It takes two

10 August, 2013    It takes two

It takes two people to make a great couple and a great wedding and boy did I get to see an excellent one last weekend. My brother Shane married Kristin in Blacksburg, VA on Saturday, August 3 and it could not have been any more superb.

I normally only put pictures I’ve taken in this blog, but my niece Cappy took a family shot I love and I appropriated it without permission for this blog post – I hope she won’t mind! Since I’m in the picture, I feel less bad. That picture, left to right, is: my sister Sheila, yours truly, Shane (the groom), Kristin (his lovely bride), my Mom (Jude), my brother Kevin and my sister Katie. And you can barely see Shane and Kristin’s dog Tara’s head sticking up there in front of Kristin. Tara’s leash is in Shane’s hand:

Thanks for taking our picture Cappy!

Thanks for taking our picture Cappy!

Evie and I stayed in Blacksburg at their friend Tom and Erin’s beautiful home in the mountains. With their two great Border Collies Casey and Chloe. And Tara was staying with them for a while too so we even got to take her for a couple of nice walks.

Kristin and Shane are a great couple, and their wedding was outstanding too. I’ve met lots of great couples and been to many joyful weddings, but Shane and Kristin pulled it all together to make this I think my favorite wedding ever.

Our lodging at Tom and Erin’s was so fantastic – it was so great to stay in a home, and better yet a home with dogs, and even better a home in the woods in the mountains. It was much bigger, but it reminded me a whole, whole lot of being at our cabin.

The view off "our" porch - a lot like the view of the porch of the cabin.

The view off “our” porch – reminiscent of the view off the porch at the cabin.

I loved being able to walk out the door and take Tara for hikes in the woods. I always love the granite in Appalachian Mountains. It’s everywhere you turn at the cabin and on the Appalachian Trail and it was all over the place near Tom and Erin’s.

Beautiful granite

Beautiful granite

I could have stayed up there all day. But of course the wedding was compelling too… Here is the bride and groom, being read their vows – by Kristin’s father! They wrote the vows themselves and it was a beautiful, unique, touching ceremony. (It’s easy to see why I’m not a wedding photographer!)

Mr. & Mrs. McLaughlin - 3 August, 2013

Mr. & Mrs. McLaughlin – 3 August, 2013

This is the bride and groom with Kristin’s parents, sister, nephew – and dog!:

Shane, Kristin, and Kristin's family

Shane, Kristin, and Kristin’s family

And this is the happy couple with Kristin’s nephew and MY five beautiful nieces:

What a great looking bunch!

What a great looking bunch!

Shane sent around a calendar of wedding preparations the week leading up to the big event. The Thursday before the wedding from 5:00 to 6:00 the calendar said “Arrange flowers in Mason jars.” If you ever come to my home, most of our glasses are Mason jars. I was looking forward to it. The bride and groom walked down an outdoor aisle lined with these:

These are so beautiful

These are so beautiful

They built in a several-hour gap between the wedding and reception so we spent a lot of time exploring Blacksburg and its environs. The weather was beyond flawless and we got to see a lot of sights. It’s hard (for me) to get a good crow picture and this one’s not outstanding – but I like it:

Shiny!

Shiny!

Evelyn and I visited the gorgeous Hahn Horticultural Garden not far from Lane Stadium. It was worth a trip in itself. I took a million pictures; I regret only having room for a couple. Here is a water-lily:

Glowing water lily

Glowing water lily

I hope you’ll excuse my fascination with bugs while at a garden filled with beautiful flowers. It’s also a fascination with being able to take a picture like this from a long way off:

This is why they make telephoto lenses!

This is why they make telephoto lenses!

Planes were taking off from the nearby Blacksburg airport while we were at the garden. Here’s another non-horticultural picture I enjoyed:

Aerial view

Aerial view

All good things must end; we left for home Sunday afternoon. One thing that does not end is the need to cut my grass; the rain has been steady all summer. I cut my grass Monday afternoon and this grasshopper popped out. And lingered long enough for me to take this picture:

Colorful!

Colorful!

Congratulations, Shane and Kristin!

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
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