Thursday night I flew into Pittsburgh International Airport, picked up my lovely Hertz rental car - a black Mazda M3, then drive up to Zelienople to stay with my friend Mike in his new place. Zelienople is one of those really small towns where the main drag is about a quarter of a mile long with three traffic lights. As we walked with Max the German Shepherd down the main street, a group of high school kids in an SUV invited us to the St. Greg's fair. What that is I have no idea. We had Yuengling and a blooming onion, chicken wings, and a cheeseburger at the local bar, which was a block from the house. The tattooed, pierced, bartender wore an "I <3 Zelie" t-shirt. They were on sale for $15. I almost bought one.
Friday morning, I drove a little more than a half hour to Rachel's Roadhouse, a restaurant we used to hang out at in college. Leah's aunts threw her a pre-wedding lunch. The food was excellent. For dessert, I tried a blueberry cheesecake that was out of this world.
We then went to the Acker household to help Leah with her gifts and other miscellaneous tasks.
Leah Thomas (nee Acker) received most of the gifts on her registry, and two more boxes were delivered as we hung out at the house.
Nelly the little poodle sat right in the middle of the action. At first, I thought she was a bichon frise. Then I learned that the family had originally wanted one, but after learning that bichons are difficult to housebreak, just "got a light colored poodle and let her hair grow long."
At the rehearsal dinner at Quaker Steak & Lube, someone anonymously sent Leah a shot. She didn't refuse!
Later on Friday evening, we went back to the Acker house while Jared and Leah stopped by at her grandmother's house. Andrew Acker (Leah's awesome brother and my wedding partner-in-crime) told us story after story about the bride while rolling on the floor laughing. Then he suddenly remembered that he'd left Nellie outside 45 minutes earlier. She wasn't too happy about it.
Calling all guys! You need to meet Becky (pictured below). She should be Maid of Honor of the year or something like that. She is organized, let me crash at her house. Woke me up the morning of the wedding, laid out towels, brought over a delicious homemade breakfast to the Acker house for everyone to eat that morning, SANG beautifully at the ceremony and reception, and God knows what else! Becky is a sweetheart. It was both an honor and a privilege to be in a wedding with her and Hillary.
Finally, the happy couple showed up around 2 a.m. Just kidding! It was more like 10 o'clock! But then they started doing Jared's laundry for the honeymoon. Jared actually took off the shirt he is wearing in this picture to throw it in the washer. Andrew actually finished up the load. What a great brother.
"You are under arrest. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to have an attorney present during questioning. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you."
It's all a result of us getting a little too rowdy at the late night Bachelorette gathering/Sheetz run. As you can see, I couldn't resist the lure of Fufu Berry Jones soda.
So after that, we went to sleep early! I stayed at Becky's house. Slept like a baby. Was out of bed and in the shower by 7:15 the next morning.
One of my favorite parts of being in a wedding party, is getting to know the parents. Peter and Pat Acker were so gracious, kind, and fun to be around. They met on a blind date and have been married since 1980. I know. I saw the wedding pictures to prove it. Don't they sort of remind you of Laura Bush and John McCain?
Here I am waiting down in the church for the ceremony to begin. I'm holding off on putting on the shoes though... They are not that comfortable.
Andrew drove Leah, Jared, and I around town on Saturday. He's a hell of a driver! I'm trying to convince him and his dad to come down for the St. Pete Grand Prix next year. Mr. Acker actually roomed with Bobby Rahal back in the day. Crazy, huh?