Wedding Nonsense

I thought I’d just take a little time today to catch everyone up with where I am in the insane task of wedding planning.

Let me tell you – the wedding industry is a hot mess. Everything in white is 3xs more expensive and twice as silly. Our grandparents had it right – simple vows in the church, cake and punch in the church’s reception hall in the basement and done.

It’s 101 days until our wedding day or so the countdown on my phone tells me. In case you’re wondering, I’m not a countdown type of person. It’s panic inducing. However, I really need to keep an eye on time, so I can get everything done and ordered on schedule.

If you really want to be overwhelmed, they make these obnoxiously lovey-dovey countdown apps that break down the time until your “I do’s” not just my month, week, day, hour, minute, and second . . . but . . . by . . . heartbeat . . . because that’s not just creepy.

Little by little I’m getting things done.

I’m so grateful for all of the people in my life who are helping me. A solid bunch of them are people who I’ve met through my fiance´and who are a part of the SCA. I don’t know what I’d do without them!

I’m glad I decided to revamp the theme when we switched to a park venue. I work better with a theme, and our “Enchanted Woods Wedding” is slowly taking shape.

There are wishing wells, moss (lots of moss), and fairies everywhere. I can’t wait to share the pictures with you!

West Virginia Day

It’s West Virginia Day! This special day is when West Virginia officially broke from Virginia and was admitted to the Union.

It’s funny, but it’s still weird for me not to be at 4-H camp when June 20th rolls around. I was fortunate enough to be home at Jackson’s Mill (the boyhood home of Stonewall Jackson) for the sesquicentennial. We had so many awesome events that year including a walk through history with famous West Virginians which ended at the pond where a huge lighted outline of our beloved state was reflected in the water at the close of our candle lighting ceremony.

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I’ll never forget that amazing state birthday.

I made so many friends from all over the state through 4-H, and I loved hearing about their counties. It’s part of what sparked our WV road trips.

We sing a song near the end of 4-H camp called “Come Home to West Virginia.” It never fails to make me tear up, now more than ever, as I find myself just shy of the right side of the West Virginia line.

“Come home to West Virginia; come hear the mountain song. You’ve been away too long.”

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBf3MfZWGd8

On her birthday, I wanted to revisit some of my favorite places I’ve explored and the wonderful friends I’ve made. Several of whom are hiding their tears behind those sunglasses as they sing in that video.

Thank you all for sharing these awesome adventures with me. I can’t see to where my next adventure will take me.

Hawks Nest State Park

On our latest WV trip, we stayed at Hawks Nest State Park. The park is situated in the Gorge overlooking the New River. For a few more dollars, we opted to book a corner suite, and it was completely worth it.

Because it was a corner room, it seemed as if the room was suspended in the trees. Both walls had large windows with the most amazing views of the river.

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As we drove back from dinner, we were heading straight into some pretty dark clouds, and we just made it into the room as the storm broke.

I love thunder storms, the wide, open power and the feel of the warm wind as it whips through the trees. Sitting on the balcony at the Hawks Nest was incredible. As far as you can see, there is nothing but trees and mountains. As the thunder cracked, I could hear the sound travel and listen as it echoed through the hills. The lightning flashed illuminating the light sides of the leaves, and it left me breathless. I sat out for at least an hour that night.

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After a good nights sleep, I got up and spent another hour in the calm after the storm and watched the sun creep over the mountains. It was an absolutely phenomenal experience I am so glad that I got a chance to have.

John Henry

On the final leg of our WV travels, we stopped at the John Henry statue in Talcott, WV. As a kid, one of my brother and I’s favorite movies was Tall Tale, a collection of folk legends and stories of the Wild West. One of the prominent characters in the film was John Henry, famous for his race against a steel-driving machine.

When I watched the movie, I never realized that he was actually a real flesh and blood man nor that his famous stand against the machine took place in the hills of West Virginia.

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The statue once sat along the road (a rather precarious place to pull off and visit), but has since been relocated to the mouth of the Big Bend Tunnel where the contest took place.

The history of  the tunnel and John Henry is fascinating. Befitting an American legend, he was a mountain of a man who could swing two hammers at once (He used smaller hammers so he could swing them one-handed). As he would swing the hammers, he would sing to keep time. When the company brought in a drilling machine, the idea of losing an honest day’s work didn’t sit right with John Henry, and he entered into a competition with the machine. He drove a steel spike 4 feet deeper than the machine, preserving his livelihood.

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Some versions of the story end with him dying of exertion in the mouth of the tunnel with his hammer in his hand. While that may be a bit of poetic embellishment, it is more generally believed that this great figure died in an explosion and was laid to rest without a marker in a mass grave at the end of the tunnel along with other workers and mules.

The years have blurred the details of the life of this “Steel-Driving Man.” His story has been the basis for so many poems, songs, movies, and plays that John Henry has almost been forgotten as a real man and has become just another Tall Tale.