Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Against The Wind

If you don't know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.

Photo: Through it all a very happy day.The Samsung's GPS pointed toward Mullet Key, part of the Fort de Soto County Park. It is probably one of the most picturesque spits of land in the Tampa/St. Pete area. Palm trees rim grand expanses of clean, white beaches. Infinite views boast virtually one-eighty vistas of the Gulf, nearby Egmont Key visible just on the horizon. At the far southwestern edge of our island's knuckle a lone lighthouse stoically blinks its warning message.

Seeing these things is possible only when the driving rain and gale-force winds subside.

It is a hardy bunch who gather for Beth and Mike's wedding - if that is the proper description. They were first married in a ceremony at the edge of Niagara Falls, in March of last year. Temperatures hovered in the single digits but the happy couple doffed overcoats for the pictures and ceremony. Their officiant had been a meteorologist in blizzard-prone Buffalo, NY. That, in and of itself, should have been a clue.

Now they were renewing their vows in sunny, temperate Florida. Average high in March - 80ish. Except....

The drive down was shockingly treacherous, with seasoned Florida drivers creeping along the interstate at 35 MPH, flashers on. Raindrops the size of golf balls pelted the rental car ("did I get full coverage?"), standing water snatching at the tires and it seemed reasonable to assume that only immediate family would brave these conditions.

The gazebo was soon packed with revelers.

Good thing, because it took all hands to hold down the table clothes. Mason jars (their last name is Mason...ironic) were flung through the air, festive hand grenades adorned with lacy wrapping and plastic flowers. The cooler lids take turns signalling frantic foot races as they departed for the mainland. The wedding cake - taped to the picnic table like a maiden lashed to the mast of a sailing ship during a nor'easter. This ceremony's officiant - fabulous cousin Carol - holds firmly onto her hat discussing with Mike and Beth...yelling over the sound of the 40 mph breeze...how the ceremony would go.

"Hey," one of the attendees screams to be heard. "There's no wind over here."

Amazingly, fifty yards way, there is peace. The rain tails off, the sun comes out... "Do you Beth, take Mike since last March..." Meanwhile, back at the gazebo, the paint is being torn from the wood tables, but on the landing of the outbuildings a fabulous day unfolds. The ceremony, though brief, is beautiful. Beth is radiant, her new husband handsome and charming. Sister Katy delivers a touching, tickling speech about her big sister. There is food, there is frivolity and the beach beckons.

Improvise, adapt, overcome - surrounded by friends and family. It can only be a sign of good things to come.

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