Last Saturday was the 20th anniversary of the best day of my life – the day I married Tori.
In Oregon we always spent our anniversary sitting under the same tree, one we'd carved our initials in, and read poetry while sipping wine and eating bread. Now, partly we did that every year because it was romantic, and because our schedules were so hectic. Sometimes we'd have no more than a half hour or so before one of us, or one of the kids, had to be somewhere. But I have to admit, part of it was that we were kind of broke when we first got married. This was both romantic and inexpensive.
But I always thought Tori deserved a better anniversary than that, and when the city of Albany cut down that tree a couple of years ao, we knew it was time to go.
We're hardly rich now, seriously that's just laughable. But this year we were able to do a little better. (Tori got a great new job. I'll let her tell you about that another time.) I thought it would be nice this year to have some time for us, without having to worry about the kids or the schedule, making dinner or anything like that. So, without telling Tori, I made a reservation for a room at Sand Castles on the Beach, a resort not more half a mile from here, right on our favorite stretch of beach. We'd be right at hand if anything went wrong at home, but we'd be alone. We'd walk on the beach, maybe swim, maybe use the resort's pool. Not worry about anyone but us. We didn't bring the cell phone, didn't bring the laptop. We'd have a sort of island getaway vacation without actually going anywhere.
The weather was dicey that day, cloudy all day with some light sprinkles. Mind you, this was the day after what was left of Tropical Storm Erika had already passed by, and there was nothing on the weather horizon. But instead of sun, we got clouds, gray skies and a little rain.
No problem, I was sure we'd find something to do indoors. And we did.
The room was nice, a suite actually, with a living room, bedroom and small kitchen off the patio. The patio was covered, so even a little rain wouldn't be a problem.
But a little rain was not what we got. After we'd been there a couple of hours we were, sitting in the living room, resting and watching the Notre Dame game (Go Irish!) when there was a flash of light outside. Then a boom. Then more light. Then the roar of rain.
Understand that when we get rain here it's usually brief. Even when it's intense, it's rarely as long as 15 minutes. But this was amazing, a downpour like we haven't seen since Hurricane Omar. Lightning and thunder right on top of us – literally. There'd be the flash and the boom almost simultaneously, which means it's close. And the rain pouring down.
That's when we discovered the kitchen window couldn't be closed. There was a screen, but no glass. It shouldn't have been a problem since the window was perpendicular to the open end of the covered patio, where the rain was coming from. In a typical cloudburst, not even an issue.
But this rain was coming down so hard for so long and blowing so hard that it flooded the kitchen, water pooling up on the floor. We had to run down to the desk and get a lot more towels.
The rain, the thunder, the lightning. It was spectacular. Naturally, the power went out, so we never did see the end of the game (which Notre Dame won, we found out later, 35-0.) And it went on more than two hours. I mean, this was a storm like I hadn't seen here without a hurricane warning attached to it.
Dramatic doesn't begin to describe it. It as an amazing experience, and a spectacular backdrop for our anniversary. And it wasn't the last amazing experience we'd have that weekend.
But we'll tell the rest of the story tomorrow.