You can flat out believe whenever my family (twenty-eight in all) get together, something weird will happen. No, make that several occurrences of weird somethings. Well it happened again recently in New Bern, N.C. No surprise there, since New Bern and I have a weird history: I was BORN in New Bern at St. Luke’s Hospital, but when we left there, my parents drove us to our new home in Jacksonville, N.C. (thirty-five miles away). Anytime New Bern readers look at the back of my books, the buzz starts, “I don’t know any Ann Ipock. Do you? When did she live here? Did she go to New Bern High? Who IS she?” I’m starting to feel like President Obama having to explain my birth certificate. Hub Russ was also born in New Bern, but no one questions him, since his home was a mere eleven miles away.
To further explain this birth place vs. home place: My family did live in New Bern, but then Dad got transferred with his job to Jacksonville when Mom was about eight months pregnant. Understandably, she wanted her familiar doctor to deliver. Anyway, New Bern is a small but picturesque, historical town with many retirees. In fact, I still have relatives in that area. Furthermore, who could not love New Bern with Nicholas Sparks living there?! Not only that, but Governor Beverly Purdue owns a home a few doors down from the aforementioned baby faced, popular author, Nick. (No, I’ve never met him, but I’d like to, and I’m big on nicknames—no pun intended.)
Anyhoo, we have a running discussion with some family members (okay, it’s actually one: Keith Huxley, my sister Nancy’s hubby) about the pros and cons of GPS devices. We don’t own a Garmin or a Tom-Tom, and I don’t want one. We do, however, use Mapquest; which this time turned out to be wrong! Wrong! Wrong! (More about this later on.) I got a little suspicious when the hotel directions read, “go over the railroad tracks and make your next right.” Huh? So we did that and we ended up on a short and narrow residential street that was, well, just plain scary looking. I knew the Riverfront Hilton was not going to be there. So we retraced our path, and drove over ANOTHER set of railroad tracks and indeed found Middle Street. Of course when we arrived, everyone said, “What took you so long???” Did I mention that I called thirty minutes earlier saying we were a mile or so away?
But that’s okay. Guess what Keith did? Now, keep in mind that the hotel was two blocks from the Chelsea where the wedding reception was being held. We heard there was a shuttle but after yakking about the pros and cons (which I still don’t understand) no one wanted to take it. So we formed our own shuttle service, with Keith volunteering to make two trips from the hotel to the restaurant. Well, Katie and Michael and Heather and Huck (Huck is Keith’s son) knew he was on the way. After twenty minutes Huck called his dad only to find out Keith had driven over the bridge! Why? Because the GPS was wrong! Aha! Now, Keith doesn’t know that I know this, but I am still laughing because of all the grief he’s given us for not buying one. This is the same brother-in-law and sister that went with us on a cruise last May to Bermuda. We drove around in circles near the port for an hour due to a ding-dong parade.
The actual wedding reception was just perfectly splendid, though. Maggie and Brian got married in Virginia Beach last July with only their immediate family. They planned the reception later as Brian is military and they were being sent to a new duty station, Cherry Point. And now, bless his heart, he’s on his way to Afghanistan. But the soiree was perfectly planned down to the very last detail and Maggie did an excellent job. The meal, the music, the ambience, the introductions, laughter and reminiscing were just terrific. Maggie was so thoughtful that she even handed out goodie bags, info on New Bern and typed instructions to their home — about twelve miles away — for a brunch the next morning. But, guess what? I lost the instructions and Katie said not to worry because she had them (I assumed she meant from Maggie.) So, off Russell and I go following Katie and Michael. We arrived ONE HOUR later. Why? Because Katie had Mapquest directions and they were WRONG, as well! Eventually we turned around on a two lane dirt road probably ten miles past their house. I said a few choice words and I’m still apologizing to everyone. Eventually we made it to the brunch, but not before people started calling us on our cell phones as we traversed the country side, saying, “Where are you?” I finally said, “If I knew, I’d tell you!” I wanted to add, “I don’t think we can get there from here.” But I didn’t. And we did —arrive, that is — eventually, no thanks to GPS or Mapquest.