"You hold an event and we turn up"
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"You hold an event and we turn up"
 

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THE BAD PENNIES

 

 

 

 

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Some People Get Married on Volksmarches

                           by Peggy Bercher


This trip will be forever in my mind as the wedding trip. At first when I heard that Nelson Cahill and Marlene Theriault were going to get married in the middle of the walk in Saint Augustine I must admit I thought it was a bit unusual. But then I got to thinking about it and I thought well why not? People get married skydiving or while attending the circus so why not while volksmarching? I did sit next to them on the flight to Florida and asked some questions in the interest of making sure I was factual in this article. I found out they met in 1993 during the Bolling Air Force Base Global Event at the second checkpoint. Thanks to two rowdy kids on bicycles who forced them off the path at the same time, they had the chance to meet and after awhile, they decided to volksmarch through the rest of their lives together. An elopement trip to Las Vegas was briefly considered but some complications took that location out of the running.

Since St. Augustine is the bride's favorite place anyway, it seemed like great idea to combine business and pleasure (so to speak). So Florida with no waiting period and no blood tests for out- of- state visitors won the wedding "contest." After a quick trip down in January for their license (good for 90 days), they were ready on February 19 to have the Bad Pennies be their special guests on this auspicious occasion. The bride looked quite chic in her baseball cap with attached  white veil (for the confused, her cap was labeled bride) while the groom looked quite handsome in his baseball cap (appropriately labeled groom). They were married near checkpoint #2 and a good time was had by all.

 


The start/finish point for the walk was the Mission of Nombre de Dios and what a beautiful and peaceful place it was to begin. St. Augustine bills itself as the oldest city in the U.S. and the walk took us past such sights as the "Oldest Living Resident" of the Oldest City, a magnificent oak tree estimated to be over 600years old; The Fountain of Youth Park (didn't go in which may have been a mistake on my part); the Castillo de San Marcos National Monument and Flagler College originally built in 1888 as the luxury resort the Ponce de Leon Hotel. The above were just a FEW of the wonderful things we saw on the walk. I'm lucky my head didn't swivel off from turning it from side to side so much.

  


After an absolutely delightful walk it was into the vans and on to Savannah, our 'home" station for this adventure. It had been a long day so we were glad to get to the hotel to rest. After a good night's sleep, the next morning saw us on the way to Charleston and what a beautiful city that is. The walk took us through several neighborhoods with one beautiful home after another. We peeked in gates and admired garden after garden obviously tended by loving hands. We saw Rainbow Row, which represents the longest cluster of intact Georgian row houses in the United States. The name Rainbow Row was coined after the houses were painted pastel colors during their restoration in the 1930s and 1940s. One fun thing happened to us as we walked through the Market and it must be because volksmarchers are a friendly looking bunch- A group of young ladies approached us and explained that they were on a scavenger hunt. They needed to have their photograph taken with some tourists and asked if we would we be willing to be "their" tourists. Good sports that we are, we said "Sure. "Then they added a minor point.  Someone in the photograph needed to be kissing a rubber chicken. I hope I never decide to run for any important office because that photograph of me kissing a rubber chicken might come back to haunt me.

Hard as it was to leave Charleston, it was back to Savannah. That evening we went to our group dinner and despite begging and pleading, Matt Pernick kept his choice of restaurant a complete surprise. Following his directions we found ourselves at the Casbah Moroccan Restaurant that came complete with its very own belly dancer. No eat and run here! We had a very leisurely dinner that included the washing of our hands between courses. Eating with the right band is customary in Moroccan traditional families and proved to be a bit difficult for the southpaws in our group. As is the group's custom there was a drawing to determine the Bad Penny of each van and a final drawing for the Baddest Penny of the trip. The lucky winners were Maryanne Conway, Marshall Hansen, Betty Strawderman and Sue Hornbuckle. The Baddest Penny overall all was Mary Widmann. All in all, this dining experience was memorable especially for those of us who sat on cushions on the floor when it came tune to get up to leave.


On the last day of this adventure, we did the Savannah walk and if the number of photographs I took is any indication, my favorite city of the three. The start/finish point was the Whistle Stop Cafe located at the Visitor's Center, originally the passenger station of the central of Georgia Railway. Again what stands out in my mind is the outstanding architecture. Many of the houses had signs on them indicating for whom they were originally built and it was fun read the names and dates. The founder of the colony of Georgia, General James Ogelthorpe, devised the idea of neighborhoods centered around squares (parks), many of which are intact today. Most have some sort of statue or sculpture as their focal point. We passed the D.A.R cemetery and stopped to read some of the signs that indicated which famous personage was buried in that particular spot. We saw the home of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of America. We passed the Savannah Cotton Exchange, where worldwide cotton prices were set and the statute of Florence Martus, Savannah's waving girl who granted ships coming into the harbor for 46 years. And let's not forget a very tasty lunch at the Shrimp Factory. The building that houses the Shrimp Factory was originally built during the winter months of 1823 through 1826 as a warehouse for cotton, resin and other products. It was hard to tear ourselves away from the sights and sounds but all too quickly it was time to return to the Jacksonville airport and come home.

As a footnote to the events of this trip we have the saga of the Great Camera Swap. In the aftermath of the wedding lots of photographs were taken to remember the occasion. Nothing seemed amiss until the Loopers took their film to be developed and discovered did they had returned with a camera obviously belonging to another Bad Penny. E-mail was sent out with a call for the group to check the camera they currently had in their possession to see if it really belonged to them It all ended well when the mystery was solved and Don and Jean Fox and Ron and Fran Looper each took back their very own cameras. How convenient for all that the two couples live just a few streets apart.

 

 

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Last modified: June 17, 2004
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