Sunday, October 30, 2016

Groom's Side V Part II...The Bridge is Open

Who can make it to this wedding?
Never have four words made me happier. "The bridge is open!!" reverberated throughout the house. With Trevor and Betty constantly monitoring the Dare County Emergency Management site, that was the announcement we were waiting for. Within a few hours, after a three day wait, after three nights in three different hotels...Beth and the kids were in the house! And, after three days of having my heart in my mouth, the possibility have actually having this wedding was once again in site!

The Phelps/Shepard Hotel...

As quests starting heading onto the island and finding their houses under water or inaccessible, our house became the stop over while busy realtors looked for alternative accommodations. Since my brothers, wives and other sister were not coming until the end of the week, most nights, we had some spare bedrooms to offer to the temporarily homeless . Our only rule was "when you get up, wash your sheets and put them back on the bed" since we never really knew who'd be spending the night. Or even staying for a meal! Cooking (especially with limited supplies in the one store that remained open) and cleaning became controlled chaos. The glue that kept it all together is that we were family and friends, so it just worked.

The house had seven TV's, but only three of the seven cable boxes were not fried by lightening, so a pool table on the first floor, board games, cards, a hot tub and a fridge full of beer, kept most of us entertained. At one time or another, laughter could be heard on any of the three levels. My nephew Scott, along with his alter-personality of a civil war era southern general, kept us all entertained. He would cover the faces of the young ones with his entire hand and yell "face hug" They loved it! By the end of the week, even my 17 month old grandson was placing his little hand on my forehead and telling me "hug".

Wedding House Under Water...

 A year before the wedding, the groom and bride had rented a beautiful home that slept 22 people. It was their gift to the bridal party and their spouses. There were BBQ's, bonfires and pool parties in the planning. Hurricane Matthew changed it all.  The first floor of the house was under water. Kyle and Melissa spent the first few days of what was suppose to be the "best wedding week ever", in one of our spare rooms, trying their best to keep hopes and spirits high. The bride's two sisters, Jen and Violet, stayed with us as well!They took out storm insurance, but money wasn't what they needed now. The bridge was open and they had to find a place big enough to host the bridal party. Fortunately, (a shout out here), Resort Realty called owner after owner until they found them a large beautiful home right on the Currituck Sound. Spectacular sunsets included!
I will face hug you Lucas...anytime!

Unexpected Memories...

The storm initially made things difficult for sure, but in the same way that strong winds and waves often expose amazing ocean relics on a battered, eroded beach, its challenges brought to surface the true love and support of all in my life. I will never forget the road conditions of those coming from the south. My oldest brother Cee Jay, his wife and a Jeep, endured detour after detour, turning what was to be an 11 hour trip into 20.  The same for my brother Tom and his wife. But they made it. I will forever remember how Tom, my oldest son Trevor, my brother in-law Pat, and a rare bottle of bourbon kept Beth and me laughing for hours. Speaking of Beth, the storm showed me what a  truly tenaciousness woman she is., I will always remember how the day after the storm, when things seemed at its worst, a phone call from my friends saying "even if we have to paddle across the sound, we will make it." I will never forget how my sister Betty stood hours making wonderful home-made gnocchi's that fed everyone in the house (I'd lost count by this time)..including my friends! Hurricane Matthew made it such a special week in ways I had not anticipated. Amazing relics were exposed.

What A Beautiful Day For A Wedding...

In the end, on the day of the wedding, the sun shined strong, causing the large ocean-like sound
surrounding the Whales Head Club in Corolla, North Carolina, to sparkle in celebration. Every day that led to it paled in comparison. Almost everyone made it to see Kyle wed the love of his life. To see the beautiful bride Melissa take his arm to start their journey. To see an amazing couple who refuses to let obstacles stop them.

Well over a year ago, when Kyle and Melissa told me that they wanted to get married on the Outer Banks, I was worried. I told them that not everyone they know will travel to a destination wedding. That people would have to use vacation time, spend money for housing. And that our budget would be limited. But it didn't deter all. "We understand that. We understand that not everyone will come, but it's what we want. It's where we want to be married." And so it was. And not even an unexpected storm could deter them. They started their wedding week in 90 mile an hour winds and flooding rains. They ended it on the warm, sunny shores of the Outer Banks. Just where they wanted to be.

In the Outer Banks, with all of their family and friends around them, these two were married! 


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