A good number of the family live in Tennessee. They moved from the “north” and made their homes in rural Tennessee amongst big trees and open fields and streams and a variety of shades of green and gorgeous hills. The roads are windy and trucks and cars drive slowly and everyone waves at everyone.

Last summer my great-niece sent me a wedding invite, the wedding was planned for the fall at a small country church with the reception being held after in a nearby barn.

I was thrilled with the invite and even more thrilled that I could attend.

Flights were arranged and a VRBO reserved and a large pick-up rented, I mean really when in Vegas or maybe Tennessee……The pick-up had huge tires, dark gray paint, and an extended bed a perfect status vehicle to be sure I fit right in.

Because I had never been where I was going I would be lying if I said I didn’t have a few worries. The first of which was would espresso coffee be available anywhere near, and will I understand the other wedding guests southern talk and if I get lost in the hills will the navigation still transmit on the truck?

Basically, though my main concern was will I represent my family in the way and light my great-niece would be proud of.

With these thoughts, I arrive at the church, found a parking spot next to a line of other trucks, walked in the front doors with a touch of nervousness, and found my seat. Nieces and nephews I hadn’t seen in months came up to hug and say hi. The sanctuary was beautifully arranged with comfortable seating and filled with a person in every seat. Truly it was the people that drew me in, except for family all the other wedding guests were complete strangers and yet they treated me like I was a friend. Nodding heads and open faces welcomed me.

Immediately after the service, we moved the wedding celebration to the barn next door. The barn wasn’t polished or spit-shined or painted white, but warm and happy and inviting and lovely and decorated for a wedding party. Guests were milling around everywhere and after dinner was served the music began. This family is musically talented so obviously so that the family musicians lined up to pay tribute and perform for their beautiful niece in celebration of her wedding day. Dancing came next with young and old breaking a leg on the floor. How refreshing to be in this barn dancing to the beat and feeling the love and acceptance and joy of so many people it felt like a collective joy.

The night got old and the party ended, I returned home and a few months later I received a thank you card from my great-niece. The card was a printed message with an added thoughtful and kind handwritten note on the back.

Her note laid to rest my concern about representing the family in a way that would make her proud. I am grateful.




The best part of me shows up in my writing about business ownership, leadership, family, personal relationships, travel and what I learn from human interaction.

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Marleen Geyen

Marleen Geyen

The best part of me shows up in my writing about business ownership, leadership, family, personal relationships, travel and what I learn from human interaction.

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