I’m sure every child’s wedding is memorable. I know that I will always remember all my children and step-children’s weddings. Each one is special, but I have to say that the wedding of my youngest child, my son, who I had nicknamed “Angel Baby” when he was little, took the cake.
We flew out to Virginia on Friday, August 21. I was not at all hesitant to fly, in fact, it was the most enjoyable flight I have ever taken. No long lines to check-in, no long lines at TSA, no scramble to board or no need to purchase priority boarding, and best of all, no one sitting on top of you in the middle seat! We wore our masks from the time we entered the airport in St. Louis until the time we left the airport at Reagan International (it’s not in Washington, DC; it’s actually in Virginia) but I have to admit, I did not always wear mine correctly.
We had five days to spend with my son and his soon-to-be wife. My son had been wanting us to visit for a while, but it never seemed like the right time. We didn’t want to leave our dogs behind and the thought of driving across the country in a truck that was almost twenty years old was something I wasn’t in a hurry to do. But this spur of the moment wedding got us moving and we opted to leave our dogs behind with my granddaughter and fly.
We had always thought when we went to visit my son that we would do the tourist things in Washington DC. But when my son said he would not be able to go with us, we decided not to venture into Washington DC by ourselves. We chose to visit some of the historic places in the area and some of the civil war battlegrounds and there are plenty of both.
The Saturday before the wedding, while Jen (our soon to be daughter-in-law) picked her parents up from the airport, my son and we toured the first civil war battleground, Fredericksburg. This battle took place December 11-13, 1862. It was surprising to see that this battleground is basically in the middle of an older suburban area of Fredericksburg.
On the way back from Fredericksburg, we stopped at George Washington’s boyhood home, Washington’s Ferry Farm. We toured the small house that was his home until his early 20s. George’s father, Augustine died when George was 14 leaving his mother, Mary to raise the five children; George, Betty, Samuel, John and Charles. We had an extremely knowledgeable guide but I’m one of those people that are easily distracted. The poor guy was literally dripping sweat and if that wasn’t distracting enough, his mask was crooked too. It was very hot and humid outside and even though the small house was airconditioned, I had trouble breathing with my mask on. So, when that happens, I do what they preach not to do, I touched my mask! I haven’t figure out how to move my mask without using my fingers.
George is reminding us to socially distance. So if you see George lying on the ground, just know you need to stand at his head or his feet.
On Saturday after our morning excursions, we headed to Shenandoah National Park to the Skyland Skyview Lodge where we were spending the next two nights. It was very foggy when we entered the park so we couldn’t see much of anything.
The wedding took place the next evening at sunset on the outcropping of Point Lookout. It was a daunting trek to the outcrop through a narrow path of rocks, mud and overgrowth. It was all worth it, in the end, to see how very happy the newlyweds were raising a toast with the sun setting in the background.
On Tuesday, Earl and I ventured out on our own to Mount Vernon. Thankful to GPS and Waze, we had no problem finding it. George Washington inherited Mount Vernon from his half-brother, Lawrence, who died of tuberculosis in 1752. Although Lawrence died in 1752, it wasn’t until 1761 that George actually inherited it. Lawrence first willed the home to his daughter, Sarah. When Sarah died two years later, the house went to her mother and when her mother died, the house then went to George.
We spent the last morning of our visit touring the Manassas and the Battle of Bull Run Battlefields. This battle was the first major battle of the Civil War on July 21, 1861 was won by the Confederate army.
We took the mile long walk around the park and ended at the statute of Stonewall Jackson.
Jackson earned his nickname at the First Battle of Bull Run (also known as Manassas) in July 1861 when he rushed his troops forward to close a gap in the line against a determined Union attack. Upon observing Jackson, one of his fellow generals reportedly said, “Look, men, there is Jackson standing like a stone wall!”–a comment that spawned Jackson’s nickname.
During our flight home, I was lucky to have chosen the side of the plane that some of the iconic sights of Washington DC could be seen. I wasn’t quick enough to get a photo the White House, but I was able to capture the Washington Monument.
It was hard to leave my son behind not knowing when I’ll be able to see him again. Things are so much better now for people who live apart with Facebook, Facetime and Zoom and all the other ways to connect with our loved ones, but it just can’t replace a hug.