Or something like that.
Last post I mentioned that my Toastmasters club meeting this week gave me the inspiration for the “Procrastinate” post. It also inspired another post. If you aren’t familiar with Toastmasters, it’s an organization that fosters communication and leadership development. Members join a club, and work on speech projects that not only develop public speaking skills, they can also help you gain leadership skills around a specific theme, such as coaching, presentation mastery, dynamic leadership, and several others. One part of the typical club meeting is Table Topics. This is where people are asked questions they didn’t know were coming, so you can practice impromptu speaking. Personally, I call them interview rehersals – when you’re in an interview, don’t you always get a question or two you never saw coming? This is good practice for such things. This week, one member got a question, “Tell us about a time where you procrastinated, but everything worked out.” She talked about her wedding about a year ago. She accidentally scheduled the flowers to be delivered to the venue, but the photo shoot was in another location. They got everything worked out and got the wedding party and the flowers in the same place. This reminded me of my own saga, which is not only funny now, it was funny while it was happening. I hope this entertains you.
My wife and I got married on July 22, 2000. We had a VERY simple ceremony and even simpler reception. We believe that people that spend tens of thousands of dollars on a wedding are fools. All that money when the only things you have to have are a groom, bride, rings, preacher and 2 witnesses? Save all that money for the first time you run into financial trouble. (Memo to unmarried readers: you WILL eventually have financial trouble. GUARANTEED.) Everything in our package – pre-wedding parties, wedding, reception, and honeymoon – we did for about $3,000. Like I said, no sense spending 5 figures when you’ll need money later.
I may have mentioned this before, but due to physical disabilities, neither my wife nor I can drive. So we knew we were going to need help getting from the wedding night hotel to the airport for the honeymoon. At that time, flights out of Greensboro, NC were way cheaper than Charlotte, so our flight to Tampa originated in Greensboro. Ironically enough, we would be flying right back to Charlotte and changing planes. But it lopped about $150 off the cost of the tickets, so that’s how I booked it. One of our groomsmen had volunteered to drive us to Greensboro, about 90 minutes up I-85, and he met us right on time on Sunday morning. We get halfway there, and the highway becomes a parking lot. Remember, this was 2000, well before the time where every person on Earth has a GPS in their pocket. We had no way of knowing what happened other than turning on the radio and hoping for some news. Not many radio stations do traffic reports on Sunday morning. Eventually we found out. There had been an accident, and one of the vehicles blew up. Literally. We eventually passed the wreckage, which included 2 crushed vehicles, one of which looked like the world’s biggest piece of charcoal. It took us more than 3 hours to get to Greensboro. Obviously, we missed our flight.
The airline was aware of the highway accident and had been making new arrangements for a number of travelers. We got seats on the next plane to Charlotte, but it was about 5 minutes before our flight to Tampa was due to depart. We just had to take it and hope for the best. Naturally, the flight leaving Greensboro was late, and we missed our connection. The airline managed to get us on another flight that departed in the evening. We had some time to wait, so we found someplace to have dinner. We’re having a good laugh at this point. “I don’t remember, but I think the travel agent I worked with must have been named Murphy,” I quipped. AnJanette fired right back. “I thought you said Murphy was an optimist.”
Finally, the time to depart arrived. Since AnJanette is a wheelchair user, we always get to board first. There were a couple other special-needs passengers on this flight as well, so we lined up at the gate. Remember again, this was 2000, before the terrorist attacks, when people could waltz all over the airport all willy-nilly. Well, we’re in line at our gate, and out of absolutely nowhere appears the groomsman that drove us to Greensboro. Scared the crap out of us.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. “Well, I called the airline to see if y’all were OK. They told me that you were on your way to Tampa and AnJanette had to wait for the 10 PM flight, so I came out here to check on her.”
OK, I appreciate the concern, but you had to know we would never accept that arrangement. Those of you that know me well can see how I would react to that offer. “Oh, yeah, let me head on down to Florida, and leave this woman I’ve been married to for about 36 hours here by herself. It’ll be alright. And I’m sure I’ll still get lots of action while we’re down there,” my voice drowning in sarcasm. I’m not sure how poor Dennis got that information. When we got to Charlotte and went to the airline’s desk to get re-booked, we told the agent we were going on our honeymoon, and they broke their backs to accommodate us. With Dennis seeing we were together and getting on the plane, he headed home. We giggled for the entire 90-minute flight to Tampa.
It was a terribly long day – Dennis picked us up at 9 AM, and we opened the door to our Tampa hotel room about 10:30 PM. Too tiered for any honeymoon action, but not coordinated enough anyway, because we were still laughing. And here we are, 19 years later, still laughing about it.