It took four states to reach our destination of Kalispell, Montana, for Aaron and Zak’s wedding. With Mike’s (husband) Southwest points we make it to Spokane, Washington. From there we rented a vehicle and drove five hours to Kalispell. Sonja and Aaron are college friends and were sorority sisters at Pepperdine. Aaron spent many holidays with our family and she is like a daughter to us. With Sonja being a bridesmaid, It was my pleasure to accompany her to stand in her dear friends wedding.
When we arrived in Spokane we upgraded our vehicle to a four-wheel drive due to the snow that we knew was ahead of us. Sonja typed in the address into the app of her phone and we were off. Neither of us had ever been to Montana. The drive was beyond my expectations of beautiful, but about an hour into trip it started to snow. At first the snow was gentle and then it turned into a steady shower, obstructing our view. Sonja was in a panic and could not find the windshield wipers, and in the meantime the other bridesmaids were texting us to make sure we were heading in the right direction. Jacque, one of the bridesmaids, was worried because she knew that we are not experienced snow drivers, so she suggested that we meet and follow her into to Kalispell. Sonja was fine until we lost contact with the free world and our Internet was down. Suddenly my position as co-pilot was demoted to scapegoat, with Sonja yelling, “Please can you just help and tell me where we are!” I’d look at my phone but the search engine kept spinning with the notification of “no connection.” I tried to make small talk but Sonja was headstrong and wanted directions. Sometimes, because God is on my side, the Internet would kick in long enough to make sure we were going in the right direction. The bridesmaids warned us not to take the fastest route due to the road being too scary for two California women who know nothing of driving in snow. Did Sonja listen? Nope, she headed straight into that no man’s land where the deer and the antelope not only play but own the roads. As it got dark Sonja said she could not see, I had to ignore her because I sure was not going to offer to drive. Sonja almost hit a beautiful deer and accused me of not warning her. She said, ” Instead of getting your phone out to take pictures of the animal, you should tell me that you see it!” I asked why, and she said, “so that she would not hit it.”
When we finally arrived we headed straight to the beauty salon for much-needed beauty treatments. I got my nails done and Sonja got a mani-pedi, and we met the rest of the bridesmaids over cheese and wine.
The following day was the bridal luncheon, so I was so glad that we dressed up a little because all the women were in nice dresses. I wore a dress with, of course, my trusted Spanx’s black tights, with a matching burgundy coat. After meeting Zak, the groom, and Soren, Zak and Aaron’s baby, we mingled with the rest of the guests. It was about 2:30 PM and we decided to drive to Glacier National Park. We did not change our clothes, but it did not matter because the boots that I packed had no traction and I was slipping with any sight of snow. Glacier National Park was so beautiful that we had to experience in on foot. The fear of falling guided my every step, and at every move I yelled out Sonja’s name. Sonja had made her way to the end of the dock and was busy taking pictures. She forgot I was behind her, slowly making my way with an invisible walker.
That night the bridal party was meeting for a pub crawl. I wanted nothing to do with this but we met with the group at a local bar. We tried to sneak out but Ryan, one the groomsmen, did not allow us, and made us walk to the grand opening of a art gallery across the street. The small town of Whitefish was bustling with scores of people because it was “Ladies’s Night,” when once a year the local vendors discount their merchandise, especially for women. After the art gallery, Sonja and I did make our great escape and left the partying to the locals.
On Saturday the day of the wedding, Aaron came to pick up Sonja for hair and makeup. Our hotel was in Whitefish, which is a 15- minute drive from Kalispell. I dreaded driving in the slush but I needed to eat, and it was 2:30 PM by the time I built up enough nerve to drive. I made a dry run to the venue and wanted to walk around the quaint ski village, but my boots were too stupid and I kept slipping on the snow. I stumbled upon Desoto BBQ and Beer Grill. I texted the wedding girls and Wendy said that it was safe to eat there. I have the bad reputation of always ordering the wrong thing, but not today. My food experience at this little hole in the wall was so wonderful that it brought my taste buds to another level, adding an eighth sense of what real brisket is all about. My salad was an interracial marriage of warm brisket atop lettuce, hardboiled eggs, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and creamy ranch dressing. The meal was like listening to a violin with the sweeting corn bread, not just any corn bread but what I imagined the Israelites experienced in the Sinai Dessert “manna.” It was heavenly.
The wedding was the highlight of the trip, and it was held in the KM Building, a historical building owned by Aaron’s family. It was transformed into romantic scene of candles and old wooden carts with the backdrop of the antique windows, and it was stunning. When Aaron walked in to claim her spot her groom was looking into her soul. I prayed for them during their nuptials and knew that they were meant for each another. Aaron’s sister Hallie graciously did the officiating of the celebration, making it extra special. The dancing bride and groom moved to the sound of every beat and it was a delight to experience this in person.
The following day we had a 4:00 PM flight to catch in Spokane, so we needed to get on the road. Again, Sonja put the address in the navigation to the airport, but it took us on a completely different route. Sonja’s phone kept getting text messages from the girls saying their good-byes. We were about two hours out when we heard another beep but this time it was the car. We needed gas and the nearest town was still 90 miles away. Sonja looked at me and asked me why I did not put gas in the car. My reply was that I did not drive the car. Sonja’s response was, “Mom, do you see where we are? We have 50 miles of gas! Please do something!” I looked on my apps map for a gas station but the response was “no results.” We did not have any water, and I ate the Southwest peanuts in my purse the day before. No Internet, no gas and no food or water, and Sonja screaming ,”What the hell are we going to do? We are in the middle of nowhere! I can’t believe you forgot to get gas!” I cleared my throat and said, “I’m going to pray.” My prayer was simple, I asked God to make a gas station appear out of nowhere. Five minutes later was a sign from God that read “Happy 10 miles.” One store in the most remote location with gas pumps; yes, God did answer our prayers. We were both “Happy!”
I enjoyed every part of this trip, especially meeting all the kind faces and making new friends. Thank you Aaron and Zak for including us in your blessed event!