Today is my dad's birthday! We're spending the weekend with him but will celebrate his birthday with company and birthday cake tomorrow. Today was all about attending the wedding of my cousin Marsha's daughter Jennifer and her fiancé (well, husband now) Cody . . . and, of course, I have photos to share.
We drove to Dad's this morning, delayed three times by road construction on Hwy 22 between Dickinson and New Town, ND (and not "slow down while driving" road construction but "stop and wait for a pilot car to lead you down the one open lane" road construction). After a quick bite to eat, we caravaned to Bowbells, ND for the wedding. The route there afforded us beautiful views: Hwys 40, 50, and 8 run up and down gentle hills, and they curve often, revealing around every bend a pond or lake or thicket or a field thick with late-harvest crops. (Lostwood National Wildlife Refuge is located along that route; we'd like to return someday to take an auto tour of the refuge.)
When we arrived at Bowbells, we found the church easily: it was right on the main street through town, and it was surrounded by cars and gift-bearing people in fancy clothes. The church was full, but we were seated in a pew midway back. The bride is in graphic design, and it showed in her wedding invitations, the Web site that she created for the wedding, the autumn-themed colors used for flowers at the church, and the general decor of the space for the reception. Here are some highlights.
The flowers and pew decorations and wreaths on either side of the narthex were in harvest colors.
The attendants included the bride's sisters Heidi and Tracy (whom we saw this summer at Lake Metigoshe--remember?).
Their brother Terry was an attendant, too (had to zoom in on a far-away photo of the groomsmen, so he appears blurrier here than in real life).
We knew in advance that the reception afterward would be held at the golf course just outside of town. What we didn't know, however, was that it was being held on the golf course . . . in a giant tent set up outdoors. And it was windy and cold out (in the 40s)! Everything was decorated beautifully, and the food was delicious; but we were not dressed to be outside in that weather and had to leave before the music for the dance started.
Cody and Jennifer
Jennifer's parents: Gerry and my cousin Marsha (daughter of my dad's brother, Shine)
The punch napkins
The "ceiling" (of the tent) decorations
The wedding cake (covered in black fondant on two sides and white fondant on the other two) flanked by two engagement photos of the couple (one of them visible in this photo) along with a plaque that says, "Together is a wonderful place to be"
The photo from the other side of the wedding cake table
My dad (the birthday boy) and I
My beautiful daughters (Hillary, Abigail--wearing around her head a glow stick that was a party favor at the reception--and Suzanna) and I (my beautiful wife had the camera, so no photo of her)
As I mentioned, it was very cold out, and the strong wind found its way into the tent and defeated the two propane heaters set up inside. When we got to the golf course, we looked at all the nice decorations and then found a table at which we visited and drank punch and snacked on caramel popcorn that was served in brown bags with the couple's names and wedding date printed on them. The catered meal of ham and roast beef was delicious and ended with slices of cake. Our children, dressed for indoor events, were turning bluer and bluer as the night progressed, and they voted to cut out early (the vehicle's heater beckoned unto them) rather than stay for the dance. We heard the toasts to the bride and groom and then made our way back to Tioga to spend the night at Dad's.
On the way, we spent a little time driving through Bowbells to look around. We found the school, in which I recall having played basketball (against the Bowbells Eskimos) in high school. South of Bowbells is a collection of houses remaining to represent the town of Coteau, so we swung off the highway and drove around to explore. The street markers still stand, but one indicates a city street that consists of two dirt tire tracks with grass growing down the center, and another marks a wide swath of grass that is mown short to show where the street should be. Just for the heck of it, I turned off the highway again at both Powers Lake and Battleview to drive around those towns, too, and look around and reminisce and share stories of my childhood as we drove by this site or that.
We're at Dad and Beverly's house again, warm and in our pajamas and ready for bed. Tomorrow: a belated celebration of Dad's birthday.