It may have meant 16 hours of total driving and very little sleep, but my sister's wedding was well worth the trip. Of course, Mother Nature did her best to ruin this plan, what with severe flooding in D.C. on Thursday evening with road closures all around. And Dollar Rent-a-Car? More like "we take but don't honor reservations" Rent-a-Car! We were going to rent a car small enough for my wife to drive part of the trip, but of course we get there only to find that the Ford Focus we'd reserved was not there, but they'd be happy to rent us a minivan. Why even take a reservation if you have absolutely no intention of honoring it?
So, we instead drive up in my car, meaning my day that began at 6 AM would involve adding a 5-hour car trip to Westchester, NY in the driving rain starting at 8:30 at night. Hooray for everything working out! Fortunately, our luck picked up north of Baltimore when the rain stopped, and there was basically no traffic the whole way up. We get in quietly, sleep a bit, then have bagels in the morning with the fambly and my mom's friend Roz from their Peace Corps days. Then, it's off to the Catskills for a 2.5 hour trip through winding mountains.
We arrive at the Roxbury Motel, which has a special theme for each room, ours being the "Versailles Room." Busts and gold leaf? You betcha! We took a moment to enjoy the in-your-face gaudiness before heading up to the farm that was rented out for the BBQ/rehearsal.
After rehearsing (which, like all rehearsals, is chaotic and getting all the bugs out of the system), eating, and speeches, we retire to our motel for Scotch before getting the first good night of sleep in days. A bit of hiking and seeing the fambly the next day, then dressing and photos. At this point, the guests were all arrived, and we take our places on a scenic hill overlooking the mountains and pastures. Is there a billy goat leashed to a tree behind the altar? You bet there is! Then, my dad leads my sister up the hill on a horse (!) where she dismounts to head down the aisle. The ceremony is brief (not quite as brief as my own, which clocked in at about three minutes thanks to our Count Chocula-looking officiant!), then we're on to a cocktail hour with fine snacks, top shelf booze, and soul music under a pavillion. This lasts about an hour before we walk further down the hill to the tent for the reception, plenty of boozing (top shelf, did I mention?), dancing and fine eating. It was an excellent party and very much reflective of my sister's personality.
The next morning, we're up at the crack of 8:45 to begin our long drive back--hoping of course that the route through Pennsylvania to DC would not be blocked by floods or 9/11 related stuff--and hoping to have plenty of time to get my brother to the airport in DC for his evening flight. The trek is long, but our luck is in--only a portion of I-88 is closed, and the gas station people were very helpful with directions to I-81 where we needed to go. We stop later at a Wendy's near Wilkes-Barre, and not five minutes after we get our food a bus-load of at least 100 old folks pours in and gets in line to order. (Had we been just a bit later, our lunch would have involved me going into angry rage!) Finally, we do make it back to DC with plenty of time for my brother's flight, and to sit back and collapse from exhaustion.
All in all, a great weekend, and happy to see my sister and her husband off to start their marriage together.