The day before our wedding was hot but cooled off a little in the late afternoon when thunderstorms rolled in. As we gathered for the rehearsal, my dad warned everyone we may have to take shelter because the storms were likely to produce tornados. My response was something like, “Okay, let us know if we have to move.”
We ended up having to take shelter twice in two of the church bathrooms (there were two consecutive storms or one big one with two parts). The second storm was the biggest and Dad had us take cover in the shelters right before the city tornado sirens sounded. (A storm-wary dad with a smart phone is better than a weather radio and faster than tornado sirens!)
While we were in the shelters/bathrooms the second time, the power went out. Eventually, the worst of the storm passed and we emerged to a dark church and flooded parking lot (as far as I know, no vehicles were damaged).
Taking shelter with friends & family
Tornado buddies Gram & Eli (a.k.a. my mom & nephew)
Conveniently, we had planned to have the rehearsal dinner in the fellowship hall and the lasagna stayed warm in the ovens. There was still no power, though, so the hall was very dark. I saw someone start lighting tea lights on the tables and realized I had better candles. I recruited my brother-in-law, an usher, and a friend to help me get most of the pillar candles decorating the sanctuary and put them around the dinner tables.
One of the guests seemed surprised, “These are your weddingcandles! Are you sure you want to use them?”
“Oh, sure! They won’t burn down much. At my sister’s wedding, we burned the pillar candles all day and barely made a dent.”
Before dinner was over, the power came back on. As people finished eating, Brian stood up to thank everyone. His speech began something like, “Abby and I would like to thank everyone for being a part and – oh, we have a fire!” By the time his sentence registered in my brain, he was already at a nearby table, snatching a burning paper napkin and dropping it on the floor to put it out. Everyone was fine and I found out later that one of the kids had been playing with a tea light. Poking a candle with a paper napkin is not advisable!
Brian finished his thank-you speech and we wrapped up the rest of the evening without further incidents. As Brian drove me to my apartment, I told him, “After what happened today, I think there’s something we need to discuss that most couples don’t think about.”
“If we have to take shelter during our wedding tomorrow, I’m not waiting anymore, I’d want Jon to marry us in the shelter.”
“I don’t think there are any storms forecasted for tomorrow.”
“I don’t care. If there’s another tornado, will you marry me in the shelter?”
He laughed, “Yes. Maybe we could stand with Jon between the two bathrooms and finish the ceremony there so people could see from both sides!”
What’s your funniest or most memorable rehearsal story? Ours is a tornado, a flood, a power outage, and a fire!
If you noticed that my last two Lows & Highs posts left out a day, you may have wondered about my counting skills. The omission was intentional because, as someone wise told me, “That day deserves its own post.”
Brian proposed on December 11.
If you don’t like proposal stories, it’s cool if you want to stop reading now and join in on the next post. If you have not already read Ping-Pong Ball Sweetness, please do because it gives some context.
On Tuesday, December 11, I was on my way to work when I received a text message from Brian that he sent me an email and the link inside would explain. When I got to work and read the text, I opened the email to read, “Abby, Here’s the start of a little something to celebrate your graduation. Love, Brian.” When I followed the link inside, it took me to a YouTube video that was set as private and I could not view it. I sent off a text of my own and Brian had the video fixed a short time later.
The video was of Brian explaining that he wanted to do something special for my upcoming graduation, so he made me several videos. Every couple hours, he emailed the link to another video. The six videos featured him in different locations that are meaningful to me around my hometown: The campus building where we have weekly college student Bible study, the adult ed center where I volunteer, my parents’ house, and so on. In each place, he told me something he notices and admires about me.
Mid-afternoon, Brian sent the fifth video and texted me, “I just hit send on the next one. Hopefully these have made u smile all day.”
I replied, “Oh, they have definitely made me smile! If I didn’t already want to spend forever with u, the videos would have convinced me.”
“That reaction makes me smile. I’m glad I’m sending them all in one day instead of piecemeal.”
Around 3:30 p.m., he sent the last video where he sat in his office over four hours away and said even though I said I did not want graduation gifts, he had some help and a present was waiting for me at home.
I worked the next hour in suspense until I could leave for the day. Since I was sure Brian was waiting by his phone to hear my reaction to his gift, I sent him a text that I was on my way home but had to stop at the store for a few things first and would let him know when I got home.
At home, I entered through the back door and saw a path lined with ping-pong balls, leading through the kitchen to the living room. I shed my bags and coat and followed the path to where Brian stood waiting in a ping-pong-ball heart.
Surprised, I asked, “What are you doing here?” as I walked over to greet him. Yes, it was a silly question. As Brian pointed out later, I should have known as soon as I saw the ping-pong-ball path but I was surprised to the point of being flabbergasted because I came home expecting a nice bouquet of flowers or something similar. My memories are blissful and a bit hazy after this point. He got down on one knee to propose, and then pulled out a ring box and opened it but I could not take my eyes off his face. After I said, “Yes, of course” and we were hugging, he said something about putting on the ring. “Oh, yeah, I didn’t actually see it before.”
He showed it to me again and helped me put it on. Then he told me my plans for the evening had changed and our parents were meeting us for dinner at six. What he did not tell me was that his sister and my sister, brother-in-law, and baby nephew were also meeting us! It was a sweet surprise and we had a terrific time celebrating with our families.
After Brian and I recounted the story of how he proposed, my mom looked over and told Brian he did a good job, “You gave her a story.”
This is the end of of 31 Days with the Nester and 1238 other bloggers. I plan to resume weekly posts like Lows & Highs and Insta-Friday. I also plan to add a weekly random question post. Other posts will continue to be as I feel inspired and find time to write.
Did you dress up for Halloween as a kid? Do you dress up for Halloween now?
My siblings and I did dress up for Halloween, but I remember thinking, “So we dress up in costumes, go to see the neighbors and they give us candy… How is this different from most days?” We liked dressing up so much that we had a collection of costume clothes that we wore on wild, imaginative adventures in the backyard.
I had not dressed up for Halloween in years, but was invited to a costume party this year. Brian was Waldo and I went as Carmen Sandiego.* I have short, blonde hair, so many people did not recognize me at first (in person and in photos). It was easily the most fun costume I have had as an adult!
*Carmen and Waldo, hard-to-find globetrotters who wear red, are much more popular couple costumes than I first realized.
What is the most adventurous activity you have ever done?
I traveled solo to Seoul to meet friends for vacation and tourism around South Korea. I flew from Tulsa to Dallas to Tokyo to Seoul. On the flight from Dallas to Tokyo, I helped a Taiwanese man change the video screen at his seat from Spanish to English. He was haphazardly pressing buttons but clearly could not read Spanish so I offered to help. He looked at me confusedly and I realized he did not speak much English either. I pointed at the display and asked, “May I help?” He nodded and I tapped at the screen, finding the menu marked “Idiomas” with only a few mistakes. On the way home, I had another adventure but it takes longer to tell than I have time today.
My parents told me they gave me the only name they agreed on at the time: Abby.
Not Abigail, just Abby, because Dad thought Abigail sounded prissy and he did not want a prissy daughter. It did not really help, but he did try and I was eventually nurtured out of the prissiness.
I get amused when people occasionally call me Abigail. It does not bother me – I view it as a nickname. If they ask, though, I smile and tell them I’m Abby, not Abigail, but they can call me either one.
Abby comes from Abigail which means “my father is joy” or “my father’s joy,” depending on how you translate the original Hebrew.
I really thought I had today’s post all written and scheduled to post at 6:00 a.m… It has been a busy weekend with meeting my nephew for the first time, partying at a wedding (where I saw no bouquet throwing!), taking a four-hour road trip, and catching up with two different friends. I have had a marvelous time! Bonus question: How was your weekend?
Actual question I intended for Day 28: What is one smell that brings back a childhood memory?
The smell of coconut reminds me of sunscreen and summer and swimming at the lake or pool. As far as I remember, all sunscreen smelled like coconut in the 80’s and early 90’s. To this day, that olfactory trigger is why I avoid coconut-flavored drinks. They taste the way sunscreen smelled.
My tangible collections are journals I have filled (dating back to the early 90’s), children’s and young adult books I enjoyed as a kid, and interesting glass bottles.
My intangible collection is hundreds of stories, real and invented, mine and others’. I remember the plots and characters and can retell them or listen to them over and over. I have loved stories for as long as I can remember.
We are nearing the end of the 31 Days Challenge, so make any question suggestions and I will do my best to answer them before the end of the month.
What has fear of failure stopped you from doing?
Skydiving, singing solo in public (singing is definitely not my gift!), diving from a high board, flying with a jet pack or in an ultra-light, bungee jumping, stopping a speeding train like a superhero. I have no interest in trying any of these things, though!