The Wedding Weekend

Your guest blogger today is Mr. Wayne D. Beers.

We hadn’t planned on going to the wedding.

That should have been a sign.  Every weekend before and after the wedding weekend was booked up.  There was a fund-raising event at our house, Mr. Bobo’s sister’s fiftieth birthday party in Hot Springs, and our friend Ramona’s Memorial Day weekend visit.  It all seemed just too much.  But cousin Kathy told us that the wedding wouldn’t be the same without us. So the guilt set in.  We decided to go after all.

The wedding was to be in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  The closest Southwest Airlines could get us to Gulf Shores was Panama City, Florida - a three-hour drive to our beach wedding destination.  I’d never been to that part of the country, so I looked at maps to see what the drive along the Florida panhandle coastline would be like.  It looked incredible!  In my mind, we would rent a car, maybe a vintage convertible, maybe a 1965 Mercedes S series.  Mr. Bobo and I would fly into Panama City Friday, spend the night in a boutique hotel, and head to Gulf Shores on Saturday morning.  We would hop into the luxurious car (with the top down) and drive along a beautiful coastline.  We would, of course, take our time, stopping for lunch when we saw a cute roadside café, maybe have a glass or two of wine.  We’d laugh!  Mr. Bobo would spot a Quaint flea market or antique store, and we’d find some treasure(s) that we couldn’t live without.  We would arrive in Gulf Shores just in time for dinner.  The whole family would cook.  After dinner we’d all clean up, singing and dancing to “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.” Very “Big Chill.”  The wedding the next day would be beautiful.  I was picturing white sandy beaches, with the bride riding up on horseback.

That was how I envisioned the weekend going.  But as we all know, reality rarely measures up to fantasy. The were no vintage convertibles available, which was great since it rained all weekend.  I’ll get to the rain in a bit.  My 1965 Mercedes S series convertible turned out to be a beige Hyundai Sonata with a broken armrest console. (And I’d like to thank the fine people at Thrifty for the duct tape they provided to keep the armrest storage compartment closed.

The first night in Panama City went well. After picking up the rental car, we headed for the hotel.  No problems.  Sure there was rain forecasted for the weekend, but what do meteorologists know.  It wasn’t going to rain on our weekend.  We slept in the next day.  Why not?  We were going to take our time getting to Gulf Shores.  We found a Starbucks for our morning pick-me-ups and a great local place called Flap Jacks for breakfast.  Things were still going well. Our waiutress was a doll and the food was good home cooking.  I had an omelet filled with sausage and hash browns and cheese covered with cream gravy and a side of grits.  We were definitely in The South.



And then we were on our way.  As I was driving I noticed a lot of Waffle House restaurants.  I had the extremely clever idea of inventing a fun travel game in the vein of “Slug Bug” which I named “Waffle House Whack.”  Mr. Bobo was not quite as thrilled as I was to play, but he went along with it. A little over an hour (in which we had traveled a less than forty miles) into the trip and a sore arm from the game, the rains came.  Not just rains. Future generations will most likely refer to these rains as “THE RAINS.”  They were white-knuckled, steering-wheel-clenching rains.  It poured down through Fort Walton Beach.  It poured down through Destin.  It poured down through Pensacola.  There were no cute roadside cafes, no quaint antique shops, and no adorable flea markets.



Finally, after out five- (not three-) hour drive we were just minutes away from the beautiful ten-bedroom, three-story beach house where the wonderful wedding would take place, only to be faced with another roadblock.  An actual police roadblock on the only road that could take us out to the peninsula.  We drove up to the officer to see when the road might be open.  “No tonight.  Go back to where you came from.” Really?? Texas?? Mr. Bobo called his cousin Kathy to let her know that we would be driving back to Pensacola to spend the night in a hotel and then try again in the morning.  She said that it was probably for the best, as their beach house had lost some of its electricity, the air-conditioning on two floors was not working, and the refrigerator was on the blink.

Sunday morning, the day of the wedding, there was still no open road.  Kathy found an alternate route that would take us around the closed road to the other side.  I’m not really sure which way we were supposed to go - only that it would take us an extra hour to an hour-and-a-half.  The weather guys forecasted another ten inches of rain, on top of the twenty inches that the area had received the day before.  Mr. Bobo and I decided that maybe this time we would listen to the meteorologists.  We regrouped, packed up our stuff, and headed back to Panama City, away from the rain and away from the wedding.  The rains were torrential.  We got back to Panama City and spent the night in the same hotel we’d been in Friday night.  We must have looked rather haggard and extremely pained at check-in as they put us in a handicap-equipped room. I do love being able to just walk into the shower!

The wedding happened without us.  Ali and Ben are two young and determined kids in love.  I know that they will have many happy years together and will have great stories to tell about their wedding weekend.  It will not be the last time in their lives that things don’t go exactly as planned.



As I finish this blogpost, I’m sitting in the Houston airport waiting for our delayed (of course) flight.  Things don’t always go as we think they will.  Or maybe they do.

We laughed... a lot.

We hadn’t planned on going to the wedding.

Comments

  1. Dear Wayne,

    At least you and Michael made the effort...and then some! After all of that you should probably take a vacation to some nice dry desert climate locale. Better luck next time,

    Kevin Clark

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