A few weeks ago I drove to a college friends' engagement party on Long Island. I had to wait to post this because it was a somewhat traumatic trip. The pain has since faded and I've been able to see the good, so here goes.
It's a beautiful Saturday morning, when I embark from Philadelphia, PA to Shoreham, NY. GPS programmed, Lilly dress on, overnight bag of beach gear packed, 172 miles to go. Traffic is lousy, but I'm making progress. Mile 80, my car begins to violently shake and I lose the finer nuances of steering control on the NJ turnpike. Ammmmaaaazing. It's Saturday of Labor Day weekend I'm 2 hours from home and about 2 hours from my destination, "What the heck am I gonna do?" Okay, you're right, I didn't say "heck" but this is a PG blog.
Gift from God #1, I was near an exit and the toll collector directed me to a Chevy Dealership nearby. I rattled 8 miles down the road to a little town called Avenel, NJ. I find the Chevy Dealership and think, "I'm saved!" I wander inside in my Lilly Pulitzer Dress, RL shades and white Guess heels, and ask "Is the service center open?" You should have seen the looks I received as I thought to myself, "I just had to drive up in this outfit, didn't I?" Sadly I am told the service center is closed, but a very attractive car salesman takes pity on me, takes a long look at my PA plates, and proceeds to call every mechanic in the surrounding area.
After about an hour he finds 3 places that are open and said they would "loooooook" at a car, but gave no guarantees on fixing it. One of these places is about 200 yards down the road, so I made my way down there. After nearly bursting into tears telling my story to the owner of the auto shop, he agrees to look at the car. Up goes my Impala on the lift, and moments later in comes the owner shaking his head saying, "You gotta see this." I wander into the garage (still in Lilly, mind you) to see my rear right tire is torn about 1/3 of the way around. The tire had somehow begun to shred layer by layer without losing air but significantly effecting my ride (hence the crazy shaking). Gift from God #2, the shop had a used tire in the right size and he was able to change it out quickly. I really wish I had video of me standing in an auto shop in a Lilly dress with a completely stunned look on my face. And he did all this for $26!!!! So if you are ever in Avenel, NJ and need a car fixed please see Mr. Pete San Giorgio at Avenel Auto Care Center on Rt. 1 South, and tell him I sent you! I showed my dad the new tire when I got home and he was impressed with the work done and that I was not swindled (and my dad loves that car more than he loves me).
I return to the road, Mile 89. I eventually arrive at the party, THREE HOURS LATE. Are you serious?!? I'm never late. I was mortified. My third gift from God for the day came when I gave my hostess gift to the Bride's mother and she exclaims "How did you know?!" as she opens the bottle of Relax Riesling. Apparently it's her favorite. "Whew, as least I got that right!" I think to myself.
The Bride hands me a margarita, I proceed to have a blast at the party. They even had Karaoke!!! I sang "These Boots are Made for Walking." Yea, you wish there was video of that. My college guy friends treated the crowd to their own rendition of Queen's Bohemian Rhapsody and there is video! I really hope you can see this.
Aside from being egregiously late, and singing off key, the party was amazing! The Bride's family opened their home to everyone and everyone pitched in to help with the event. The Bride's uncle catered the food, and now their wedding caterer certainly has big shoes to fill! The Bride's aunt used her late grandmothers heart shaped pans to make the lovely cake you see below. The Bride's parents graciously hosted both families and lots of friends, not only for the party, but overnight in the house and in tents outside their beach side home. We all woke up with the sun and spend the day by the water laughing at the photos and videos, and getting sunburned. It truly was an amazing weekend, absolutely worth all the car trouble.