Shannon here: Tara Johnson shares insight into her real-life romance, plus a chance to win a copy of her latest Historical Romance, All Through the Night. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing. Deadline: Aug 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Tara:
Finding the Laughter: Honeymoon Horrors
We were finally on our way.
After a day filled with mishaps, a forgotten license, and a fire during our wedding ceremony, my new husband and I were finally zooming toward our honeymoon. With very little money in our pockets, we chose to spend the week in Branson, Missouri. My husband had rented a private condo on Table Rock Lake and we had a full week of schedule-free adventures.
We had only gotten an hour into the four-hour drive when our car made a strange grinding sound. Todd frowned. “That doesn’t sound right.”
“We’re driving through some pretty steep hills. Is it the brakes?”
He shook his head, his scowl intensifying. “No, not the brakes. Something else. I think we need to stop and check the engine.” As we drove into Clinton, Arkansas, he pointed to a McDonalds. “Why don’t we stop here? I’ll check the car and you can get us some food.”
Like most couples on their wedding day, we had eaten very little, save for a slice of our wedding cake. “Okay, sounds good.” I lifted a quick prayer that nothing major was going on with our car and scooted inside to buy burgers and fries while Todd lifted the hood of the engine.
When I emerged with our sacked meal, Todd was leaning over the hood alongside a man with greasy overalls and a massive beard.
The fellow spit a stream of tobacco juice out the side of his mouth and pointed. “See that there? Yeah, your transmission’s fallin’ apart.” He scratched his big belly. “Need to get it fixed ASAP. Don’t think it’ll hold out much longer.”
Todd rubbed the back of his neck. “We’re just driving through, trying to get to our honeymoon. Do you know anyone who can fix it?”
The stranger stroked his bushy beard. “There’s a transmission place just up the road. Too late in the day now though. Reckon you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to take it in.” His gaze swung to mine and he grinned, revealing wide gaping holes where his teeth should be. “Heck of a way to start your honeymoon, ain’t it?”
Todd groaned and we thanked our overall-clad, toothless angel. As we slid back into the car, I braved a glance at my new husband. He was grinding his jaw.
“So, what’s the plan?”
“I can’t drive it much farther. I guess we need to find a hotel for the night and try to get the car into a shop tomorrow.”
He shrugged. “Nothing can be done about it.”
“Where will we stay?”
“I have no idea.” We glanced around the landscape, finally spotting a Days Inn perched high on top of a massive hill. “I guess the Days Inn.”
I cringed. “Can the car make it?”
“I have no idea.”
I shuddered at the thought of us breaking down on a steep incline. I held my breath and offered up another prayer as we ascended the climb. Gears grated and crunched. The engine squealed. When we finally reached the top, we both released a pent-up breath.
Todd smiled. “We made it.”
He turned off the ignition and a loud pop burst from under the hood. The stench of…gasoline? Oil? We weren’t sure what flooded the air.
“Um, Todd…” I looked out the window as the Days Inn parking lot slowly filled with fluid. “Is that coming from our car?”
He jumped out and bellowed. “Good grief! It’s transmission fluid. The whole thing just busted!”
There we were, our honeymoon night, in a smoky hotel on top of a mountain with no way to come or go. We trudged inside and Todd made a barrage of phone calls. To parents. To transmission shops. To tow trucks. He was on the phone for hours.
When he finally finished, he rubbed his hands over his face. “Hey, did you get food at McDonalds?”
I held the bag out to him, now hours old. He crammed a fry in his mouth and cringed. “Great. That’s just great. Our wedding caught the church on fire, our car breaks down on the way to the honeymoon, and now even my food is cold!” He looked up, eyes tired. “You know, if it weren’t for the fact we got married, I would say this is the worst day of my life.”
I stared. Then we burst into laughter.
They say to plan for something to go wrong during your wedding. I didn’t think that meant everything. Who knew our honeymoon would involve cold Mickey D’s, a guardian angel with no teeth, and a busted transmission?
But the good news is, we found our sense of humor quickly and we’ve learned it has salvaged a lot of messes over the years.
Always find the laughter.
About Tara: Tara Johnson is an author and speaker, and loves to write stories that help people break free from the lies they believe about themselves.
Tara’s debut novel Engraved on the Heart (Tyndale) earned a starred review from Publishers Weekly, and was a finalist in the Carol and Christy awards. In addition to being published in a variety of digital and print magazines, she has been a featured guest on Voice of Truth radio, Enduring Word radio, television, and podcasts. She is a history nerd, especially the Civil War, and adores making people laugh. She, her husband, and children live in Arkansas. Learn more & connect:
About the book – All Through the Night:
With her stammering tongue and quiet ways, Cadence Piper has always struggled to be accepted. After the death of her mother, Cadence sets her heart on becoming a nurse, both to erase the stain her brother has left on the family’s honor and to find long-sought approval in the eyes of her father. When Dorothea Dix turns her away due to her young age and pretty face, Cadence finds another way to serve . . . singing to the soldiers in Judiciary Square Hospital. Only one stubborn doctor stands in her way.
Joshua Ivy is an intense man with a compassionate heart for the hurting and downtrodden. The one thing he can’t have is an idealistic woman destroying the plans he’s so carefully laid. When the chaos of war thrusts Cadence into the middle of his clandestine activities, he must decide if the lives at stake, and his own heart, are worth the risk of letting Cadence inside.
Everything changes when Joshua and Cadence unearth the workings of a secret society so vile, the course of their lives, and the war, could be altered forever. If they fight an enemy they cannot see, will the One who sees all show them the way in the darkest night?
Can’t wait for the drawing? Worried you won’t win? Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: Did you have any mishaps at your wedding or an important event? How have you learned to find the laughter through the years?
Come back Aug 6th for Mary Ellis!