I flew up to Atlanta on Wednesday to spend time with other friends before the ceremony, and also because I could since I only have classes on Tuesdays.
Saturday morning, a group of us piled into the car en route to Washington, Georgia, a town of very few people, midway between Augusta and Athens. The bride, my "panhellenic" big sister (meaning, she wasn't in my sorority, but she took Freshman me under her wing, and we've been close ever since) had often told me she grew up in the country, but I'd never quite realized...well....how country.
There are four of us in the car, all from our undergrad. Sonya, my best friend and host for the weekend, Marla my actual sorority little sister and Bryan, a guy who everyone from school except Marla and I knew. (This? doesn't make much of a difference at my undergrad. Thursday, a girl I'd never met recognized me after she sat down at a table near me at a cafe this week and immediately we bonded over the quirks of our university).
We hit the highway, already almost-late. Speeding on 85 is expected anyway. We were fine.
Then we turned on to GA-316.
This? Made me look up the definition of the word "highway" APPARENTLY it is only a "main road for vehicles" which 316 may satisfy, if you squint. In my opinion, two lanes and exits at traffic lights isn't a highway. It's a road, surrounded by cows and some very sketchy gas stations. But, whatever, we cruised down it, making our way to Washington. We turned onto Highway 78, which the address on the invitation gave as the street name for the church.
And then the GPS said "You have reached your destination."
At an intersection.
Nary a church in sight.
We kept going. Marla yelled "Church!" every few minutes, but never the right church. This is the south.
At a gas station, Bryan asked for directions. They directed us back to the intersection. We drove past a (the?) high school and an empty-seeming downtown. We were all pretty sure the church didn't exist. I thought we might be entering horror-movie territory and felt rather nervous as, unless you're in Joss Whedonia, The Blonde always dies first.
Our friends, who had arrived slightly-less-late than us, informed us that the wedding had ended. So we decided to go onto the reception. We plugged Country Club Road into the GPS and set off.
At one point, the arrow on the GPS spun around and pointed back at us.
We soon approached Country Club Road (CCR, if you will). We missed the turn initially, but on the second go discovered....
An abandoned old country club and a few power lines blocking a dirt road.
City girl that I am, I took out my iPhone to google an alternative address. The phone couldn't take the lack of civilization.
Sonya called our other friends. They told her the country club would be easy to find.....
It was just past the church.
She shrieked and hung up on them.
(At this point, three days later, I'm still not sure that church exists. We NEVER saw it)
Eventually, after passing umpteen million "Welcome to Washington!" and "You are now leaving Washington!" signs as we circled the postage-stamp sized town, we made our way back to downtown. Sonya got out to ask for directions.
The woman who helped her saw her dress and exclaimed, "Oh! Y'all must be going to the reception!"
THE reception. The only event in town. Again, in the movies when it is the only event in a small southern town, you'd better not drink the kool-aid.
Her directions of right at the McDonald's, then another left, then pray to God and do a rain dance worked perfectly. We arrived at the reception before the bride and groom (though not long before).
And believe you me, we drank PLENTY of the kool-aid. Still, all too soon, it was time to begin the journey home....
The adventure had barely begun.
(For the record? The moral of this story is When you are driving around Nowhere, Georgia, put the name of the location into the GPS, not the address. There is more than one Country Club Road.
But no church. Ever.