Sunday, February 27, 2011

Adrian... Wedding Planner Extraordinare

Nov. 18, 2008

Current mood:nostalgic

(Note:  I have edited this blog from the original Myspace blog.  It now contains the pictures that I talk about within the blog.  Blogger lets me post the pictures within the blog very easily.)

While I always try to concentrate on writing about the present for my blog, I thought I delve into the past for today.  Truthfully, I have done some pretty crappy things in my life.  However, I have done some pretty decent things as well.  This is a story of probably the most decent thing I have ever done in my life. 

Before I go into the story I have to explain the set-up.  It was the summer of 2004, and I was working at Philmont Scout Ranch, the high adventure base for the Boy Scouts of America.  To make a long story short, Scout Troops go there for 10 days, and backpack across the New Mexico wilderness.  Philmont is located in Cimarron, N.M. roughly 50 miles from Colorado.  As troops backpack across Philmont, they stay at different campsites.  There are roughly 30 staffed campsites across the property (which is 160,000 acres.)  I was stationed as far south, and as far east as you could go on the property.  I was stationed at the Fort at Rayado. 

The Fort at Rayado was a living museum.  When you walked into it, it was made like you stepped back in time to 1850-1860.  I would dress up as someone who lived back in that time.  If you go to my myspace pictures section you can see the pictures from Philmont.  In fact, this blog my make more sense if you open up another page with the pictures, so you can look at the pictures while reading this.

Anyway, I had a fellow staffer there by the name of Ashley.  Of course one of the first things people ask me is, "I thought girls weren't allowed in the Boy Scouts?"  Well, women are allowed on staff, and roughly one-quarter of the staff at Philmont was female.  Ashley's fiancé Lewis had been in the Boy Scouts for years, and he had worked at Philmont for 5 summers in a row.  In fact, his parents even worked out at Philmont.  If you look at the pictures section, and see the one marked Indian Writings, Lewis was the manager of that campsite that year.

(Note:  In all fairness, I did just call her Martha Stewart.)

(Note:  You can now see why they call it, "Indian Writings.")

Anyway, Lewis and Ashley had been going out for years, and he had asked her to marry him, and she said yes.  They had been having problems with were to have the wedding.  Ashley said her mother was never happy with a location.  So Ashley said to her Mother, "Why don't we just have it at Philmont?"  To her surprise, her Mother said yes. 

So Lewis and Ashley matched up their schedules so that they could have time off for the wedding and honeymoon.  Most of Lewis's family was out there already, and Ashley's family came from South Carolina. 

Unfortunately, when Ashley's family arrived in New Mexico, her Grandmother had a heart attack, and was hospitalized in Taos, New Mexico.  So instead of getting the wedding planned, everyone was in Taos with Ashley's Grandmother.  Since the Fort at Rayado was located right by the Rayado River (see pics) we were going to have the wedding in a grove of trees that were located right on the river.  That way, the wedding wouldn't be too complicated.

(Note:  I am standing in the river to take this picture.  But in all fairness, it's only 10 inches deep.)

There was something Ashley said in passing that proved to be more important than even she knew.  She said in a casual way, "If it rains we'll just have the wedding in La Sala."  La Sala was the main hall in the Fort where big meetings, dances, and other events took place.

At Philmont, I went to bed at the same time every night, and got up without an alarm clock.  I would just wake up within 10 minutes at the same time every morning.  Well the morning of the wedding, I wake up and it's dark.  I thought to myself, "Um, why is it so dark?  Did I get up too early?"  I turn over, grab my glasses, and look out the window.  It was raining.  It wasn't just a sprinkle.  It was real, steady rain. 

So I get up and get ready.  I talked to my boss Dan (you can see him in the pic section.)  My exact words were, "We've got to get her (Ashley) married right!"  You see, she and her family had been in Taos for three days, and still hadn't made it back.  So then, I began my wedding planning. 

(Note:  Really, have you ever had a boss in your life that was this cool/ laid back.  Dan was the best.)

Now please remember, as I'm doing all this tour groups keep coming through.  A lot of my co-workers did a lot of my duties while I was wedding planning.  For that, I am very thankful of them.

The first thing to do was to sweep out La Sala.  That's not easy when there's clay mud everywhere, and it's raining.  Especially when tour groups keep coming through.  I swept that place out three full times, and that is the truth.  Since the floor was wood, that made lots of places for dirt to hide.

Next, came cleaning out the fireplace.  It's not a hard job, except that just when you think you are finished, more stuff keeps coming out.  So that wasn't too bad, it was just time consuming. 

While I was running around like a chicken with my head cut off, my co-worker/ pal James did a very cool thing.  Since I had just finished cleaning out the fireplace, we now needed wood for a fire.  There were only two species of trees out there.  The Ponderosa Pine and the Cottonwood tree.  Cottonwood is the tree of the Devil.  Most people are allergic to the blooms, and it's almost impossible to cut without the use of extremely strong destructive tools.  Also, it doesn't really burn.  It smolders.  Also, it is very difficult to get started burning.  Well, we had a bunch of Cottonwood chunks.  So now they needed to get cut up, which was not an easy task.

At this point, James (you can see him in the pics) did one of the coolest things I've seen.  He started telling all these troops about how difficult it was to cut this wood, and he just couldn't seem to do it.  So guys started acting like guys, and got into a pissing contest.  All these Scouts ended up cutting up our wood for us.  James just sat back, and told them how great they were, all the while wearing a huge smile.  I still have to say, that was pretty slick.  Although we didn't end up using that wood, it was nice that we had it on hand in case we were going to have a fire.

(Note:  I always thought this was a good pictures of James.)

Next came the part of fixing up a wedding alter.  We had this old, old table that looked like it came from the 1850's.  I wasn't even sure it could hold anything, much less stand on its own.  Well, I cleaned the dust and dirt off it, and it still didn't look right.  My co-worker/ pal Michelle really helped me out in dressing it up.  She managed to find a bed-sheet that had a sunflower pattern to it.  I flipped that over the table, and it looked perfect.  Then Michelle found a flower vase, some small flower holders, and some nice big candles. 

I ended up running through the backyard (see pics) while getting rained dumped on me, and started cutting sunflowers.  I came back, and filled the vase and smaller flower holders with sunflowers.  I then completed the alter (see pic), and I have to admit that it looked good.  I also put the sunflowers in the small vases on the windowsills. 

I then took rags, and cleaner, and cleaned off the haunted piano (see pic), and the windows.  Again it wasn't as hard as it was time consuming.  And that piano had some serious dust built up on it. 

Peter helped me get a bunch of chairs together for everyone, while Ike helped get Ashley's things together.  Although it may sound funny, Ike was Ashley's bridesmaid.  They were really close friends, and it made sense to those of us who knew them. 

(Note:  Peter could jam on that mandolin.)

My boss Dan cooked lunch, and set the table so that we could keep working on what we were doing without having to stop to cook lunch.  It was one of those little things that not everyone may have noticed, but again, it freed up time to let us get things done.

So it's getting close to the time of the wedding, and I'm mopping the wooden floor.  Let me tell you, now I am getting a ton of dirt off the floor.  I've got about half of it mopped when who should walk through the door, but Lewis and Ashley.  The first thing I said without thinking was, "Hey!  You all aren't allowed to see each other before the wedding!"  At which we all laughed.  She then looked around half confused, and half astounded.  I started going through the very quick version of what everyone had done, and how were going to get her married right.  I was near the end of my speech, when she suddenly jumped on me with a huge, huge hug. 

She said to me while fighting back tears, "I…. thought we were going to have to set up our own wedding."  At which point I said, "Don't worry, you've got good friends, and we're going to get you married right."  So I continued to mop the rest of La Sala while Lewis and Ashley put up a few decorations.  Lewis put some ribbon around our candleleers (Note: We had candleleers, not chandeliers.)  They also brought about a hundred or so teacup candles, and spread them out.  It made a beautiful ambiance across the room.  (If you look at the alter pic, you can see the teacup candles in the background.)  So we ended up using the teacup candles instead of firewood.

So Lewis and Ashley's families showed up, and were amazed by what we had done.  Ashley's Mother thanked personally thanked all of us at the reception.  I really liked Ashley's Mother.  I can see why Ashley turned out so great due to having a really great Mom like that. 

But that wasn't all I did.  You see, at Philmont we had a Philmont paper that told all the Philmont news.  I ended up writing the article, and taking the pictures for the Philmont News.  Everyone was really happy with the job I did, and Ashley's Mother was very grateful for a copy.  I also gave Ashley all the pictures I took of the wedding/ reception that day.  I kept the negatives, so I could have copies when I got home. 

The picture of Lewis and Ashley at the reception was my idea.  I had one picture left, and told them to disco dance.  That's why it looks like they are boogieing.

(Note:  Dance Fever!)

On a side note, I told Ashley that once I got back home I would make her a wedding gift.  I said that it may take a while, but I would get one to her.  So while a hurricane knocked out the power to my house in Lutz, I started working on a dual dreamcatcher.  (Note:  It has one loop hanging from under another one.  It really does look great.)  I don't have a picture of it up yet, but I may get it up eventually.  She sent me a thank you note, and said how she loved how I made it a double dreamcatcher.

So the wedding was great.  It was a nice private, very personal get-together.  At the reception I overheard Ashley say to her Mom, "You know, I think it turned out better having the wedding in La Sala." 

If you are lucky, you will only get married once.  Since you only get one shot at it, my personal feelings are that, it should be the most special day in you life.  I really tried to make this the most special day for Lewis and Ashley.

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