Destination Wedding

Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

I believe we will have popcorn and coke for supper. We stopped at IHop on the way home from the airport where, I am embarrassed to say, Bill and I both ordered a breakfast which included endless pancakes! My early morning flight (rise and shine at 4 a.m.) only offered Starbucks coffee and a breakfast bar. The coffee on Delta is very good but I was starved for real food.
Now, the food in Texas where I have just spent the last five days was beyond good…for the most part. Reminder: do not order Weiner Schnitzel in a restaurant that also offers Country Fried Steak, but serves no bread. Even though Fredericksburg is most certainly a town first settled and built by Germans and continues to honor their proud heritage with many restaurants named Gasthaus or Keller (guest house and cellar–obviously), a name does not ensure great Schnitzel.
What they do exceptionally well in Texas and which I did not miss another opportunity to eat, is Beef! Oh my goodness. Brisket chunks that tasted like great juicy bites of filet mignon and a “little” 8 oz. tenderloin served with grilled avocado slices and some of the most delicious green beans, red peppers, and squash for brunch yesterday was to die for. Not to mention that the restaurant named simply “Old German Bakery” served white rolls that would make a grown man weep!
The catered food we ate during the wedding festivities was all superb, too. The rehearsal dinner was a Bar-B-Q featuring those Brisket chunks and the Wedding Feast included slices of tenderloin as well as sweetly roasted chicken. I chose to fill my plate with about 12 ounces of the juiciest meat ever served on this planet. I know, I know, you are tired of superlatives, but folks, it has been years since my first bite of Texas beef and I think I had forgotten how good those people eat.
No wonder everything is “Bigger in Texas.” If you were raised on a diet of protein that made you forget that chocolate was even invented, you would be “bigger” too! And now it seems that everyone who owns a five acre plot in East Texas has decided to plant a Vineyard and build an Event Barn in order to lure parties and tours from all over the United States. If the ads in some of the slick local magazines are any indication, they are pulling in bridal parties and conventions at a healthy rate.
I don’t know what East Texas Hill Country looked like before the transformation to Wine Country, but based on the few acres that were not covered in sticks holding woody vines (nothing is blooming yet, even in Texas), I think the biggest crop after the boll weevil ruled out cotton was mesquite wood. I would have known those gnarly-looking trees anywhere. If you have watched as many westerns as I have, you know a tumbleweed, an armadillo (one showed up at the wedding), and a stack of mesquite waiting to smoke a slab of brisket into heaven. I also understand that peaches are a pretty good grower over there as they are here in Georgia.
My son-in-law’s son was married just about sundown Saturday, February 3 on a windy hillside under just such a grove of mesquite trees. Pretty cathedral-shaped frames covered in full-blown garden roses and eucalypti leaves hung from the branches, or I could say “swung” from the branches, but that would sound a little too much like one of those western movies I mentioned earlier. The bride wore a lovely, flowing lace gown, cowboy boots, and a fur shawl. Don’t blame her a bit. It was Cold. And so were the guests.
Everyone wants to look especially nice going to a family or a friend’s wedding, right? And everyone did…look nice…after their chill bumps settled down back at the lodge where the reception was finally held.
Folks, that service was one of the most spiritual, most tender, most loving, and longest wedding ceremonies I have witnessed in years. The vows which were spoken with obvious sincerity and with precious love (you could tell this couple had thought this out well) took what seemed like hours. Hair and skirts were whipping around, people were using their handkerchiefs to wipe noses not eyes, and there was a good bit of foot stomping that had nothing to do with music! We were freezing.
The bride and groom were oblivious. Their eyes, locked into each other’s souls, held a supernatural warmth for their new-partner-in-life. It was beautiful to see. The sun reached my shoulders just as the officiant pronounced Michael and Courtney husband and wife.
I felt His presence. I was warmed.

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