July 2005 was an exciting and busy time for our family. My niece, Jessica, was to be married in a destination wedding at Gulf Shores. We had rented a huge beach house for the family. My sister, Becky, had arranged a cake, flowers, a shrimp boil and all the other details of a wedding.
My daughter, Sarah, had won a scholarship from the English Speaking Union to study at Oxford (Exeter) for three weeks and six credit hours. She was also given a week in London with a theatre allowance.
As I got in the shower the morning of July 7th, I turned on the radio to listen to the morning news. The first thing I heard was that terrorists were setting off bombs in the Tube, London’s subway. I felt blindsided. Sarah was leaving in ten days to go to England. She had worked so hard for the scholarship. We had to let her go and have faith that she would be alright.
After I was dressed and was doing some things around the house, my mother called and told me that Hurricane Dennis was headed toward Gulf Shores and would hit ground about 6:00 pm on Monday, July 11th. The time for Jessica’s wedding was Monday, July 11th at 6:00 pm. Becky was frantically trying to cancel all the arrangements and reserve a venue in Louisville for the wedding.
I took a walk around the neighborhood that afternoon to relieve the stress I was feeling. While I was walking, a family member called and told me that my dad had had a stroke and was in the ER at the hospital. I really didn’t want to answer any more phone calls or watch any news. I headed to the hospital to be with Dad. When I arrived, I was told it was a mini-stroke and that Dad would recover in a few days. What a relief!
It all worked out. Jessica and Jarrod were married at Bernheim Forest in Louisville in a private garden.
Dad was well enough to drive the newlyweds in his 1935 Chevy to Martini’s, an upscale Italian restaurant. We ate together and sent the newlyweds off on their honeymoon from the parking lot. Jessica’s ring has the date of their wedding engraved with July 11, but they actually married on July 10. A great conversation piece.
And as for Sarah, she did go to England.
While she was there, I heard there was a second round of bombings. I knew I would go crazy if I watched all the news coverage, so I took my radio and phone to the pool. Sarah called me about the middle of the day to ask what was going on in London. They had closed the Tube, but no one would tell them anything. I told her that there were bombings on the subway. She told me where she got off the Tube, and it was the stop before the bomb was detonated on that subway. I don’t even think the bomb was successful. She had been protected by getting off when she did. I told her not to take any kind of public transportation back to King’s College where she was staying. It was quite a distance, but she and the other two students who were traveling with her made it back, I think either by walking or taking a cab.
Sarah returned home safely and had loved her time in London and at Oxford.
Jessica and Jarrod were happily married and really didn’t care where the ceremony took place as long as they were man and wife.
My dad recovered quickly and has never had another stroke.
I guess all’s well that ends well, but July 7th is a day that I will never forget.