Publish the Word
Your Subtitle text

Our Honeymoon Disaster!   

If it weren't so humorous
it would be sad.  We hope 
your special time together
is better than ours.  Read. . .

The Lord gave the Word and great was the company of those that published it.
  Psalm 68:11

            Our Honeymoon Disaster


            It was the best of time and the worst of times, a summer of magic and a winter of discontent, a buttery sun in a darkening sky – and this was only the first day.


            Actually, 5 a.m. of the first day. . . of the rest of our lives together.


            And what was that nuptial advice: red sky at morn, newlyweds take warn?  As the bard said, Why didst thou promise such a beauteous day!  And make me travel without my cloak?


            It was not a cloak we were worried about, but the 50 mile-per-hour crosswinds that threatened to sweep our red, 1964 VW bug into the deep ravines of southern Mississippi along Interstate 55.  With every slap of wind and Niagara Falls of rain, the car lurched toward on-coming lanes, then skidded back toward the precipice.  My new bride Lynn clutched my arm in what seemed a Vulcan death grip as each gust buffeted us from head-on collision to 300-foot-plunge.


            The radio had sputtered and died during our courtship months ago (we didn't seem to miss it), so we were unaware that with each torturous mile we were heading deeper into the storm of the century, or more precisely, Hurricane Camille (note: most destructive storm of the 20th Century) now lashing the Gulf Coast a mere two hundred miles ahead and shutting down all roads into new Orleans – our destination.


            On our wedding night a tornado had leveled buildings near our hotel in Des Moines, but we ignored this omen.  Honestly, who reads the news or follows weather reports when flowers need to be ordered, cakes decorated and out-of-towners accommodated?


            Pull over and stop, my trembling wife begged.


            The shoulder is only six inches wide, I said.  We'll drive out of this, I assured her, feigning all the optimism I could muster as an 18-wheeler bore down blindly upon us and then sucked us into its wake.  We hydroplaned just feet from oblivion as the road disappeared in a new deluge until the truck passed.


            All of time and space seemed compressed inside our car as the updrafts and downpours increased.  We finally came to an exit ramp that spiraled down into the trees toward a tiny burg with one motel – under construction.  But fortuitously, one wing of the motel was finished and open, and fie on the rain gods!!  There was a vacant room.


            Still hopelessly clueless, when the TV sputtered to life (we would lose power periodically over the next three days), we saw the massive storm creeping across the satellite map, soon to make landfall less than two hours away.


            We spent that most unromantic night under the wedding bed!

By the second day our fellow, stranded pilgrims who gathered in the motel office heard we were newlyweds and regaled us with tales of their wedding disasters.  When the winds abated on the third day and we ventured onward, we were turned away at the Louisiana border.  Too much flooding and destruction made travel into the city hazardous.


            So we regretfully bypassed the crescent city and headed for Florida's gulf coast – whose glorious white-sand beaches, we would discover, were too cluttered with storm debris to be open for tourists.  Not to be deterred, we decided a small-lane flight out of the Panama City airport to view Camille's aftermath would make a memorable excursion.


            My lovely wife was again nervous, but I convinced her a short flight along the coast toward Pensecola – where damage had been greatest – would be a historical moment we shouldn't pass up.  We should have.


            As we swooped and dipped and tilted for an unobstructed, sideways view, Lynn turned ashen, then a bluish-green nearly the color of the water below.  And when we began to jounce through turbulence, I knew lunch was near – albeit hers she had eaten an hour before.  Thank goodness for a handy, paper barf bag.  She tried valiantly to hold back, but just as we touched down she upchucked.


            Okay, the plane flight was a bad idea.


            The next morning we decided to make the most of a brilliant, clear sky amid the warm whisperings of Panama CityBay for a scalloping expedition.  We cruised out to the shallows in the middle of the bay, donned snorkel, mask and fans, and began to explore the crystalline waters and scour the bottom for lunch – fresh succulent scallops.  Our captain scooped the pinkish meat from the half shell and handed us a lemon to spritz the raw fish.  Such exquisite flavors!


            On the way back to the marina we hit a slight chop and as we bobbed up and thudded down, I felt my wife's hand tighten on my arm.  And tighten.  And tighten.


            The scallops, she began to say.  And yes, there they were again, half-digested, foaming out of her delicate mouth into the whitecaps below.  I tried to steady her as the boat bucked higher and thumped harder.  Hang on mateys, the captain shouted over his shoulder.


            My own matey was heaving ho for the merriment of a group fishing on the narrow jetty we were passing.  I was beginning to learn my new spouse had a bolatile stomach.


            On the third day we eschewed planes and boats and decided a peaceful drive to my uncle's peaceful farm would rekindle the passion we had briefly enjoyed early in our marriage – about ten minutes after the ceremony.  Nothing queasy about strolling across verdant green pastures.

Of course, we didn't have fire ants in Iowa, so at first, the cute, little red specks swarming my young lovely's bare legs seemed a mild curiosity.  Oh look, honey.  You're standing on an anthill. 


            And then they began their wee hypodermic injections.  Like snubbing out matched on her skin, she said, whimpering as we rushed for ice, ointment, unguent, antiseptic, anything.


            And then her legs began to swell.  And swell.  And I wondered about what allergies she had failed to disclose prior to our "I do's."


            Not walking for the next two days was a small price to pay for our sweet intimacies and time together at my uncle's – once we pushed the twin beds together and ignored the giant palmetto bugs scurrying about the dark room.  A cortisone shot soon reduced the swelling so Lynn could walk again, a slow, flat-footed lurching that made me wonder if I had married a Munster cousin.  She would be unable to wear shoes again for a week.


            We resumed our honeymoon from hell with less enthusiasm, though we'll skip over the Lobster ptomaine and its mordant details, visiting gas station restrooms every 50 miles all the way home.  And my wife's non-stop crying and sniveling as her svelte legs turned a most pleasing shade of bruise.


            *The inevitable postscript finds our intrepid couple once again reliving the honeymoon bliss – 25 years later as an anniversary, of sorts, on a placid lake south of Branson, Missouri.


            An hour after arriving, and reminiscing humorously about the first, "official" honeymoon (Can it really be that long ago, Honey?), we glide across the aquamarine waters in a rowboat for two, our new fishing year about to be unpacked, when the first lightning bolts split the sky.  And close enough to reach up and touch.


            We row furiously in circles until we are finally in synch – after 25 years she does finish my sentences.  By the time we reach our cabin and promise of love in the afternoon, ripping winds topple a huge elm across our utility wire. 


            We are drenched and imagine this a good opportunity to strip off our wet clothes and build a fire to snuggle in front of.  After all, we aren't the same tenderfoots we were when tornados and hurricanes first tested our commitment to have and to hold.


            But when the storm sirens begin to wail, we let go of each other and dash for the car.  I doubt we'll try again at 50 years.