Where to begin!?
We have had such a great weekend with family that Alex hasn’t seen for 22 years and that I have never even met! Again we were blown away by the generosity and hospitality we were shown by everyone we met.
We arrived in Michigan, Watersmeet at about 4pm and Alex straight away recognised the house even after 22 years!
We parked up and stayed safe inside the van as we had been warned by Aunty Maureen NOT to approach the house under any circumstances as she has a very unsociable alsation just waiting for a midday snack to walk upto the house. We sat and pondered for a while as we realised that we had jumped a time zone and it was actually 3pm and everyone was still at work! So of course we decided to go find a bar!
We wandered the street (Watersmeet is one main road) and found a bar attached to a petrol station. Alex recognised it as Bears Bar where he had been all those years ago with his family.
We stood outside and took a deep breath knowing that we would cause a stir walking into this very local local! Sure enough we walked in, the music stopped, 10 bar stools creaked, spun around and 10 pairs of eyes looked our way. We approached the bar and in our never so noticable English accents asked for 2 beers please! The bartender (a 300 pound man named Kelly) looked bemused as he asked us what kind of beer and toyed with us for a minute or two before someone shouted ‘get them a Bud Kelly!’…thankfully we looked around to see Alex’s Uncle Bill grinning at us! We sighed with relief and said our hello’s and within minutes his son Billy and his girlfriend Lynn were there with us enjoying a few afternoon beers! Billy…the self proffessed chicken king of the UP kindly offered to cook us dinner and we headed back to Maureen and Bills to meet the vicious hound Keisha. We were given our instructions in Bills truck on the way back (2 blocks), “keep your hands by your sides, do not approach her she will come to you,in fact dont even look at her, pretend she is not there!” Clearly we couldn’t wait to meet her!
We pulled up and there she was stood outside of the truck door waiting for us to get out. Now I don’t know about you but I need to move my hands away from my sides to get out of a truck door, I even need to push the door open, therefore giving her plenty of opportunity to have my leg clean off! So we cautiously slid out of the van using as few movements as possible trying so hard to be fluid with no flailing arms or legs and made it to the ground. She came straight for me, sniffing and nosing me and making me ever so nervous but within a few seconds she had put her head in my hand for a stroke! I had passed! I was alive! She didn’t want to eat me! Alex was a different story. She looked him over but wasn’t so sure. She didn’t kill him though so we were both very relieved! We headed into the house and said hi to Maureen and cracked open a bottle of wine and a few beers and chatted the night away and ate the BEST BBQ chicken legs by the dozen. We finally hit the hay before we all turned into pumpkins!
The next morning was Uncle Bills birthday and we got up about 10…much to his disgust as he had already been up for 4 hours.
He made us a cheese and ham sandwich for breakfast and we soon headed out with Maureen to the local supermarket (60 mile round trip) to pick up some beers, wine and food for the weekend and to pick up a birthday cake. On route we collected more family and popped in to visit family to give out meeting plans for the afternoon. We were going for a fish fry to celebrate! We met up with the everyone that evening in a restaurant 50 minutes drive away in a different state and the 15 of us had fish fry and drinks and laughed at Bill blowing out candles on his cake. We told our story of crossing the border and listened to the family chattering. We made plans for the next night to have a cook out at Alex’s cousins Tara and Mikes house and the chicken kings’ expertise changed to rib king! So with the promise of MORE great food the next night we said our good nights!
So we spent Saturday mooching about and catching up on washing etc and took a drive to Bond Falls before heading over to Tara and Mikes.
We arrived there and were promptly invited around to Maureens best friends house (next door…a mile away) to shoot some guns! When I tell you that Thelma and Louise have nothing on Maureen and Barb you may laugh but honestly these two were not to be messed with! Both with concealed weapons liscenses they can carry a loaded gun with them at anytime!!
Maureen with her Pink Lady and Barb with her 9mm were a force to be reckoned with! We went cross country on ORV’s (similar to quads) to Barbs, she set up the target and let rip straight in the centre of it with her 9mm!
Maureen was up next with the nasty little pink lady then it was our turn! Keisha who had been taking a leisurely swim in the pond had jumped into the car (dripping wet through onto the lovely white leather) to get away from the noise…and probably to avoid getting shot by one of us amateurs!
Alex stepped up and looked all natural with a gun which was worrying! I however looked a little out of place!
I took a shot and felt my brain dislodge with the noise! It was so loud I was completely deafened! I stepped back and let the boys play, Mike had bought along his 357 pistol too (even louder) and they had a whale of a time! I was getting eaten alive by the flies so we didn’t hang around for too long! Back over ditches and through waist high grass to Tara and Mikes to get the food on
and crack open yet more beers! We had such a great night drinking, eating and talking and making plans for the next day!
Of course when the next day came we were feeling as rough as dogs and really weren’t enjoying the 100 degree heat and humidity. It was only 9 in the morning and the heat was already unbearable! We packed up enough food and drink to sink a pontoon and off we went to set sail on the thousand island lakes. Woody, a friend of the family had offered to take us all out for the day on his pontoon. It only seated 10 so Fiona, Tom and Luke came in their boat and some more friends on their speed boat too…it was going to be another great day!
Of course they all knew of our plans to have a wedding out on the lakes! Fiona had mentioned the perfect spot, a rock attached to a little island in the middle of Honeymoon Lake!
What an amazingly original idea! Woody, the captain of the pontoon agreed to utilise his right to marry us out on the lakes so it was perfect!
On top of all of that the rock stands very close if not on the state line between Michigan and Wisconsin!
So with Alex and I stood on a rock, in the middle of Honeymoon Lake…one of us in Wisconsin and the other in Michigan, with Captain Woody as our master of ceremony and with our family all around us, we had wedding number 3!
Getting out to the rock was great fun. Tom came to collect us from the pontoon in ‘the limo’ and took us out to the rock.
Luke went to collect me a ‘bouquet’ of flowers from the island and the Brittany and Neil the ‘ring bearers’ came close to the rock and stood in the wash with crayfish nibbling their toes. Tara filmed from near the island and Mike pulled the pontoon as close to the rock as was safe. Fiona ‘photographer’clicked away from the pontoon and made sure she didn’t miss a thing! Aunty Maureen, Uncle Bill and Courtney and friends sat in the boats around us and watched us take our vows.
Its amazing how emotional we both get each time we say our vows. The words seem to mean more each time we say them instead of becoming monotonous. Standing there on a rock with the sun shining and the bald eagles soaring overhead in the middle of that lake was just so touching!
Once we had said our I do’s we all cheered and the champagne corks started popping. We climbed back aboard our limo to the pontoon, the kids swam champagne to the surrounding boats and Mike said a few words for us to toast. The buffet reception was fabulous sandwhich wraps and cherries washed down with plenty of booze! All in all an absolutely amazing day. We couldn’t thank everyone enough for making the day so special.
After the food had settled, the bouquet thrown and caught, and we were between drinks we went out on the speed boat to go tubing! The young boys showed the ‘grown up’ boys how it was done and Alex and Mike eventually got into the lake. It was so funny watching them clinging on for dear life as they were tossed about on the waves.
Eventually the day came to an end and we drove home as the storm set in for the night. The black clouds and lightening loomed ever closer as we ate yet another fabulous meal and cut our huge chocolate wedding cake!
We stayed at Mike and Tara’s that night and crashed on the couch to watch a movie with Paten (the worlds biggest, softest dog) and Riley (the complete opposite!) demanding our attention. Leaving them the next day was so hard…if Paten had fit in the van I think he would have been dognapped…Riley would have eaten all ten of Alex’s toes so he had to stay home!
All in all we had such a fantastic weekend and were sorry to leave on Monday. Thanks again to the whole family for making us feel so welcome and for making our third wedding one we will never forget!