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A Wedding Story: A Marriage and a Honeymoon, Boys!

By Caleb Regan, Managing Editor


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A photo of the author, Caleb ReganI happened to look at my last blog post yesterday and noticed October 25 was my last post. For the GRIT community, there is much I want to share with you, mostly photos that tell a wedding story that I'll fondly recall for the rest of my life.

Between the bachelor’s party, taking over a week off to get married, and then returning in the thick of the deadline for GRIT’s 2011 Guide to Backyard Chickens and our March/April issue (one of my favorites, ever), I have much to catch the GRIT community up on. And I have video of the whitetail doe that I shot back in November, which I’ll get on the GRIT site in the coming days. But first I have to tell you about events surrounding Gwen and my wedding.

First, there's the bachelor's party. A group of my best friends and I went pheasant hunting near Pratt, Kansas. We bagged around two dozen birds for the trip, but it was just as much about enjoying each other's company as it was about the hunting, although pheasant hunting and bird hunting in general are loves of mine that hearken me back to my childhood days, following my Uncle Fred and brother Josh with a BB-gun, until I was old enough to read, take the Hunter's Safety course, and carry a gun of my own – a rite of passage, if you will.

Some guys might opt for the casinos, clubs, or whatever else you can imagine on their last trip as a single man, but I'll take great friends and chasing wildlife – in this case ring-neck pheasant roosters – any day of the week.

Great Friends and Pheasant Roosters 

Then, on December 18, I married the love of my life, and we took off for our honeymoon in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area the following day. The rehearsal dinner hog was succulent, the wedding was smooth, and the celebration was as fun and special as anything I've ever been a part of. As I type this I'm really trying to single out a better day out of all those in my life. The birth of my niece/goddaughter comes close, there's been a couple good hunts or fishing trips that rank up there, my Jayhawks winning the 2008 national basketball championship was awesome, riding a wave for the first time was worth every thrashing I took, and there's nothing I like better than Sunday drives through the countryside with Gwen. But nothing comes close to that day up to this point. Beginning to end, it was the best day of my life, hands down. 

As soon as I can, I'll share some professional photographs, I hope. Until then this is as good as I can do.

Caleb and Gwen Regan 

She was beautiful.

But enough of the romantic. We headed off on our honeymoon the following day, to warm weather and a carefree existence.

Thanks to Gwen's relatives, we stayed at the hotel you see behind us, right by The Pier in St. Pete. We're standing on top of The Pier in this photograph.

Atop the Pier 

Here's a look at the road to The Pier, so you can get a feeling for the distance off the mainland. It provided a cool expanse of calm sea viewable from atop The Pier.

Road to The Pier 

Then we were provided, again because of the generosity of Gwen's family, front-row seats to the Tampa Bay Lightning game, of the NHL. We were center ice, front row, got served free prime rib (or about anything else you wanted, but I was all over the prime rib) and free drinks.

Front Row at Lightening Game 

The guys behind us quickly knew we weren't regulars in these seats, and generously informed us we shouldn't put our drinks on the boards by the glass or we'd end up with a wet lap.

Hockey Game 

I don't know a lot about hockey – like most unknowledgeable fans, I get up mostly for the fighting and the hits – but watching these guys skate was something else. They go at it as hard as possible, then come to the bench pouring sweat, blood, or maybe a little of both. What incredible athletes, and what a spectacle to see it at the epicenter.

Faceoff 

The next day, I got to go golfing. In late December. I played with a guy from Annapolis, Maryland, and we had a good time. He smoked me – I'm not good – but it was a beautiful course, we enjoyed the sunshine, and Gwen had a great time driving the cart and being my swing coach. Unfortunately, she can't swing a club because of a back injury suffered in a car accident, but between a couple of Coronas and watching me come out of my shoes trying to hit the ball a country mile, I think we both enjoyed the day. One thing is for sure, I'd had enough of the sand and water, and we hadn't even been to the beach yet.

Golf Course 

That night, I had fondu for the first time at The Melting Pot. It was a long way from a Kansas beef ribeye or whitetail backstrap, but it was good. I love this picture:

The Melting Pot 

After that, we went back to the hotel stuffed, and that night I booked a couple of seats for us on a deep-sea fishing excursion, a half-day trip 12 miles out off the coast. It was one of the things we were looking forward to most on the trip, we both love the outdoors and fishing is a common love we share. We got there the next morning, split a sea-sickness pill, and got extremely excited as we noticed our boat was packed with people because the previous day this boat unloaded passengers carrying stringer-fulls of fish. By the time we started heading out to sea, I think we both had high hopes.

Gwen aboard the boat, headed out to sea. 

I was mentally preparing myself to fight a marlin and have a battle reminiscent of one of my favorite books, The Old Man and the Sea, by Ernest Hemingway. I might hook anything out here.

Ready to catch a marlin. 

We both got so sea sick. Phew. I managed to stick it out and fish, mostly because of the determination to get my money's worth, but it was rough. Before we even got to the first spot, it was significantly colder than on the coast (as you would expect), and the sea was so choppy passengers had to go in the cabin for the ride out, or get splashed and drenched, and become freezing cold. Once I got up to make my way outside to where our poles where, kids were hanging over trash cans, Gwen was just trying to stare at points on the horizon, and I was feeling queasy.

I managed to catch two fish that day, a Porgy and a Grey Snapper, both keepers that I declined to keep after that was all either one of us caught. My new bride, bless her heart, sat in the cabin most of the time, watching me and staring at that horizon. The fish weren't biting (the most anyone caught was 3, to my knowledge), it was cold and wet, with a rough sea and contant spray from the ocean; it just wasn't our day. I've sat in trees with snow not able to feel fingers and toes, but sea-sickness compounds everything else and is just miserable. 

Still, I'd do it again. When I fish farm ponds and rivers, for the most part, I know what's on the line after a second or two, and that's a great feeling. Not having any idea of what might be on the end of your line, that was something different altogether, a new type of anticipation and excitement. We were fishing with chunks of squid that day.

Small Little Porgy 

Some quality food and fellowship on Christmas Eve with family, Gwen's Aunt, Uncle and cousins who live in St. Petersburg, and we recuperated all right. Hanging with family really made it feel a whole lot more like Christmas.

Other things we did included going to the Salvador Dali museum (it was awesome, even to a more literary-inclined guy), visiting Clearwater Beach on two occasions (one of them on Christmas day) and enjoying the upper-60s weather we were lucky to encounter.

Calm Sea 

And eating some delicious fresh seafood. Here Gwen went for the King Crab, it was awesome, and I opted for the house special of an oyster pasta with a marsala sauce, if I recall correctly. We also went for a delicious serving of fresh calamari.

King Crab and Oyster Pasta 

And here are a few images of our Christmas day:

Clearwater Beach 

Christmas Day on the Beach 

I don't think anyone out there enjoyed the day or each other more than we did. It was a little cold though. The sun revealed itself for short intervals, but clouds covered for most of the day. Just as the sun was going down, we got a light sprinkle, and it was cool. I didn't throw myself into the ocean on Christmas day, but I did a couple of days earlier. It was freezing, and I came back out on a dead run watching Gwen laugh almost uncontrollably, but sometimes you just have to throw yourself into the ocean.

Cool Sunset 

The day we were leaving St. Pete, a cold snap hit. We'd hit it just right. I'm the luckiest guy in the world.

 Gwendolyn and Her Sunset 


Caleb Regan and his wife, Gwen, live in rural Douglas County, Kansas, where they enjoy hunting, fishing, and raising and growing as much of their own food as they can. Caleb can’t imagine a better scenario than getting to work on a rural lifestyle magazine as a profession, and then living that same lifestyle right in the heartland of America. Connect with him on .

chuck mallory
2/26/2011 8:58:06 AM

Congrats! What a great story and beautiful photographs. I'm glad you got to enjoy some of that great seafood they serve in Florida. Best wishes to both of you for a wonderful life together.


paul gardener
2/25/2011 1:54:35 PM

Caleb, Congratulations! I looks like you guys had a great time. I remember going on a deep sea fishing boat once as a kid... I emphasize ONCE. Oh man I was so sick. I can empathize with you on that one. Glad you had a great trip, and glad to see you back on the blog. Best wishes! Paul~


oz girl
2/2/2011 6:01:22 PM

Congrats to you and Gwen, Caleb! :-) What a beautiful story and so refreshing to read it from the guy's perspective. I rather envy the Florida trip, esp in light of the last few days around these parts... it sounds like it was definitely the perfect honeymoon!! Wishing you both every simple pleasure that your married life can bring your way.


cregan
2/1/2011 8:52:26 AM

Dave - Thanks so much for your prayers and well-wishes. We can only hope to look back on it with the same fondness as you do several years down the road. Cindy - Thanks so much for your wishes. Hank - I'm confident I would have at least had a little better luck had I been able to stomach some lucky chewing tobacco! Gwen was such a trooper, I would have done anything to help her feel better, but that's the cruddy part of it, you can't do anything but take it. There was no medication on board, and the pills we took beforehand just made us tired, so it was a tired-sick feeling. Uhhh. I'm glad to be back and settled back in to the normal routine. Thanks for the kind words. K.C. - Thanks so much for your blessings and kind words. I can't think of a better community for this blog post than the GRIT community. Roby and Teresa - Thanks! I saw your names and it brought a smile to my face. Love and miss you guys.


roby-teresa
1/31/2011 7:36:04 PM

Caleb and Gwen, What a wonderful story and what beautiful pictures. May God bless you with a long and happy marriage. Love, Roby and Teresa


k.c. compton
1/31/2011 3:37:08 PM

Caleb-- Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. We've kind of been passing each other coming and going since you got back and I knew it had been a great experience for you. Just didn't know how great. You and Gwen look so wonderful together. Blessings to both of you in your lives as Mr. and Mrs. --KC


hank will_2
1/31/2011 8:37:07 AM

Wonderful story, Caleb. I'm glad you were up to alot of good during your blog absence. :-) You and Gewn look as awesome together in photos as you are in real life. I am totaly sympathetic on the sea sickness. I have experienced it several times -- most recently while fishing in the ocean. I'd do just about anything to avoid that feeling again. Good for you guys for sticking it out though. And even 60 degree blustery weather in Florida is a nice change from freezing windy winter days in Kansas. Thanks for sharing all of this.


cindy murphy
1/29/2011 9:15:30 AM

Congratulations to you and your beautiful bride! Wishing you both a lifetime filled with moments as beautiful as that special day.


nebraska dave
1/29/2011 8:05:33 AM

@Caleb, thank you for sharing the best day of your life and the leading up to and after that special day. It will indeed have specail meaning and memories the rest of your life and be celebrated even more than birthdays. It's still a memoriable day in my heart and brings a smile to my face when I think about it even though my wife has been gone for going on ten years. I know what you mean about sea sickness. My experience on the Atlantic Ocean fishing left me a little queasy but not full fledged sick. We were fishing in 10 foot swells which is not waves but just like going over a midwest hill real fast and having that pit of the stomach feeling as you go over the top of the hill. After a couple hours of heaving up and down it kind began to get to me. Caleb I hope and pray that you and Gwen have many decades of building memories together. May you be blessed with children that make your lives complete. May the household you live in be filled with love and peace all the days of your lives. Have a great married day.