Bristol Bridal Bash-October 2021

Mr. And Mrs. Ackerman

Bristol Virginia/Tennessee October 14-16, 2021

Just a forward introduction on this Blog. This is not my usual account of A Girl, Her Hubs and A Suitcase. This entry is a wedding gift to my longtime friend Vicki, who married Rob in October. I combined journaling my experience in Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee with the wedding activities. However, please be warned-some semi “paranormal” events occurred that I am still trying to process. I went back and forth whether to share this with all, with just Vicki or not at all. In the end, I live my life openly and honestly and this Blog has always shown the good, the bad and the ugly. So, in the end-I felt it was a disservice not to share the full story. But if the supernatural is not your cup of tea-I still encourage you to read this-perhaps with an open mind.


Welcome to the Ackerman’s 3-day wild, wacky wedding weekend. This is a tale of two friends-pals that date back to almost 3 decades. A comradery that spans from young women to old gals. Victoria, Vicki, Vic-all interchangeably used at different stages in her life-her and I met as novice student nurses, a duo that could not be more different. Vicki, always confident, an air of certainty wrapped around her like a cashmere shawl, brilliant and dazzling next to me- ditzy, insecure, dramatically and dangerously messy. She patiently tolerated me, as I idolized her laissez-faire stance on life. Unable to combat DNA-my Jewish roots have always produced a slow annoying churn of palpable anxiety always brewing and ready to detonate the slow, destructive lava of unhealthy coping coupled with an ample 6 pack of Zima cocktails. As you could imagine, the twenties were not kind on yours truly. But, somehow like the song says, “I get by with a little help from my friends.” But, if not for some tough love from sweet Vic, I might still be causing havoc on the sandy beaches of Siesta Key-fogging up potential suitor spectacles shamefully through despicable (yet oddly unique) hyperventilation breathy methods.

Skip ahead some years, Vicki sets off to continue her education excelling in the surgical realm of nursing. My trajectory a bit different with decades of degrees accumulated along the way with a large surplus of student debt all in an effort to shed my destructive self-sabotaging way. Through the years, my path takes me towards working with children, a traveling partner-that later would become my Hubs and a quiet shared life of travel and steady work.

Vicki works her way up through the surgery ranks creating a name for herself and excelling as a coveted circulating OR nurse for prestigious surgeons in Atlanta. We unite sporadically through the years catching up hastily and intermittently. These reunions center on quality verses quantity and an enduring friendship and love that always brings us back keeping us connected.

Through the good times and in crisis- when Vicki’s sister Celeste died, I tried to be a buoy in the sea of sadness.

But, inside my heart ached for Vicki and her family, experiencing this profound loss as if it were my own family as well. But, always after the darkness comes light. Enter Rob Ackerman.

Vicki in a courageous move leaves the security of her surgical job in Atlanta, now that Andrew her son, her love, is now grown and has inherited her same fire and fearlessness-she embarks on a life of travel nursing. Through her shared stories, I live vicariously through her bravery as she crisscrosses the country living her best life. Through luck and divine alignment, we connected in Southwest Florida for a weekend of sun, cycling and sisterhood.

On a hot summer weekend, I traveled to her bachelorette pad, we biked through her neighborhood, dined outside, swam like eager minnows and had a good old fashioned girls night slumber party. It was during these 2 glorious days that I was reminded of all the hijinks, shenanigans and lunacy we both had lived through together all those years ago. We laughed and giggled like schoolgirls, reminisced, and discussed past heartache, pain and day to day strife. She intently listened, providing truly sage and wise advice.

Weeks following this visit I would find myself murmuring “What Would Vicki do?” Having said the statement so many times- I had to shorten it “WWVD?” Vicki’s approach to problem solving is tough love, a robust serving of sarcasm, followed by an ample helping of a throaty laugh. The hearty, baritone chuckle resonates deep from the core working its way up through the esophagus releasing a one-of-a-kind tympanic guttural harmonic opus that ultimately results in an infectious cascade of euphoric ovation for those fortunate enough to experience it. One could describe this celestial acoustic event as an exhilarating auricular exclamation point to a riddle-the infinite encore to any allegory-an audible, unmistakable showstopper of seraphic sounds.

It was on this visit; I saw the shimmer in her eyes as she shared in detail the love story of her and Rob. I knew in my heart that this is where Vicki’s new chapter of her life begins. Realizing this, our limited time together was even more special and cherished.

A short time afterwards-Vicki announced the incredible news of their engagement. A deep, emotional well of happiness swelled in my heart, sincere wholeheartedly genuine joy for my friend on this exciting news. The bride to be sent out save the dates and the monumental planning began-months later, the determined toil of details that were dedicated to this matrimonial magical occasion would be evident-sweet shout outs, nods and private mementos weaved craftily within the components of the wedding events.

As the wedding week in October approached Hubs and I planned for a 3-day retreat in Bristol, Tennessee/Virginia for this celebratory jubilee. Luggage packed, vehicle crammed, Juliet-Dachshund in tow, we made the over 10-hour pilgrimage to the soon to be Ackerman/Alberti ceremonial palooza.

Bristol Experience Bristol, TN – TN Vacation is situated in the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains, which includes the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Cherokee National Forest. It is a truly unique city as on one side of the main street-State Street is Tennessee and on the other is Virginia. Bristol is known for being the birthplace of country music and has the Bristol Motor Speedway. The main downtown is lit up, energetic, country chic, with historical markers connecting the old with the new in a symbiotic way.

OCTOBER 14, 2021

We were staying 3 nights at The Sessions Hotel, Bristol, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel – Bristol | SPG (marriott.com). The boutique hotel is named after the 1927 famous country music sessions. The hotel’s décor is aesthetically appealing in a rustic meets modern way furnished with handcrafted pieces with musical elements. The uniquely designed rooms with exposed brick are spacious, dark, comfortable, clean with insanely cool details such as a hanging light resembling 2 old fashioned microphones. Throughout the hotel space and rooms are endless particulars worthy of a scavenger hunt-small subtle artistic features all leading up to an inspired architectural sensory, multilayered experience.

We checked in with the overly friendly staff and were presented with a burlap bag containing ALBERTI wine in it with a personalized handwritten tag. A welcome packet with the 3-day itinerary and instructions were also handed to us. I realized now why every time over the last 6 months I attempted to contact Vicki and why she was always so busy. The details were not lost on me and as the events unfolded over the next few days it was clear the many months of preparing and arranging were organized and well thought out.

The hotel Sessions was dog-friendly, and the promenade to our room seemed to generate a feverish cacophony of frenzied barking and puppy dissonance. Juliet our Dachshund was serenaded by a rambunctious choir of contained pooches in a pitchy enthusiast canine reception.

We acclimated ourselves to the room and quickly dressed for our separate events. Hubs would be with the “boys”. I would join the “girls” across the street for what was to be a surprise for Vicki. Dressed in -may I say -adorable “cow girlish” attire I escorted Hubs to Bristol | Quaker Steak & Lube® (thelube.com). The restaurant was filled with an abundance of men, car themed manly paraphernalia prolific, testosterone, swashbuckling, brawny, robust males yielding large beer steins as the smell of nachos and chicken wings perfumed the musky air. I handed Hubs off to Rob (The Groom) and roughly 8-10 well behaved guys, trusting them with my most prized possession-Hubs.

Trying to make my way across State Street to State Line Bar & Grille – Home (statelinebristol.com). I stood there negotiating traffic on the busy street-a familiar throaty yelling “Brooke” startled me and caught my attention. Familiar golden flowy coiffured locks of undulated flaxen beauty spilled out a car window. I stood there statuesque and flustered-knowing my cover had been blown-Vicki spotted me! Perhaps, if I stand still, she will not notice me? As if to answer my redundant question-the persistent yelling of my namesake continued from the slow-moving car window. This outing was to be a surprise (I thought) and my appearance on a random street in Bristol 3 days before the wedding would certainly have created suspicion. Oh well, let’s get moving-a bachelorette party is waiting across the street!

State Street is the mecca of activity and nightlife for Bristol. For an early Thursday evening, an energetic buzz circulated down the trendy boulevard. Solo on this mission, culminating in over 10+ hours to get there, I hurriedly made my way up the stairs to the “girls night out event”. For the purposes of this blog, there are only 3 categories of guests-Aunts (7 of them) Cousins and former coworkers/roommates/friends. A small gathering of guests began to trickle in arriving in dizzying fragments. The theme was “wear your favorite rock band t- shirt”. Always one to skip instructions, I was in full cow herding regalia.  The room began to swell with laughter and volume-abundantly louder as the alcohol flowed freely.

I made my way to Vicki’s sister Jennifer, a tall, blond, beautiful soul-in any other environment I would be completely intimidated by her stunning beauty. However, her warmth and kindness took center stage, hugging me as if I too were her sister. A sudden shift in my solar plexus sent a wave of energy down my spine and an unexplainable familial love and openness settled in my being. An odd déjà vu hung over me as if searching for a word or thought forgotten but lingering. As the noise volume grew, I withdrew into a world foreign but strangely inviting. All these sentiments, although completely irrational and mystifying would later be revealed to me. But, for now as the patrons celebrated, laughed and giggled an unsettled vague feeling hung over me like a weighted blanket.

I made my way around, meeting Vicki’s friends, connecting a lifetime of stories to new faces. I immediately felt a kinship to all these ladies as we all occupied a mutual space in our heart for our dear friend Vicki.

The 7 rambunctious aunts constructed a protective ring around Vicki forming a fortified wall of love yielding years of private family moments, long withstanding jokes and a lifespan of memories. Echoes of laughter reverberated in the spacious room-an estrogen laced colloquy of multiple simultaneous competing conversations celebrating Vicki. Vicki performed a ceremonial T shirt give away brandishing each aunt with a matching kitschy statement. The aunts never strayed far from each sister as if cosmically drawn to one another. They provided an animated, theatrical and extremely entertaining backdrop to an already captivating group. Yummy treats were provided, shots consumed while Vicki anecdotes were swapped amongst the newly formed compadres.

From there, everyone moved downstairs where part 2 of the evening kicked off. Karaoke was next on the agenda. The ladies were starting to show signs of the libations kicking in. One by one, amateur serenades were belted out by microphone holding, booze induced wanna-be “singing idol” types. Some ladies from the group swaggered up on the makeshift stage, piping out unique unrecognizable versions of “I will survive.”

The aunts migrated outside to a substantial gathering of leather wearing, tattoo sporting, burly looking biker men. Inside, Vicki and a growing posse were dancing, swaying, twirling to the karaoke creations. At this point, the men including mine and the groom, done with eating, darts and pool, rejoined us-balancing out the vibe with some much-needed machismo.

As the drunk serenading continued, a rather stellar football game was on the big screen. The game was between my home team Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Philadelphia Eagles (my former hometown). A nail-biting close game kept me equally engaged as I was hijacked into an impromptu Conga line that coiled around the bar and out into the streets. The bar bouncer growled under his breath swatted at us in an irritating hand gesture as Vicki innocently led the group into a dead end. Back inside, the Buccaneers won, the boozy crooning continued, and Hubs and I were exhausted. As we said our goodbyes, the tipsy tunes melodically escorted us out the door. Back at The Sessions Hotel-Juliet greeted us with enthusiastic zeal for a quick walk and restful sleep for all of us.

OCTOBER 15, 2021

I awoke by alarm clock, carefully planned out from the evening before for a sunrise run. Slightly cool outside with a darkened skyline illuminated by a peekaboo trace of pink served as my landscape. I ran up the mounting hill on the Virginia side. I passed by the 1902 train station Bristol Station Brews & Taproom Craft Beer TN VA Bar and Music Venue (bristolbrew.com) which apparently is now a brewery. The Welcome to Bristol lit up sign hovering 25 feet over the street  Downtown Bristol – Discover Bristol illuminated the quiet darkness. The historic charm of the street displayed markers commemorating the birthplace of country music. Quaint country stores, guitar themed shops and other inviting store fronts kept me entertained as I made my way up the growing hill. I turned around, passing farm like residential homes, emerald grassy fields and then crossed over to the Tennessee side of the road. All in all, it was a short run, trying to leave a reserve for a hike we would have later that day. As I ended, the sun was fully out, and hunger began to emerge.

I made my way back to the hotel restaurant Southern Craft BBQ: Best Barbecue Restaurant | Johnson City, TN. Southern Craft conveniently situated steps from the hotel has a cool, hip and patriotic vibe. Inside the enhancing aromatics of mesquite, barbeque and smokey deliciousness filled the air. Even with my vegetarian lifestyle, the tantalizing fragrance spontaneously stimulated rambunctious tummy grumblings and carnal cravings. I ordered Hubs a wholesome and southern style 2.0 breakfast with potatoes that I am convinced was laced with crack.

Back in the room, darkened shades, cold sheets and plush linens-Hubs was still asleep-as I should have been. After feasting we made our plans for the day as later that evening the wedding celebrations would commence. We drove through the quaint streets of Bristol making our way to Osceola Island Loop – Tennessee | AllTrails. We specifically chose this trail because it was dog friendly. We were testing out a new backpack for Juliet. As we drove up, a flurry of activity and people were assembling. Later-we would learn that it was a ceremonial gathering between the Fish and Wildlife and the Tennessee Valley Authority TVA donating a large quantity of Rainbow Trout stocking the South Holston Lake and Dam South Holston Lake & Dam & Reservoir in Bristol, TN – Tennessee Vacation (tnvacation.com).

The 2-mile trail is a winding deeply shaded loop with a beautiful path, water views and park benches throughout. Trialing Juliet in the backpack was nerve wracking for me and subsequently annoying for Hubs and sadly Juliet as well. My mind was in ridiculous unwarranted overdrive with theatrical scenarios all ending with Juliet nosediving in a suicidal kamikaze mission from backpack to ground. My melodramatic milieus all concluding in an ambulance and dachshund wheelchair. Juliet was fine-I was obviously the issue with my histrionics blockading stress-free merriment. Eventually, the fresh air and beguiling landscape infused some sense in me, and only then was I able to release Juliet onto the ground to frolic like the dog she deserves to be.

As we made our way back- feisty Rainbow Trout gracefully catapulted from the tame waterway in acrobatic aquatic summersaults. Determined fishermen perched over the wooden bridge patiently awaiting a nibble. I vocalized buffoonery ponderings out loud in my most obtrusive and irritating New Jersey twang as Hubs winced and cringed smiling apologetically to the friendly anglers. He softly pointed out to me-silence is necessary to capture fish. I am pretty sure my shrilly vocals traumatized those unassuming trout tainting their tranquil dwelling fortunately only temporarily.

We left the park hungry and tired. Back to downtown Bristol we regretfully asked the receptionist at The Sessions for a suggestion and acting on her ill-advised recommendation we ate at The Angry Italian – Official Website (theangryitalianrestaurant.com). After our unmemorable meal was consumed, we walked State Street window shopping and browsing in the interesting stores. Making up for the lackluster regrettable lunch, we feasted on homemade ice cream at The Southern Churn. The fluorescent yellow sugary whimsical concoction “playdough” was dreamy.

We sat in the old fashioned, country store-esque creamery licking our confectionary goodness. Out of the corner of my eye, my mind saw an image out of place. Is that a potbelly pig, in a tutu being wheeled in a wagon? Does that wagon say Porkchop.Ebara🐷 (@porkchop.ebara) • Instagram photos and videos? Nobody else felt this was a peculiar finding. I announced to the 2 other patrons- “there is a pig in a wagon coming in”. A friendly Asian man asked to enter and explained this is “Porkchop” his emotional support Pig. Well, that makes perfect sense now. Porkchop and owner ordered a large black cherry ice cream with one spoon that the owner and Porkchop shared. Porkchop and man were from Beverly Hills apparently making their way to New York City. This was certainly in all my travels the only time I have ever confronted such a bizarre situation.

Bellies full and tired from the festivities behind and ahead of us we took an indulgent nap. Rested and refueled, donning a second cowgirl-type dress, Hubs in plaid we ventured out to Thunder Valley Tavern – Discover Bristol.

Again, Vicki left no detail astray providing a complimentary van service to and from the hotel and venue, for those who planned to drink or merely had no vehicle. We bypassed the generous option as we had our own car. We approached Thunder Valley as the golden sun was setting into the mountain horizon. The pink edges of the soothing sky offered a welcoming backdrop as we ascended the steep gravel incline to our destination. The crowd was already in full swing-many from the evening before and a lot of new faces as well. A temperamental bonfire sparked and sputtered in a fire pit adding warmth and a campy touch to the night. Informal picnic benches offered foot respite for the high heeled ladies as they negotiated the precarious pebbles and sloping ground. It was a unique pairing of country casual let-loose joviality mixed with familial ceremonial formality. Generations comingled; relatives reunified, music, laughter, conversation all converging for a shared purpose-love for the Bride and Groom.   

Outside, colorful food trucks Gypsyroadeatery – Home | Facebook and La Abejita Food Truck – Home | Facebook offered eclectic, made to order food options. We gobbled down hearty quesadillas from La Abejita as the struggling fire slowly dimmed out in the dark, starry night. We organically made our way inside where the band Coal Camp | Rock Band | Virginia | United States (coalcamprocks.com) was rocking out some good old fashioned southern rock tunes. The Aunts were all on the dancefloor, shimmying down, switching partners in a rapid, random rotation. Coal Camp was going strong on stage, energetic nostalgic guitar riffs and riotous drum solos evoking toe tapping, knee slapping heart thumping movements. Vicki, radiating and sparkling-decked out in a shimmering, dazzling dress glided in luminescent brilliance rhythmically across the room, from end to end, snatching innocent bystanders resulting in a romping, spirited dancefloor.

The most entertaining and memorable part of the evening was just ahead of us. Vicki and Rob in a startling seamless move made their way center stage to thank everyone for coming. Then, before our eyes they transformed into Olivia Newton John and John Travolta “Grease” circa 1978- “You’re the one that I want” (ho, ho, ho, honey) Grease u better shape up – Bing video. I am uncertain the preparation that preceded this debut rocking duet, but it was as if this performance was made for this diabolical dynamic duo. The audience sang along in playful harmony with a “bring the house down” ovation at the end.

As the activity around me swirled like a fast-moving cyclone, inside I felt off, emotional and not myself. I felt weepy and oddly connected to all of Vicki’s family in a strange familial way. I searched deep in reflection to understand why at such a joyous event did I feel such things? Weird stirrings shifted inside my heart until eventually, I had to sit quietly and listen closely to my heart.

I stood against the wall, feeling dizzy and vulnerable. It was then that I heard Celeste-Vicki’s sister that had died many years ago. She spoke rapidly with almost frantic urgency. I attempted to slow down the delivery of this message, as if to depict a morse code. She was here, watching Vicki and would remain here with me until the ceremony. She made it clear that she was not going anywhere and for now I was to accept this. I was to be her messenger-providing her spirit to ride shotgun with mine.

I began to view Vicki’s family members with a new love and adoration. This was no longer my feelings, my voice and my doings. I made my way to sister Jennifer unaware of what my voice would say. I pulled her aside, as I admired her brilliantly long slender legs-as my short stumpy wide-bodied self -approached her. She lovingly smiled at me, and sisterly love flowed from my heart. I told her to please not think I am crazy and began to weep uncontrollably. I shared with her that Celeste was here, with us (with me) watching all of this. She is here and I was there to tell her.

Without blinking an eye, she believed me. She embraced me and said she appreciated this comforting knowledge. She urged me to let Vicki know, but for now, I did not want to interfere with Vicki’s celebrations. I walked away, composing myself but feeling utterly drained, starving and almost weirdly violated.

We said our goodbyes, hugged the soon to be Newlyweds and made our way back to the hotel to rest up for tomorrow’s big day-The Wedding.

OCTOBER 16, 2021-WEDDING DAY!

The steady cadence of rain and gloomy sky awakened us on Wedding Day. A rooftop ceremony was the plan-however, this dreary weather would certainly impede this. But, knowing my friend Vicki, she was one step ahead of Mother Nature and she would most certainly find a workable solution. Dressed in our finest wedding wear, we walked shieled with umbrellas by the pelting deluge of rain the few blocks to The Bristol Hotel Hotels In Bristol VA | Official Website | The Bristol Hotel (bristolhotelva.com). The historic architectural icon of Bristol dates back to 1925. Its rooftop holds sweeping views of downtown Bristol (which sadly would not be seen on this visit). As we entered the lobby, we were greeted by all our new friends we had made over the last 2 days. Adorable, creative center pieces of donut holes on skewers adorned the tables. A bar providing mimosas and bloody Mary’s remained steadily busy. The percolating coffee contained a growing line for the many that had partied the last 2 nights. It appears the rooftop wedding had migrated to where we were.

2 room doors magically opened, and a buffet of delicious food was offered. Slowly, the crowd trickled in and partook of the mouthwatering southern fare. Flaky, buttery biscuits, crispy bacon and other caloric indulgences filled our hungry greedy bellies.

We found a table and seats and settled in for the ceremony. This quick-thinking plan B decision was wise, and I could not imagine a more intimate, cozy and ideal setting. We began a conversation with a sweet couple from Atlanta next to us, who knew Vicki from her first surgical job. We struck up an engaging discussion so welcoming after months of Covid solitude.

As I sat waiting for the ceremonial events, my mood began to shift with feelings beginning to stir again. I felt on the edge of tears and hypersensitive. I gently spoke with Celeste, allowing her total permission now to stay. I would not fight any longer or question why, I simply would put myself aside so that she could have this full experience. A very heightened sense of urgency was palpable to me as if I knew she was here on borrowed limited time, taking up real estate in my exhausted soul temporarily. As the music started and family members began to gather, tears flowed spilling onto my cheeks as tangible evidence something was indeed off cue. I wept for what seemed forever and to the bystander-rather melodramatic. As the family members spoke, a familiar heart tug tethered me to each one in the most inexplicable way. When Celeste’s name was mentioned by Jennifer, I felt as if she was speaking directly to me.     

Eventually, one by one the “Wedding Royalty” began to come out-each one to a musical montage that represented them perfectly. They sashayed down the unrehearsed, makeshift “aisle”, musical prompts off and adorably discombobulated. Each one’s speech and connection to the Bride and Groom packed with humor and emotion. Vicki’s Dad, mixed laughter with love in an earnest dialogue. Andrew, her son, side by side these two grew up together. Vicki a young mom, determined and strong, clearly passed on these remarkable traits to her son. His warm and profound words, mixed with some “Alberti wit” offered levity and light to the moment. There was a tearful recognition of Celeste-knowing fully she was here in spirit on this glorious day and in this epic moment. Rob’s Dad poignantly told a loving story and shared a moving video of Rob’s Mom who sadly was unable to make it due to long term Alzheimer’s. With clarity and the clearest of lucidity, his mom provided loving, warm wishes.

After all the family members made their entertaining entrance and speeches-it was time for Bride Vicki’s magical moment. As she entered the room, all eyes washed over her elegant and captivating silhouette. The pure white lace A-Line floor length dress moved gracefully with her as her gloriously thick blond hair loosely curled framed her angelic face. A long tulle veil clipped in her flawless hair created an angelic dimension. Most noticeably, was her radiant smile, her heartfelt jubilation and authentic joy illuminating her soulful eyes. Rob waited at the altar, looking handsome, trim and striking-his gaze mirroring Vicki’s blissful state.  

Aunt Maureen then made a surprise declaration announcing she would be assisting brother JJ in officiating the nuptials. Vicki disclosed later to me-not even her mom had known this-she kept a vault of wedding secret details that made each unveiling amusing. Aunt Maureen began with some lively commentary introducing the couple’s interesting and unique online meeting and development of their relationship. The couple then recited their own vows-funny, quirky, sentimental, powerful and eloquent. After the vows, they sealed the deal with the most perfect kiss-Vicki and Rob beaming with pride, smiles displaying relief, love and happiness. It was official-these two were now Mr. and Mrs. Ackerman.

As soon as the ceremony ended, a literal weight was lifted from my body, I was able to find words and language again, laughter replaced heartache and tears. Did this really happen? Did I imagine it? I will never know. But I had never felt anything like that in my life and believe this all happened for a reason. I can provide no rationale or understanding for what transpired. Weeks later, I connected back with Vicki and shared with her the highlights of this experience. She did not laugh, she fully trusted this happened, believed me and was filled with love and hope that Celeste had been there for her most special day. This is just another example of why I love my friend Vicki.

The new Bride and Groom circulated the room, taking pictures in varying combinations documenting this extraordinary day. Hubs and I sat side by side, not too long ago we also had taken this matrimonial journey-Vegas style. Something about a wedding brings out hope, renewed love and fresh beginnings. Seeing the glow on both their faces was contagious. As I sat there introspectively thinking, I couldn’t help but reminisce of where our lives intersected all those many years ago. My nursing school comrade, my ally, my confidant, most recently my advisor and always-my friend and sister. All the people I encountered on these 3 days held a common theme in each of Vicki and Rob’s lives-longevity, loyalty, commitment, reliability and respect. I was honored to have been in company with such outstanding individuals. The party began to thin out, we sadly said our goodbyes, hugging our new and old friends.


We leisurely walked back to our hotel. We came to this event in heavy rain and stormy weather and now the sky was clear, and the ground was dry. Exhausted by all the activity, socialization, food consumption and emotions-we pulled the shades, tucked Juliet in between us and sumptuously snoozed. Waking up later with hunger, I was determined for Hubs to have his Rainbow Trout he so yearned for. I searched on the internet “best rainbow trout in Bristol.” Based on those findings we dined at J Frank – Home | Facebook. J Frank is a true treat, a gem of a find, and a divine dining experience. The exquisitely restored 1850 Victorian home originally built during the Civil War holds a great deal of history within its aging walls. It is cozy and inviting and you feel as if you are in someone’s home verses a restaurant. We were fortunate and were accommodated with the last table that actually was created in a corner for us. As promised, Hubs ordered the Rainbow Trout. The meal was memorable, offered southern flare, wholesome goodness and a great ending to our Bristol memories.

As Hubs and I made the long journey back, we had many stories to share, reliving our 3 days in Bristol that would occupy our lengthy drive home. I began formulating this memoir-this scribe composed from a place of love, friendship and sincerity. I genuinely hope that this compilation depicts events in the context accurately, authentically and honestly. These candid tender words, my dear friend Vicki- is my proud and humble gift to you.

Love,

~B&F~

Me & My Vicki ❤️

15 thoughts on “Bristol Bridal Bash-October 2021

  1. brooke WOW !!! i enjoyed and will treasure this your bristol blog always !!! read with a smile and tear as a dad, soooo……. happy that you and other friends of vicki and me from sarasota years back were there for her special day and with celeste as always with us all – sooo…. nice of you to speak of celeste in your blog as it is where she belongs – vicki and celeste were/and are always together along with all of us, thank you brooke, with my love, DAD 🙂

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  2. Brook, I am speechless.
    1. What an amazing writer you are.
    2. You captured all the feels of the weekend.
    3. I knew Celeste was there and how she made you feel was all her, thank you so much for telling us. I would have hated to miss out on your experience!
    4. I told Victoria after I read the entire piece! My favorite part was your explanation of her laugh!!!was absolute perfection! As I was reading I could hear Vic’s laugh which always brings such joy!
    5. What a beautiful gift for Victoria and Rob!
    Thank you for sharing your story!
    Much ❤ “one of the Aunts” Maureen

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aunt Maureen, you are one of the individuals from that beautiful weekend I was so drawn to. The love that I felt from Celeste was like a magnet to you, Jennifer, Dad, Mom & Vicki the strongest.
      There were times I wanted to embrace you. Reading your comments made me weep. And very audibly I could hear “this is what I wanted, your job is done”.
      Message received. For weeks after the wedding I was exhausted, drained and thought I hallucinated this whole experience. To hear your family believe and trust this makes every doubt and physical feeling 100% worth it. Thank you so much for your response back❤️

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  3. Brooke! I so enjoyed seeing you and Frank again. Thanks for making the journey to Bristol and writing this amazing blog/gift. You are so descriptive and should be writing for Travel and Leisure Magazine!

    Hope to see you both soon!

    Love Rob

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Brooke! I so enjoyed seeing you and Frank again. Thanks for making the journey to Bristol and for writing this blog/gift! You are so descriptive and should be writing for Travel and Leisure Magazine!

    Hope to see you both soon!

    Love Rob

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rob! We share a mutual love for Vicki. She has met her equal in life. Please please tell me, your thoughts on my description in her laugh. This was a painstaking 3 week process with you in mind for every word. When I stayed with Vicki and you said you love her “throaty laugh” that was the first time I ever heard someone else describe my very favorite thing in Vicki!!!!

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  5. Brooke, what a lovely gift. I feel that it was not only a gift to Vicki and Rob but to all of us who took part in the amazing Bristol wedding weekend. We so enjoyed reliving the weekend through your exceptional and intuitive observations and emotions.
    As one of the “aunts” I can tell you that you have a keen eye. What really stood out to us was the love that was felt by all who attended. Though many of us did not know each other coming into the wedding weekend, we so enjoyed meeting all of Vicki’s and Rob’s friends. Great memories were shared resulting in laughs, tears and joy.
    Vicki is blessed to have you as a friend. Celeste chose the right individual to be her divine messenger. It was a so delightful to meet you and “hub”.
    Lovingly Aunt Geri and Uncle Billy

    Liked by 1 person

    • Geri, this made me cry. Since that beautiful weekend I have questioned what I experienced. To have family validate what I experienced and trust what I felt, it vitamin C to my soul. Thank you for your kind & beautiful words.

      Like

  6. This was just wonderful. Pat and I wanted so badly to attend, but I teach at our local college, and it was impossible for me to get away. But, I felt the wedding love, as I read every inch and smiled at every photo in this beautifully assembled journal. I’m smiling now, knowing that the bride and groom will live happily ever after. Aunt Bert Alberti.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I love reading this over and over again…I am very honored to call you one of my best friends. You are and always have been an amazing woman! I will forever be reading this, I love reading all your stuff.
    I’m just humbled , honored and feel overwhelmed by your wonderful gift
    I love you, my other sister.
    Love vic

    Like

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