Monday, August 11, 2014

Our Friend's Wedding...

Den of the Beastly Bear

Hi Folks!

As many of you know last week I was on vacation. Momma, Princess Bear and I went down to Tennessee for the wedding of our dear friends Jenny and Stanley.

The second marriage for both, they wanted this time to be a little more "fun" and a lot less "formal"!
Falls Mill, Belevedere, TN.

They chose as their wedding site, Falls Mill in Belvedere, TN. 
In a word, stunning!!! Built in 1873, and listed in the National Registry of Historic Places. 

Starting life as a cotton and wool factory it was later converted to a cotton gin, and then a wood working shop. Today the wheel turns mill stones and produces stone ground flour, cornmeal and grits.
The Bride...

Jenny and Stanley have a love....of old cars.
Jenny resplendent in her cream colored dress arrived below the mill,
chauffeured in Stanley's restored Model T Ford along with her parents. 

An outdoor setting, in August, in Tennessee...Let's just say this Northern boy was feeling the heat!!!

But in true Southern hospitality style, their friend's Lonnie and Cathy's daughters handed out folding paper fans to everyone, and Gerber Daisies to the ladies. Classy!
'51 Chevrolet pick up

Stanley arrived, as any gentleman his restored 1951 Chevrolet pick up truck! 

Stanley and the boys, Jenny's two sons and Stanley's one all wore jeans and I said, a little less formal!

While on the subject of boots... 
Cathy and Lonnie's daughters are just the most adorable girls you'll ever run across! 

Dressed in diaphanous mint green dresses, holding Gerber Daisies and wearing cowboy boots...they looked for all the world like countryfied woodland is a candid photo I snapped of them just hanging out during the service. This is completely unposed! Just two sisters, sharing a moment...who can't love that?

One of Jenny's friends, Kim Petrie gave a reading from Frost, "The Road not Taken"...which seemed all the more poignant in the wooded setting.

Each of their son's gave a reading as well:

Jenny's youngest Jonah, from "Winnie the Pooh".

Her oldest Joshua, from "The Notebook".

Stanley's son Jesse, read "The Apache Wedding Blessing". 

A Lovely service in a beautiful setting...
The Happy Couple!

You see that smile on Jenny's face that's not just because she just married the love of her life...oh no! It's also there because she is about to drive them home in her wedding gift...

A 1959 Cadillac Sedan DeVille!!! Stanley had found her one in Reno, Nevada and had it shipped there. He and his friends worked feverishly to get it running for the big day, and he gave it to her the night before...amid much squealing and jumping for joy!

After the service we all headed back to the "At Last" Homestead for some fantastic Southern cuisine, cooked up for us by Stanley's friend Brian! Man did we eat!

A crawfish boil, corn on the cob, some Cajun potatoes...and a favorite among the Yankee contingent "Box Chicken"!!! As Brian explained it to me, the chicken is roasted inside a plywood box with the heat source above, low and slow...until it will just fall off the bone!!! So moist you wouldn't believe!!! Sweet Mary that was good stuff!!!

Jenny and Stanley had asked me to give the wedding toast...
Both readers of this humble blog, I have apparently hoodwinked them into thinking I can is my toast to my friends!

Jenny & Stanley's Toast

Hi Folks!
For those of you I haven't met yet, my name is Joe, and as you can probably tell...
I'm not from around here. 
But I've known Jenny and her family for almost 30 yrs. now.

Ya know....when Jenny & Stanley first asked me to give this toast...
I found the idea more than a little bit daunting.

My first thought of course was: 
"Please God don't let me screw this up!"

In keeping with the themes expressed so well by the readings the boys gave at the service...
let's talk about roads.

Jenny and Stanley have taken very different roads to be here today before you good people.

Jenny, a Southern spirit raised among Yankees...went on to College and Higher education.

Stanley, a true and solid son of the South learned a trade and opened his own successful machine shop.

It took plenty of hard work, and some rough roads. A lot of determination, and a couple wrong turns before those roads converged before us here today!

Now, it would be easy for us to raise our glasses and wish them the best of luck...
But we all know it takes a lot more than just luck...
don't we?

This love they share is a precious gift. 

Much Like the classic cars we’ve seen here...

If they cherish it and nurture it, 
fix it when something breaks...
it will sustain them throughout their lives.

Though the roads might get rough...
And sometimes the hills will seem too steep to climb.
Sometimes things will seem to go too fast, 
and you'll want to hit the brakes.
You'll cross spans where you'll be afraid to look down into that dark chasm.
And there will be days when that engine just won't run right...

But together, the roads will smooth before you.
You'll surmount those hills and slow things down. 
You'll whistle as you cross those bridges, hand in hand...
and have that engine running just like a song.

So let us raise our glasses and salute this journey they embark upon, together. From this day forward...

Safe travels my friends!!!

To Jenny & Stanley!

Now I'd like to say I gave it exactly as written...but that would not be accurate...A last minute rewrite to include the readings the boys gave threw me off....I managed to pull out a coherent toast...but just barely. I should have known better.

Anyway, it was after that and the Key Lime wedding cake that the drinking started in earnest... Could it be because Prichard's Distillery (purveyors of fine flavored small batch rums and Bourbon Whiskeys) is but a stones throw down the road, and they do know Jen on first name basis??? Perhaps...

Perhaps because my dear friend Jenny kept finding more and more of these...

Miniature bottles of Prichard's "Sweet Lucy" flavored Bourbon Whiskey!!! 

At least none came out my nose...Carol F. !!! Lol
I can't say the entire night is clear, but what I know for sure...Ol' Lonnie can PLAY a guitar!

The next day dawned, clear and bright...well maybe not too clear, but definitely too bright!!!

As we all recovered we found or way back out to Jenny and Stanley's...

A relaxing low stress day, the guys did a little shooting...the gals a little gossiping. Until Stanley asked if I'd ever ridden in a Model T.
Stanley fueling up the "T", Josh peeking out the window

When he learned I had not, he graciously offered to take me for a wasn't long before we had a regular convoy lined up! 
Father of the Bride, Bob in Ted's '25 Chevrolet

His friend Larry led us off in a Model T Pick up, then Stanley and I in the "T", followed by another friend of ours, Ted in his 1925 Chevy. Lonnie and Cathy followed in the only modern vehicle, (a rag top Jeep with the top removed)...just in case.

For those of you that have never had the experience, I highly recommend it! Not as simple to drive as a modern auto, driving a Model T took skill! You have three pedals on the floor, far left is forward drive, middle pedal is reverse, far right is the brake. A big lever on the far left takes you from low to high gearing. The throttle is on the right side of the steering column, ignition advance on the left. YES, I said ignition advance!!! Watching Stanley drive was like watching someone playing the piano...his hands are always moving, and magic happens!

If you look close in the video at the hood is actually the temperature gauge! See that red line in the center, it's about half way up the gauge...just right, when it turns all red you need to stop!!!

Neither Stanley nor I are small guys, and while tight the cabin was far from uncomfortable...I include here a short video, taken along a back road near their home...

Oh the beautiful vistas we saw, from roads built atop ridges you could see for miles...the Smokey Mountains in the distance. To the tree lined, canopied lowland driving through a tunnel of life itself. Brooks babbled...cattle looked on could have been a different time!!!

We had a great time, met some wonderful people! We look forward to going back again, a week next time instead of but a few days.
I'd like to thank all we met for making us feel so warm and welcomed! In no particular order: Larry, Terry, Lonnie & Cathy, Brian and Tennessee Carol!

Until we meet again, 

Be Well Folks!

Beastly Bear


  1. Sounds like a great wedding and a great time was had by all. Looks like you rocked your speech! YAY!

    1. Thank you Kathy, and for your advice on polishing! :-)

  2. It was a fantastic wedding and reception . Congratulations from cuzzin Reg and my dear friend Melissa !

    1. Reg, thank you for stopping in and having a read! It was a great wedding and reception, wasn't it??? Never seen Jenny happier!!!

  3. Pardon me for pointing out your humility, but you do underestimate your abilities, my friend. The toast is perfect. The week-end sounds fabulous and I'm guessing they can't wait for the bear fam to return to play some more!

    1. Thank you Jo, we did have a blast!!! Can't wait to get back and play and explore more!!!

  4. Wow looks like a really super fun time!

  5. Enjoyed the commentary, sounds like it was a wonderful event and a great toast, I would expect no less from you

  6. What a wonderful wedding! And such a sweet post. :D

    1. Thank you Terrye, it was a great time and I met some great people!

  7. That was a marvelous wedding by all indications of this delightful post. I like the couple's cool theme of not sticking to a traditional wedding, and the menu looked great too.

    1. Such good food, beautiful location, good friends and good times!

  8. Thank you Joe for the wonderful wedding tribute blog. What a wonderful recap of a fantastic weekend with our loved ones. We are so truly blessed to have been surrounded by our dearest friends on this special day.

    Your toast was perfect! We are so honored by your tribute.

    Oh did I mention...HE GOT ME A 1959 CADILLAC? HOLY SHIT!

    Sorry, I digress. We are so glad you could all attend, and hope for many more visits to AT LAST FARM from our beloved friends and family.

    Thank you again Joe. We have all enjoyed the blog!

    1. Jenny my dear, the honor was all mine!!! Let's see...I think I DO recall something about a thankful I didn't use THE PICTURE!!! LOL
      We shall return...
      By the way, you are very, very welcome!!! ;-)

  9. Great toast Joe, great wedding, and great flippin' wedding gift for the bride! I'm happy you all had such a wonderful time. I've not been to TN other than driving through, it looks like a beautiful place to visit.

    1. It IS a great place to visit, so beautiful...and great people!!! Thank you for being my sounding board when I was tweeking! :-)