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Another wedding, more great times

I’ve returned from North Carolina, y’all, with a belly full of sweet tea and fried chicken and another wedding for the books.
This was like the hundredth wedding I’ve had in the past three years, but one of few I wasn’t actually in. It was a true southern experience and one of my favorite weddings to date.
One of my best friends from high school, Michael, was getting married, and I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Charlotte, N.C., this past weekend to help celebrate his and Lauren’s nuptials without having to purchase a bridesmaid dress.
Many people asked why I was even going as I wasn’t in the wedding. Well, for one, I love traveling, so I’ll jump at the chance to fly for a weekend; and, two, I love being there to support my friends.
Michael and I have been great friends since high school, even though he is the instigator of one of the most embarrassing moments in my life.
During my senior year in high school, we had Spanish class together and sat side by side so we could partner up during group lessons and most likely goof off when we should have been paying attention.
I remembering standing up to hand in an assignment to our teacher, Señor Bjork, and as I was about to sit back down, Michael pulled the chair out from under me and I crashed hard to the ground.
The class burst out laughing, and I heard, “Sit much, Schauer?” I quickly cursed Michael before burying my head into the open Spanish book on my desk to hide my embarrassment and, being a sensitive high school girl, I sobbed into the book and refrained from looking up at anybody.
Then Señor Bjork told the class, “Shh, she’s reading,” and I started to laugh into pages 112 and 113 before lifting my head and showing the class my mascara-streaked face and runny nose.
In high school, there’s nothing worse than falling in front of your peers and then crying in front of them.
Double whammy.
But despite my anger with Michael, it was then I learned the importance of laughing at yourself and not taking life too seriously. And our friendship through the years has been based on just that.
Michael moved to Knoxville a few years ago, and I get to see him about once a year during New Year’s when the rest of our friends and family get together to play games and eat holiday appetizers, or for weddings, like when our other best friend, Brady, got married to Abri last September in Ohio.
Brady, Michael and I were a solid trio in school and we frequently raised cain spying on our other friends and pulling pranks. Their families became my families and vice versa. It’s as if I inherited two more brothers.
Fortunately, we’ve all remained close throughout the last 12 years despite the thousands of miles between us, and it was a great reunion when Brady and Abri flew in from Portland, Ore., and my brother, Mitch, and I flew in from Minnesota to join Michael and Lauren for their wedding in North Carolina.
The ceremony was gorgeous: it was held outside, under the bright, November sun, next to the colorful autumn woods of tall oak and maple trees among acres of white cotton fields in the rolling hills of the Carolina countryside.
There was a buffet of barbecued pulled pork, zesty cole slaw, savory baked beans, chunky potato salad, coconut cream cake and unlimited sweet tea.
We burned off the calories dancing the night away before sending Michael and Lauren off down the stone walkway edged with our blazing sparklers.
For me, there’s nothing better than traveling with the people you love, spending a weekend sharing silly memories, future travel plans, new job prospects and enough laughs to make you fall out of your chair.