New York, New Jersey, New York

By Megan Hulshizer

Recently, my boyfriend and I traveled to Rockleigh, New Jersey for my cousin Sam’s wedding to his beautiful bride, Rose.

However, it was no easy feat to get from Oklahoma City to New Jersey.

Friday morning I was sitting at my desk at work, bags with me and ready to go, anxiously awaiting my 4:50 flight to LaGuardia. My email dinged – Southwest was politely letting me know my flight had been cancelled. Panicking (as always, I am grace under pressure), I frantically call Southwest to see what can be done. Meanwhile, phone tucked between ear and shoulder as I wait on hold, I begin emailing my boss and texting my parents, who are on their own flight from OKC to Newark, via Denver. In a complete coincidence, my parent’s flight from Denver to Newark has been cancelled, but they were boarding the OKC to Denver flight and couldn’t do anything about it. After a sweat-inducing eternity, I talk to the wonderful customer service at Southwest and rebook my flight to the 2:40 from OKC to LaGuardia via Houston. My very understanding and wonderful boss says I can leave early in order to catch the flight, so I call my boyfriend to get him to meet me at the airport – no time to wait to see if his dad can drop him off there. My parents are able to switch their flight to a Delta flight to LaGuardia (after having to drop some serious cash), and perfect – now we are arriving at the same time at the same airport, so they can pick us up with the rental car! Oh no, it is not that easy.

LaGuardia, as it turns out, is one of the seven layers of Hell, designed to torture your mind, test your patience, and drain your soul. Currently (and forever) under construction, it is a labyrinth of pain and suffering that I wouldn’t wish on my enemies. After a day of travelling (we arrive at 10:50pm, they arrive at 11), Brian and I hop on the shuttle bus, then take another bus, just to get to the Hertz counter. We wait, and wait… and wait. No sign of Mom or Dad. Dad calls – the shuttle still hasn’t come and they’ve been waiting almost an hour. I try to get the Hertz guy to let us get the car and pick them up, but he can’t since it’s under my dad’s name. Finally my parents make it to the Hertz counter, we get the car, and as we try to leave, we can’t. I think I almost started to cry. They have to get something approved by the manager, so we have to wait outside for the manager to come swipe a card so we can leave the parking lot.

In the end, we arrived at the hotel at 2:20 am. My parents left the house that morning at 8 am. We still can’t believe it. But we all made it, which is no small miracle.

The next day, the cousins, Brian and I all go have brunch at a local diner, and the adults go do their own thing. We meet at the Bruce home to help with the set up for the wedding. The Bruce family has a beautiful home from the 1800s with a small barn and some land in the backyard, and the wedding was outside in that area. They rented an absolutely massive tent and platform for the tables and dance floor. We help out with the crafts portion of the set up, like little candles for the tables, and try our best not to get in the way. As the time gets closer, we head back to the hotel to make ourselves look presentable, and then take shuttles back to the house for the wedding.

The ceremony was so beautiful. Sam and Zack sang a song for Rose, and their close friend performed the ceremony. Their personal vows were cute and funny, and fortunately the rain that had been threatening passed us by.

Once they were pronounced man and wife, it was time for some beverages and hors d’oeuvres. The waiters kept coming and coming – fried risotto! Bacon wrapped cheese and figs! Lobster rolls! Brian found adorable cat-shaped cake pops (Rose’s cat Socrates was mentioned multiple times during the vows), and they had so much wine, beer and liquor to keep us entertained, all before the first course!

I am one of the first to admit that my family is wild, in the best way, and they proved it that evening! It was Brian’s first time meeting everyone, so he got to see my dad and his brother Danny dance like crazy people, Sam bring down the house serenading us, everyone going crazy for the brass band they had hired, and many many group pictures and silly videos. Even my Grandma Julie got on the dance floor.

After a wonderful night, we took the shuttle back to the hotel, where I stayed up playing Cards Against Humanity, drinking beer and eating pizza with the Wernecke side of the family. Loser had to wear an empty beer box as a hat. It was ridiculous, and I love them.

Our last day, we packed our bags and headed back over to the Bruce’s for a farewell breakfast of bagels, donuts, and lots of coffee. It was wonderful to spend time with everyone chatting and catching up, relaxing on their front porch, and making hopeful plans for the next family get together. I hated having to order the Uber to take us back to the LaGuardia (I got overcharged by $50 but fortunately got a refund when I got home, another nightmare), as I didn’t want to leave my family and the amazing time we had crammed in to a few short hours. I hope we all get together again very soon to dance and be a crazy family.

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