The phone rang. It was seven in the morning. I wondered who would be calling me so early. The sun was just rising so the room wasn't that dark. I could see the phone easily. I picked it up.
"This, Mr. Orlove, is Mr. Latimore, from Walt Disney World. I hate to bother you so early, but we were concerned whether or not you were going to make it down here by Saturday for your wedding. What with that big storm off your neck of the woods, we hoped everything was okay."
"Was far as I know," Orlove replied slowly since he was still half groggy having been woken so early. "That storm, Randy, hasn't come ashore yet. If anything happens, we'll let you know. As far are we are concerned, it is supposed to hit land about 100 miles from us. Of course, this is only Tuesday, but we are watching it too"
"That's good news. We have been checking the weather station down here and they're all predicting it will be a blockbuster of a storm. How many guests are outside of your area?"
"Well we expect 87 people who said they would be coming to the wedding. Most are from here, and there are about 15 coming from other parts of the country. I don't believe they will be affected by this storm. Those around this area might be if it is as bad as they say it is, and air flights get to be cancelled. Right now, we'll play it by ear and see what happens."
"All right," Latimore said, "But if you are going to have any trouble let us know as soon as possible," He hung up.
We had made plans to hold our wedding at the Waldorf Astoria Orlando hotel and resort near Walt Disney World, and my fiancée had just picked up her wedding dress the night before. So, we were ready. I quickly turned on the TV to catch the weather.
"This is Bill Ardmoe of station WFNZ weather reporting on what's happening to this huge hurricane sweeping close to our area. Called Randy, it is reported that it has winds of 125 miles per hour, with tornadoes and gusts up to 175 miles per hour. That's pretty strong. The coastal area has been evacuated, and those 5 to 50 miles from where the center is going to strike have been warned to button up, or get out, too. Stay tuned, we will keep you posted every half an hour."
That didn't sound so good. I had to get in touch with my fiancée, Lila, to talk over the situation. I dialed her.
"Hey, sweetie, it's me. I hear your TV in the background, so you are probably up to date with that hurricane's location as I am. What do you think we should do? ....Yes, I agree. I think we should get out of here ASAP. But what about our guests? I wonder if they plan to fly because they're reporting that most air flights have been or will be cancelled. If this is the case, I have an idea of how to get everyone out of here and to Florida before it's too late...Come on over, and we'll discuss it."
About an hour later Lila and I met. We made plans. Here's what we decided to do. We would have to call everyone from this area to meet us at one place and travel together...not by plane, not by train since they too had cancelled many departures from this area already. No, we decided to rent two buses to carry all the 56 who were leaving from here before the storm arrived. But, we would have to do it pretty quickly since we figured it would take at least two, possibly three days to drive down. We agreed.
We divided our guest list up and made all our calls in a couple of hours. Everyone we called knew their flights were cancelled and we were thinking how to get to Florida. Our call solved their problems, and they felt it would be a long, long party, but a happy one.
At the end of the day, all our guests were on board the two buses at the bus terminal and we were ready to go. The only thing was that Lila and I had trouble getting to the bus terminal. We hit the advance rain from the storm, and our car stalled about a mile away from the terminal. We knew we would have to walk/run, which we started to do. I had her dress over my head in a waterproof suitcase, and she carried a smaller one. We practically ran all the way to the terminal; we got there in time.
The buses left just before midnight on Tuesday and we ended up at the Disney hotel on early Friday, a day later than we planned. Everyone was glad after the 56 hour bus trip, but with all the drinking going on the way down, no one really cared. Now they had one day rest to prepare for the Saturday afternoon ceremonies.
As the sun set behind the trees at the wedding site, Lila and I held hands and said, "I do" in front of all the wedding guests outside the hotel...no rain, winds or tornadoes spoiled our wedding.
We kissed; fireworks went off in the clear Central Florida sky. All was right with the world.
The lesson we learned from this experience was, "If there is a will, there is a way!"
Art Therapy to Reduce Stress...Coloring for Adults with Inkspirations...A beautiful and inspiring line of coloring books and cards with various themes (gardens, holidays, etc.) Free copies available.--Kim.Weiss@hcibooks, or call 1-800-851-9100, Ext. 212
Bernie is a real person who resides in one of our Brookdale communities. Many of the stories he has written are based on factual evidence from newspaper stories and other sources available to the public. He uses his imagination in parts to help supply the “twist” at the end. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Brookdale Senior Living.