Holidays should be fun, but sometimes… well, here’s Karen’s story.
The Thanksgiving that Almost Wasn’t
by Karen McCullough
Three years ago, my youngest daughter was married on November 20th, which was the Saturday before Thanksgiving that year. Weddings are always memorable and this one was no exception. Sarah was a beautiful bride and her new husband a very proud groom. The weather was perfect. It was one of those rare, mild days that sometimes happens in late fall in North Carolina. The whole thing went off without a hitch. The day was perfect.
Well, almost. We didn’t find out just how not-perfect it was until the next day when the bride, and about two-thirds of the other people who’d been at the wedding woke up horribly sick. I was fortunate that I wasn’t, but my husband, older daughter, the bridesmaids, groomsmen, and a lot of others were all miserably nauseated. Fortunately, it only lasted about 24 hours, but it seemed a lot longer to them.
We initially suspected food poisoning, but later events suggested it was actually a fast-moving and nasty virus. (We’ll get to that.)
The bride was so sick that by nightfall she was at the hospital and spent most of the night there getting intravenous fluids. The doctor who cared for her was the first to suggest a virus was the likely culprit. Sadly the honeymoon had to be cancelled. There were a few bright spots, however.
Because their flight wasn’t until Monday, the newlyweds had booked a room at a local Bed and Breakfast for the night. Fortunately for them, the B&B wasn’t crowded so the proprietors let them stay when it was clear the new bride was in no shape for a long airplane flight. They were extremely nice and accommodating, even bringing them tea, toast, and sodas.
Meanwhile, the sick people recovered and we thought we were beyond it, when a second wave hit. The groom, myself, my son, and most of the others who hadn’t gotten sick initially were all ill by Wednesday. Oddly, none of us were as drastically sick as the first wave of people had been, but it was still no fun at all. It was that second wave that convinced everyone it had been a virus.
And though I was over the worst of it by Thursday morning, the last thing I felt up to doing was cooking a big Thanksgiving feast. I had to tell everyone I couldn’t do dinner. But both daughters were fully recovered by then and since the new bride hadn’t managed to get away for the honeymoon, the girls got together and cooked up a nice dinner for all us. Some of us, myself included, weren’t really eating normally yet, but I managed a bite or two of everything.
And because we weren’t sure Thanksgiving would even happen that year, we were particularly grateful when it did. And despite all the illness, we felt very blessed by the lovely wedding and the unexpected presence of the bride and new son-in-law at the Thanksgiving feast.
Karen McCullough is a web designer by profession, and the author of a dozen published novels and novellas in the mystery, romantic suspense, and fantasy genres as well. She has won numerous awards, including an Eppie Award for fantasy, and has also been a four-time Eppie finalist, and a finalist in the Prism, Dream Realm, Rising Star, Lories, Scarlett Letter, and Vixen Awards contests. Her short fiction has appeared in several anthologies and numerous small press publications in the fantasy, science fiction, and romance genres. She has three children, four grandchildren and lives in Greensboro, NC, with her husband of many years. She’s released two short Halloween/Fall related stories this past month, and her Christmas Vampire story — “A Vampire’s Christmas Carol” — is now available.