A tale that begins with water (see my first post "Old Water") inescapably ends with the same. Love and fury poured down from Heaven. And it all began with a ring in a stream. . .and a quote from Ephesians 5. The theme of water interwoven into our story and climaxing on June 11, 2005. . . here goes. . .
The StoryMama and Daddy have always been big believers in the Farmer's Almanac for scheduling events around weather. And we were in the clear it seemed. Prediction- sunny and hot. Our plans to get married outside in Mobile in the middle of June didn't stop me from praying for a miracle of sorts. "Lord, please, somehow, let it be 70 degrees and breezy." We wanted our loved ones to enjoy Bellingrath Gardens, share the binding of our hearts as one, and not pass smooth out on the grass from the sweltering heat. I know. Unlikely.
As the days grew closer and I continued wrapping up last minute details, I was at ease. I knew I wanted to be able to relax and fully enjoy our wedding day, a day we had patiently awaited for 6 and 1/2 long years. My desire was that everyone who came would sense my ease, and they would be able to relax and enjoy it as well. There is nothing like the tension you feel when you can tell the bride is tense and on edge. So, I wanted to decrease stress by taking care of everything completely before heading to Mobile.
The Wednesday before the wedding on Saturday, I was picking up my veil at a bridal shop, trying it on with my dress, prancing around the shop, and I just happened to glance at the TV. It appeared a tropical weather system was moving toward the Gulf of Mexico, and landfall was predicted for Saturday. "Nahhh..." I told myself. "It's sure to move in another direction. They always do."
By Thursday, the reports were more precise. A tropical storm was headed straight for the Mobile area, and there wasn't a thing in my power I could do to stop it. An unexpected guest would be attending our wedding, and her name. . .
Hurricane Arlene- the first of the season in 2005, and the first to hit Mobile so early in the season in over 10 years. At that time, we were holding out hope. It was still possible that she would move East, in which case, the outdoor wedding could continue underneath a tent- despite heavy rain. She could even possibly diminish enough by our 4 O'clock exchange of vows, but the likelihood of either case was diminishing, while the storm was brewing. Darn those warm Gulf waters.
Thursday was I guess a foreshadowing of sorts of the waters that were to come. I remember sitting on my Mama's bed and watching the weather channel, tears soaking the sleeves of my T-shirt as I wiped them and watched and watched and wiped them some more in disbelief. "Why? How after all this planning will it all just fall apart- be literally washed away?" The day I had looked forward to since girlhood would not look at all like I had imagined- and nothing like I had planned for the past 8 months. As a matter of fact, two days now 'til the wedding, I didn't know how it would look at all...
Arlene was on her way.