Driving Around

It’s been a busy few weeks. Lots of highs (and some lows). I’ve been blowin’ and goin’, as we say here in the South.

So yesterday I got out of the house and drove around Rutherford County for the annual Art Studio Tour. I didn’t really have time to do the whole tour or even half of it. But it was a beautiful day for a drive in the country.

The address I was headed to was on Cripple Creek Road, which, as you might suspect, runs right along Cripple Creek.

The Cripple Creek? my Facebook friends asked. No. 🙂 There are Cripple Creeks all over the American South. In the vernacular, a cripple creek is a crooked (meandering) creek, as this one definitely was, switching back and forth under the road. Eventually I found a place to pull over.

Cripple Creek (Rutherford County, Tennessee), although you can’t tell from this shot.

Cripple Creek (Rutherford County, Tennessee), although you can’t tell from this shot.

 

Getting Back to Normal

For us, for Gerry and I, “normal” is living not in the same city, not in the same time zone, not in the same country. Soon—and again, soon is relative; I mean a year from now—normal will be in the same house. We’ve started that process: we got married, we (I) filed the immigration petition.

But for now, my husband lives in Dublin. He gets up six hours before me and goes to work. He sends me email or posts something interesting to my Facebook page while I am still asleep. He gets home from work about the time I’m having lunch. He checks in, on Skype. “H’lo, missus,” he says.

This morning, he left me a photo he took on his way to work in Harolds Cross.

He walks along the Grand Canal for some distance. It’s pretty no matter what time of day. He’s on or very near the Portobello Bridge here. (Photo by Gerry.)

He walks along the Grand Canal for some distance. It’s pretty no matter what time of day. He’s on or very near the Portobello Bridge here. (Photo by Gerry.)

Then he walked further and turned around and took another photo. It was 7:30 in the morning when he took these. (Photo by Gerry.)

Then he walked further and turned around and took another photo. It was 7:30 in the morning when he took these. (Photo by Gerry.)

I am struck, of course, by how different 7:30 in the morning is in Dublin … from here in Tennessee, so much further down the globe. (It’s science, y’all.)

If I were commuting at 7:30am, this is what it would look like in November.

If I were commuting at 7:30am, this is what it would look like in November.

It’s a different sun, a different angle in November. But definitely lighter.

It’s a different sun, a different angle in November. But definitely lighter.

So we carry on, we, seven thousand miles apart, sharing our little moments. Beautiful, all of them.

With a Little Help From Our Friends

Note: I’ve included more photos here than I might normally, because this will be the only source of wedding news for our friends and family who are far away. (And, even, close—since it was a very small wedding.) I hope you won’t mind this indulgence. Remember, also, that you can click on any photo to enlarge it.

• • •

So the plan was to meet at the county clerk’s office at 3:30 that afternoon. Jon and Teresa were waiting on us, and the four of us stood around outside chatting while we waited for Jenny and her husband, Kerry, to walk down from the square, where they’d parked.

I think Gerry and I were … a little anxious. 🙂

And then, in the way things have a way of happening in Murfreesboro—it’s a large town that acts like a small town—a woman walked by to put something in the Fedex dropbox outside the county clerk’s office. Wait … I think I recognize that woman.

“Katja?”

It was our immigration attorney. She rushed over, hugged me. “It’s today!” she said. “I love your dress!”

What a great moment, right? Of all the Fedex dropboxes in all the world, she had to walk up to, um, ours. 🙂

Me, Gerry, Jon, Teresa … and Katja Hedding, on a beautiful autumn afternoon in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

Me, Gerry, Jon, Teresa … and Katja Hedding, on a beautiful autumn afternoon in Murfreesboro, Tennessee.

And then we went inside to the court clerk’s office to buy the license.

Kerry and Jenny did a great job of documenting our day. As did Jon, who handled videography.

Kerry and Jenny did a great job of documenting our day. As did Jon, who handled videography.

They were expecting us! (This, again, is why I love Murfreesboro. They were expecting us.) Rick Spence had two couples ahead of us. (Who’d a-thunk it?) But that was OK, because we had some paperwork to take care of.

Notice I am smiling and Gerry is pretty serious. La-la-la-la-la!

Notice I am smiling and Gerry is pretty serious. La-la-la-la-la!

When we were done, we drove down to the square to wait. My friends Amy and Dan Parker were driving by and when they saw us get out of the car, they pulled in to the spot next to us. If I haven’t said it before, this is why I love Murfreesboro: on the day of my stealth wedding, we run into friends! Hugs, photos, and laughter ensued. We invited them to stay but they had someplace to be.

It was an absolutely beautiful day. Perfect.

It was an absolutely beautiful day. Perfect.

Here my brother, Jon, prepared with the video camera, and his wife, Teresa, wait. Business around the square went on as usual. I truly love this downtown. It’s the real thing.

Here my brother, Jon, prepared with the video camera, and his wife, Teresa, wait. Business around the square went on as usual. I truly love this downtown. It’s the real thing.

Gerry had been intending to Skype back to Ireland on my iPhone, so he got on the phone while the rest of us waited for Rick.

Ain’t technology grand? Gerry is talking to Ireland.

Ain’t technology grand? Gerry is talking to Ireland.

While we waited, we took photographs. Of course!

I was at the point of exhausted giddy, you know?

I was at the point of exhausted giddy, you know?

I love you, Jenny! Thank you so much for everything!

I love you, Jenny! Thank you so much for everything!

It became apparent that there were technical difficulties on the other end. We were not going to be able to have Gerry’s mother present via Skype. (But that’s OK. We have video.) When Rick Spence arrived promptly at 4:15, Gerry had to hang up. Everyone took his or her place.

Including us. Rick had some instructions for our witnesses.

Including us. Rick had some instructions for our witnesses.

And we began.

“Look at each other,” Rick said.

“Look at each other,” Rick said.

We did.

We did.

Rick has that lovely accent possessed of native Tennesseans; it’s unmistakable. He took his time; nothing was rushed.

Saying our vows.

Saying our vows.

Did I mention what a nice day it was? It was.

Did I mention what a nice day it was? It was.

No skimping! Vows, rings, the works!

No skimping! Vows, rings, the works!

It was perfect in every way.

It was perfect in every way.

It was a really nice ceremony. Both of us were surprised at how nice it was, when we’d been expecting a rubber-stamp quickie wedding. People were coming in and out of the courthouse but everyone got a kick out of what we were doing. Great feeling, rush hour, cars going around the square, and we were doing our thing. I loved that aspect of it—business as usual.

At one point we had to wait for some folks who insisted on going into the courthouse whilst we were marrying. The nerve! :)

At one point we had to wait for some folks who insisted on going into the courthouse whilst we were marrying. The nerve! 🙂

And then, just like that, it was over.

Smooch!

Smooch!

Our officiant was the best. Thanks, Rick Spence!

Our officiant was the best. Thanks, Rick Spence!

We lingered for a few moments—and more photographs. 🙂

We got our marriage certificate on the spot, no waiting!

We got our marriage certificate on the spot, no waiting!

All that kissing!

All that kissing!

Yes, it was a happy day.

Yes, it was a happy day.

The obligatory ring shot. Not to be confused with a rim shot. Bada-bing.

The obligatory ring shot. Not to be confused with a rim shot. Bada-bing.

Our family! Teresa, me, Gerry, Jon. Love you guys!

Our family! Teresa, me, Gerry, Jon. Love you guys!

Our friends! Jenny, me, Gerry, Kerry. Love you guys!

Our friends! Jenny, me, Gerry, Kerry. Love you guys!

And in case you’re just joining our program …

And in case you’re just joining our program …

Wedding, Part Two

We had one little thing to do before we could get to celebrating. One of my authors, Nancy Rue, was in town for a book signing. She’d emailed me about ten days earlier: What are you doing on October 23rd between 4 and 6pm? I have this book signing. We could catch up!

Um. I know this is gonna sound crazy, Nancy, but I’m getting married at 4:15pm that day.

We decided to crash the book signing.

It was more excitement than Barnes & Noble has seen in a long time. Ha!

It was more excitement than Barnes & Noble has seen in a long time. Ha!

Wedding, Part Three

At last it was time for dinner. Jenny had made reservations for us at Peter D’s, a local restaurant. We were early, but that wasn’t a problem. (Their planning to seat the six of us in a booth was a problem, but quickly rectified.) We landed with Richard, who was a fabulous server. We had a grand time. Kerry and Jenny brought a bottle of Dom Pérignon, and we wasted no time getting to the toasts and thank-yous. It was delightful.

Richard was the best!

Richard was the best!

Wedding, Part Four

And then we went back to the house. Remember, the wedding’s not official unless you have cake. 🙂

So we had cake. :) And tea. And some of us had more champagne. :) And Gerry and I were in bed, exhausted, by 8:30pm! Because that is how we old folks roll.

So we had cake. 🙂 And tea. And some of us had more champagne. 🙂 And Gerry and I were in bed, exhausted, by 8:30pm! Because that is how we old folks roll.

And that, dear friends and family and everyone else, is the story of our wedding. 🙂

Great shot, Jenny.

Great shot, Jenny.

 

I Wasn’t Prepared

After we made three different sets of wedding plans—and then quit telling people!—it’s a wonder anyone still wants to hear about it. But I’ve been so blessed with my friendships.

My friend Jenny cheerfully volunteered to take photos when I surprised her with the news that we were going to marry and soon. And then she quietly stepped in and became my wedding planner when she saw I was making a hash of it. 🙂

“What about this? That?” she’d say, her daybook open on the table. “I’ll do it.” She’d write something down. “I’ll do that.” Honestly, Jenny, I wouldn’t have survived this without you.

I’d been whining for months that my favorite florist (Henry’s, on the square) had gone out of business. Jenny spoke up one day and said, “Let’s talk about your flowers.” So we did. “I can make your bouquet,” she said. “And the boutonniere.” And she did. First she made a Pinterest page of bouquets in the colors I’d mentioned, using her imagination, really, since I hadn’t been particularly helpful, what with the computer crash, my work load, and Gerry’s impending arrival. I was frazzled, y’all. In the end, all I had to do was pick up the flowers.

I’d settled on white roses, with dusty miller for accents, if we could find some. But where, in October? Jenny had lambs’ ears growing in her backyard—that would do.

On the morning of our wedding day, then, Gerry and I went to Kroger. Yep! The grocery store. Jenny and I had a Plan B in case the local store didn’t have white roses—there are several in town—but as it turns out, our local had been remodeling all summer and had just opened the new produce section. Flowers were in stock, plentifully so. We bought white roses and white hydrangeas.

Text messages were flying. Jenny had discovered dusty miller in abundance at the entrance of our subdivision, and helped herself. (Sorry, HOA. It was for a good cause. Our dues are paid.) I did promise to bail her out if she got arrested for stealing the plants.

Jenny arrives with lambs’ ears and dusty miller.

Jenny arrives with lambs’ ears and dusty miller.

While Jenny got to work, I … well, I did nothing. I sat at the table and kept her company, but I was no use whatsoever. This marryin’ bidness is hard work.

Jenny constructs a beautiful bouquet.

Jenny constructs a beautiful bouquet.

I piddled around taking photographs. Dusty miller, lambs’ ears, and tulle.

I piddled around taking photographs. Dusty miller, lambs’ ears, and tulle.

At one point we needed to put the flowers in the fridge to slow them down. The bacon kept them company.

At one point we needed to put the flowers in the fridge to slow them down. The bacon kept them company.

I’d made the cake the day before. It was already occupying quite a bit of the fridge. The boutonniere rests atop it.

I’d made the cake the day before. It was already occupying quite a bit of the fridge. The boutonniere rests atop it.

When she was done with the flowers, Jenny spiffed up the downstairs like a whirling dervish, sweeping, cleaning the kitchen, arranging the table. And then she went home to get ready.

The table, waiting. Noonish.

The table, waiting. Noonish.

OMG, I’m about to get married.