I think I should start this off by saying Ohio is my 48th favorite state in the union. It’s few redeeming qualities of its sunsets and afternoon thunderstorms can’t make up for the fact that it is flat, in the way of me reaching home if I were to drive, and well, it just looks plain funny. So when I was off to Ohio this last week, I didn’t have high hopes for the trip but I knew one thing was there. Family.
I was travelling to Ohio because this past weekend my cousin Tim got married to his wonderful bride, now husband, Zac. (Note, you have to spell Zac the cute way. So don’t you even think about putting a ‘k’ at the end of that beautiful name). It had been a while since I had seen Tim. The memories that persist are of all the times he would destroy me in bout after bout of Super Smash Brothers Melee with Dr. Mario. Memories that also coincide with being like 15 years old. Needless to say, it had been a while since we last saw each other. Thanks to social media however I have been able to watch him from afar as he documents stunning moments and personal stories of the many people that he is blessed to photograph. Social media gave me this window into his life and that of the many other family members that I would see for the first time in years at this wedding but I could tell you that it did not prepare me for the Tennessee drawl that Aunt Katie greeted us with upon arrival to the venue. And this is one of the wonderful wonders of weddings. We are reminder of our roots and all those that have played a small role in to loving us into being. We are reminded of family.
A simple first evening of hangouts was filled with burgers, hugs, and a rousing rendition of 4 corners - big kid version. We talked about the basics of life to get caught up as well as made friends with those of who we did not meet. Stories of old were shared and new memories forged as the weekend just began to get started. But after a long day of travel rest was needed. And as I closed my eyes and tried to block out the sounds of my fathers snoring, it felt good to be surrounded by family.
The next morning we awoke with the schedule at hand. Breakfast. Golf. Rehearsal (,) Dinner. *I put this implied comma (,) here because it was told to me by a good friend Averi, promptly after my awful joke that I had to go rehearse eating that night, that the rehearsal dinner was not a time to practice eating, but two separate ideas. Rehearsal (comma) Dinner. But this punctuation looks weird so we leave it out as an implied comma which if dictated, she decided would look like this. (,)* Okay, now that that is taken care of. I must add one more off topic thought. After our breakfast , we found some racoons in our garbage can. I like to think that after our previous meal the night before we supplied them with a glorious feast for their family.
Oh and I can’t forget the sunrise from that morning. Was nice to wake up before the family.
Next on the list: Golfing. Luckily for me, we were playing in a scramble. And I was paired up with my Uncle Steve, Daryl, and Alex. All who had better golfing experience than I brought to the tee. For the record, this would be my third time golfing in my life a full 18 holes and the last time I did I shot a 168. That was over twice the amount for par… So let’s just say that things were playing right out on que when on my first attempted drive the ball flew in a otherworldly right slice into what my uncle called “the shit.” I decided right then and there we were going to take one club and get better at that one club. Club of choice. 5 Iron. I like to think this plan worked out. By the end of the front nine I had gotten a consistent swing out of the club and was able to put it about 125 yards out. I was proud. I only lost 6 balls in the process. By the end of the round we had even used a few of my shots to help contribute to my teams dominating win at -4. Much thanks to Alex for draining 3 birdie putts on the final 3 holes. All and all, It was a spectacular start to the day and I’m looking forward to the next time I’ll get to play with family.
The rest of the day we got to enjoy some time out by the lake. Swimming, relaxing, and the overly reckless and boundlessly fun activity of tubing. Or after some review with Michael of his experience tubing next to me, body skipping. I recall how fast the tubing experience went from one of, “Well this is a nice ride.” to “Dear lord water can be feel exactly like concrete.” Thanks Family.
So now it was time to rehearse eating right? Well, it was looking that way. We arrived, mingled, and enjoyed the company of many people. There were games to pass the time; One was quite surprised as Presley held her own in cornhole. Growing ever better as time went on. Then as the festivities were just getting lively, we look to the west and see some darkness setting far earlier than expected. Soon wind drafts begin to come in through the open doors and we realize what’s happening. A storm is a brewing. But that was no stop to the fun. Tim and Zac went out for a photo session in the pouring rain!
Tim then came back in and proceeded to chase Grandma around the table. It was beautiful chaos! No time is ever straightforward around family.
The following morning, more sunrises. More chaos with family.
Through which I was able to find some time to show my joy of photography for Presley. With some simple instructions she began firing away taking picture after picture.
It was a good thing that I had a big SD card. But too bad I didn’t charge my camera up fully the night before. I even got her to sit for a few portraits. Don’t forget to document your family.
Now finally the big moment. The wedding. I must say I didn’t expect to cry so much. There was a simplicity and a genuine peace to the atmosphere of the venue that day. To sit there in with all the people around Tim and Zac, it was evident how many people love us into being. All the people that we get to call family.
And then came the party. Loud. Festive. Just right for this group of people. Well… until some got tired. Sorry Fam.
During this time I got to pull my Grandmother, and a few others aside for some portraits. Photograph your family.
Then I had to just step away for a moment. Enjoy the atmosphere from afar. Remind myself how wonderful it has been that of all the people in the cosmos, these people are my family.
If my recollection by the end of this has become shorter, well that’s because I’m getting more tired of trying to write all of this out. To avoid having to write of all this is after all of the reasons why I bring a camera. To document these moments. To document my family. Whether it is blood relations, friends we have picked up along the way, or just the larger part of humankind I want to show my love for them by how I document them. Dear Family, I love you.
P.S. - I love how short my mother is.