Andrew and I connected back in April or May of 2004. He was in Iraq and spent most of his time at a camp outside of Fallujah. I sent him chocolate chip cookies (in the summer) and he loved them. Short story, Andrew returned to Fort Drum the following September and was married in a very small ceremony in October to Ashley. So, Ashley and Andrew had their wedding last Saturday. When I originally got the invite I really didn't think about going since it was in Michigan which is about 680 miles away. But there's a ferry that runs from Wi to Mi which cuts out 330 miles and I thought that would be fun.
Ashley's Mother invited me to stay with the family and the wedding was held at their home. So, here I am arriving to stay with a whole group of people I didn't know. These people were awesome and amazing. Andrew and Ashley were so cute and nice, they just touched me beyond words. Andrew and Ashley met me at the car ferry. I recognized Andrew right away and gave him a big hug and then hugged Ashley. We went to the house where there was chaos in action. This family has lots of fun and there were many people in and out of the place. But the consideration and concern for me amidst all of the activity was beyond my expectation. Kelly and Vic (Ashley's Mom and Stepdad) are just a class act and nifty people. Wanda and Donny (Ashley's Aunt and Uncle) - I loved you guys. This is difficult to describe but the appreciation and gratitude shown to me by Andrew and his family for supporting him through part of his deployment was totally unexpected but continue to make me tear up when I think about the weekend.
I don't think I can say enough about this family. Andrew and I spent a couple hours just walking around talking while the ladies were getting their hair done for the wedding. I got so lucky in getting to know Andrew, he's a wonderful young man. Here's a few pictures, they're thumbnails so click to enlarge.
This was a picture of Andrew and myself at the lighthouse from our afternoon of walking around.
Yes, all of this work and Mother Nature did not cooperate. So there was an outside wedding with umbrellas, Ashley managed to look gorgeous in the rain.
I think this is my favorite picture. It's Andrew throwing the garter to his buddies (none of whom seemed too anxious to catch it!).