Have Dental Floss, Will Travel

Mapping the world, one waxy strand at a time…

Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight

Hey strangers!

Remember this little blog over here?

Funny, neither have I for the past week.  Bear with me over the next few weeks.  With the school year starting, I’m struggling to find time to sit down at the computer to respond to email, let alone write anything coherent that doesn’t have to do with syllabi and course prep.

We returned home from Hawaii Tuesday afternoon (lava rocks, for better or worse, still in the bottom of my stubborn husband’s bag) and immediately transitioned into back-to-school mode.  Brent had a department meeting Tuesday night, I was up on campus all day Wednesday and Thursday, and we spent Friday shopping for a new car and battening down the hatches for the incoming storm.

I awoke Saturday morning with plans for a long run and a quiet day before heading south for the evening for the wedding of one of Brent’s good friends from high school.  The bride and groom had sent out an email the day before with one resounding message: trade in your festive-wear for t-shirts and galoshes – the wedding is on!

The pre-hurricane humidity led me to the treadmill for an uneventful 14 miles that passed far more quickly than they should have, thanks to the company of a running buddy (and one-time running blogger) on the next machine over.  I worked through the rest of the morning, threw on an easy rain-friendly sundress at 3 o’clock, and we were out the door half an hour later.

We had expected to return home that evening after the reception, but it was not to be.

The rain had begun around 11:30 that morning, and by the time we arrived at the wedding site – the giant farm on the PA-DE border where the groom had grown up – water was pooling in the fields and splashing up from the driveway.  We pulled on rain jackets, left all phones and cameras in the car to keep them dry, and beelined to the barn.

The name of the day was sustainability, and the bride and groom did everything they could to keep their wedding as local, organic, and waste-free as possible.  That meant that the wedding party was shoed in Tom’s, the food was Pennsylvania- and Delaware-grown, the guests were encouraged to wear thrift-store duds, and regional brews and wines were served in recycled Mason Jars.

It was pretty fantastic.

From the ceremony in the barn we moved to a tented reception, filled with toasts, speeches, and dancing the night away…

…that is, until 10 PM, when the generator that had been hooked up since the power went out a couple hours earlier began blowing the amps of the band.  They packed up and went home, and as the guests transitioned back to the barn, we began to get ready to head home to the dogs.

Until we realized that we were trapped…

Pulling out of the driveway to the right meant driving through the rushing waters of the overflowing Brandywine Creek (another guest tried this and is now down a functioning car).  Turning left from the farm meant driving head first into a downed tree.

And, as the radio warned us, Irene was just getting started.

After a frantic half hour, we finally got in touch with two good friends who live right behind us.  They were able to pick up our dogs – who hadn’t been out since mid-afternoon – and bring them to their house for the night.

Crisis averted, and knowing that we weren’t going anywhere until morning at the earliest, we decided to embrace Irene’s wrath and head to the barn with our friends for a night of generator-powered fun.

We danced until 2, rocking out to Johnny Cash, Bon Jovi, and Aretha Franklin.  We toasted the bride and groom, chowed down on farm-grown tomatoes and watermelon, fresh globs of mozzarella, and the chewiest homemade rosemary bread I’ve ever had.

When the deejay transitioned from ’80s and ’90s to house blend, I decided to call it a night, and we found a cozy back room in one of the houses to set up camp.  Armed with piles of blankets from the groom’s family and tucked away from the craziness in the barn, I was curled up on the floor by 2:30 and Brent and his high school roommate joined me half an hour later.

We awoke the next morning at 9:00 and, after learning that brunch was canceled (the governor of Delaware had declared it illegal to drive on state roads, making it impossible for the caterer to get to the farm), we began the slow process of getting home.

The lower roads were still washed out, but we were able to sneak out through the northern exit of the farm just as the Brandywine was cresting over the bridges.  We drove through tire-deep water, detoured around floods and fallen trees, dropped off the stranded wedding photographer north of the city, and three hours later, finally made it home.

Definitely the most exciting wedding I’ve ever attended!

What about you?  Any good Irene stories?  Or other weddings made more memorable by Mother Nature?

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12 responses to “Goodnight, Irene, Goodnight

  1. mallory August 30, 2011 at 10:44 am

    That sounds like an awesome wedding!!! I love how laid back it was!! Glad you made it through the storm. It didn’t get too bad here like it was supposed to and I’m thankful for that!

  2. Angela K August 30, 2011 at 11:26 am

    What an epic wedding. And I love how the bride and groom just rolled with it.

  3. Marcia August 30, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Wow. I can’t even imagine. Sounds like everybody was a really good sport about all of it. It does sound pretty cool!

  4. Anne August 30, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    That is going to be one great story to tell their kids 🙂 Glad you’re all safe!

  5. Kara August 30, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Ok, so this hurricane is totally your fault for bringing those lava rocks back!!! 🙂

  6. Sarah S @RunningOnWords August 30, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    My sister lives in DE and refused to evacuate. A good friend in West Chester had the tornado pass right behind his building. The whole thing sounds scary. And I agree, it’s all the rocks!

  7. Johann August 31, 2011 at 11:03 am

    Sounds like good times from Hawaii continued into the wedding until Irene came along. All the best for the school year!

  8. Denise August 31, 2011 at 4:31 pm

    i know it wasn’t fortunate to have the storm the day of the wedding, but that sounds like one of the best weddings ever!!! and i love the local theme!! rain on your wedding day is suppose to be good luck…so they are more than set!

  9. Coy September 1, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    This sounds like MY kind of wedding! Irene sounds like it almost made it better than expected! Glad you’re back to blogging!

  10. Elise September 1, 2011 at 3:25 pm

    wow! that is quite the epic tale! at least they’ll have a wedding to remember — as will you and all the other guests! also, glad you’re safe and not too affected by Irene!

  11. RunToTheFinish September 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

    ok the wedding itself sounds really cool and i’m so glad they were able to have it and celebrate…uhh the crazy drive home would have had me ripping my hair out!

    hope you get in to a grove with school this week!! I am a little freaked your training plan is farther a long than mine…eiik maybe I need to run farther than planned next week

  12. Vanessa @ Gourmet Runner September 7, 2011 at 2:24 pm

    Oh my goodness–what a wedding! I can guarantee the bride and groom will never forget their wedding day. And, to answer your question–I went for a glorious trail run in the rain yesterday, and loved every second of splashing through puddles!

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