The New Year is a time for reflection and a time to move forward toward your goals. So whether you are looking for new PCS orders, just joining the military, or finally retiring, I hope and pray 2022 is a great year for you.
The whirring sound of tires spinning on ice brought a twinkle to the Good Chaplain’s eye. He peered out the window and saw our neighbor, Kevin’s, car stuck between the street and his driveway in a snowdrift.
“Someone’s stuck,” the Good Chaplain said, glee in his voice. “I’m going to go help.”
On Christmas Eve 2009 in Moore, Oklahoma, the Good Chaplain walked around in a funk. So the commander closed Tinker Air Force Base and canceled the Christmas Eve service. The Good Chaplain never canceled Christmas services before.
That day, Oklahoma City officially received 13.5 inches of snow. It was a mess. Although Oklahoma would get some snow and ice in the winter, that amount was a lot at one time. And people didn’t know how to drive in it with their Toyotas, Hondas, and other small sedans. Everything shut down. Cars were stuck all over the place, accidents were happening as cars slid into each other, and unfortunately, some people lost their lives.
But we had just moved to the area in the late summer from Fairbanks, Alaska. So, to us, this storm was a half-day event. So nothing would have closed, and people would be out as usual. And that’s why the Good Chaplain was so bummed.
He quickly donned his winter clothing and went to help Kevin push his car off the street into the driveway. As Kevin explained, his new wife, Jen, was at work about seven miles away. Kevin was trying to go pick her up when he got stuck. It was their first Christmas together as a married couple, and neither one wanted to spend it apart.
That’s when the Good Chaplain realized he could be the hero. Hands on his hips, chin tilted up, he declared, “I can help!” So, he came home, told me what was going on, jumped in our 4-wheel drive, GMC Yukon, and off he and Kevin went to rescue Jen.
Meanwhile, I watched television and read a magazine while my mother-in-law, visiting for the holidays, paced the floor. She’s a Nervous Nelly, anyway, and having the Good Chaplain out in that weather made her anxious. At one point, she looked at me as if to say, “how can you be so calm?” I shrugged my shoulders. He’d been out in worse, and I knew he could drive in these conditions. It didn’t bother me. I was just happy that he could do something productive instead of moping around the house.
It took a while to go those seven miles and back through snowdrifts, around stuck vehicles, and up icy hills, but the Good Chaplain, Kevin, and Jen all made it home safely to celebrate a wonderful holiday with their loved ones.
Until next time,
Do you have any snowstorm stories? Let me know in the comments below.
Shameless plug: My book, Where You Go, I Will Go: Lessons From a Military Spouse, would make a wonderful Christmas gift for that special someone in your life who is in the military. You can buy it by going to the Book tab on this site and purchasing through Amazon or directly from me.
Two weddings in two months are a lot to handle for anyone. It seems impossible when one is planned from Alaska and the other from Illinois. But the Good Chaplain and I pulled it off.
Illinois Girl’s wedding was outdoors in August at a venue about 90 minutes from home. The forum was a great choice — an alcove surrounded by cliffs. But that August, it was HOT. On the day of the wedding, it was 91 degrees and rainy.
The ever-optimistic Good Chaplain said not to worry about the rain. It would stop before the ceremony. And it did. Amazing. He is the weather prayer warrior. He prays for specific weather, and it happens.
Planning Illinois Girl’s wedding wasn’t as tricky as planning Mrs. Tech Sergeant’s because Illinois Girl was around to do a lot of tasks that needed doing. She and Soccer Stud took care of the venue, flowers, photographer, and cake.
Actually, Illinois Girl called me all excited one day and said, “We’re going to make cupcakes for my wedding.” At which point, I replied, “Cupcakes are a great idea, but we are not making them. Didn’t you watch that episode of Bridezillas?”
On Bridezillas, a bride decided to make cupcakes for her wedding, not considering they needed to be baked and decorated the week of the wedding. She also did not consider that her sister’s maid-of-honor was nine months pregnant. The bride was very indignant that her sister had her baby that week and couldn’t help make the cupcakes. So, no, we were not going along that route.
“But, Mom, decorated cupcakes are expensive,” Illinois Girl said. When I asked her how expensive, she said she could get them for $1 apiece, decorated. That worked out to about $200. I reminded her that was half of what her sister paid for her wedding cake.
My only disappointment with this wedding was that I missed the rehearsal dinner. And I blame the Good Chaplain for that one. We decided to camp at a nearby campground for the weekend, but we misjudged the amount of time it would take us towing the trailer to get to the venue, so we ended up pulling the trailer with us to the rehearsal. But afterward, the Good Chaplain insisted on setting up the trailer at the campground before going to the rehearsal dinner. So we arrived as most of the guests were leaving. Naturally, I was not happy, and apparently, it still bothers me today.
As we arrived at the venue on the wedding day, it was pouring rain. A big tent was set up for the guests to sit under and stay dry. Photos of the couple were taken earlier, a practice I was not familiar with. Apparently, the groom waits with his back turned until the bride comes out, and the photographer captures that first-time-he-sees-her moment when he turns around. It lessens the number of photos taken after the ceremony so everyone can get to the party faster.
As I mentioned before, the Good Chaplain is the weather prayer warrior, so he said the rain would stop before the ceremony, and it did about 30 minutes earlier. But the ground was still wet and many a high heel sunk in the mud.
But the ceremony was beautiful, my daughter was beautiful, and the reception was terrific. And 11 years later, they still live in Illinois with their two beautiful daughters, one Golden Retriever and one cat.
When the Good Chaplain deployed later that year, he said it was his wedding financial recovery deployment.