to start, drive with her. So it was decided that I would head back to Newark, NJ for the flight home and the two of them would head out across country together. That's what we did. About 3:00 PM that day, I loaded up our rental and they loaded up Kate's new car and we all drove off in opposite directions--they headed towards a first stop in southwest Virginia.
It was quite a lonely drive back up the coast through Virginia, past Washington, D.C., through Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New Jersey. But I arrived home about midnight after a long flight on Monday.

As for our two intrepid adventurers, they arrived at their destination that first night. First thing in the morning they found themselves with brake problems. A generous and friendly local mechanic volunteered to help them out despite it being Labor Day. The rear brake pads needed replacing. They were on their way by early afternoon and made it to Bardstown, Kentucky.

By Tuesday afternoon they had driven on to Chicago where they would turn west onto I-90 and the long straight-as-an-arrow drive to Seattle. At this writing they were planning stops along the way at the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore and on up across Montana and Wyoming (possibly Yellowstone), Idaho and Washington.

Hopefully, before and certainly not later than their arrival back in Bellingham, Nick will also have arrived and they can get on with their lives, finding a home, Kate a job and most importantly, ever so much closer to us.