My Wedding Week Thursday Rundown

Three weeks ago I noted that I was writing my last Thursday Rundown as a bachelor. Well today I get to write my first Thursday Rundown as a married man. However, tonight’s rundown is a bit different. This evening I will be touching on five topics/events related to my wedding week that I didn’t write about for feature posts. Here we go…

Golf With Dad and Brother – A big reason why I took up golf so fervently over the past several months was because I wanted to play with my family when they came to Myrtle Beach for the wedding. On the Tuesday before the big day, I took Glen and my dad to Coastal Carolina University. We looked around campus and then I took them to our institution’s golf course, Hackler. We played nine holes on a gorgeous late afternoon. It was so nice hitting the links with them and showing off my game. I had a fabulous time…even if my brother won.

Hanging out on the golf course.

Hanging out on the golf course.

Charleston Trip – On that Wednesday, I got to take my family to an historic Southern city. Early in the morning we departed Myrtle Beach for Charleston so we could pick up my brother’s girlfriend, Ashley, from the airport. Once we arrived and got Ashley in the car, we headed to downtown Charleston. It was a hot day but we got some sightseeing in. We looked through the art in the park, toured a church, and shopped at the market. We couldn’t spend too much time in Charleston so after we ate lunch we headed back to Myrtle Beach. I know my family enjoyed exploring a new city.

Look closely and you can see my dad. It was a hot day in Charleston!

Look closely and you can see my dad. It was a hot day in Charleston!

Bachelor Party! – I wanted a low key, relaxing bachelor party. Thankfully, my father-in-law was more than happy to help out. On Thursday, after all my groomsmen had arrived, we went cruising on the Intracoastal Waterway. Mr. Sid was gracious enough to take us all out on his boat. As the sun beat down on us, he took us up and down the unique body of water as we enjoyed some adult refreshments. We made a stop at the Boathouse for lunch, a popular restaurant right on the water. We ate, drank, and played corn hole. We arrived back on solid ground in plenty of time for that night’s festivities.

I got exactly what I wanted out of my bachelor party.

I got exactly what I wanted out of my bachelor party.

Wedding Weekend Kickoff BBQ – When I said we finished the bachelor party in plenty of time for “that night’s festivities” I was speaking of the BBQ held a few hours later. Sidney’s sisters organized an opportunity for the two families to get together right before the big wedding weekend was set to start. The party was held at the brand new house of Sidney’s sister, Steph. The function started with a professional photographer on hand to take family portraits. After the photo ops, everyone moved to Steph’s living room/kitchen and backyard. It was a fun and chill evening as the two families got to know one another. On the menu was my all-time favorite Southern dish, chicken bog! My west coast family and friends now like it as much as I do. My dad was impressed and humbled that Sidney’s family had stocked one of the coolers with PBR bottles, his favorite.

At the BBQ, us groomsmen put on the shirts that my brother had made.

At the BBQ, us groomsmen put on the shirts that my brother had made.

The Proposal – What an awful person I would be if I didn’t mention the moment that set all the other events above in motion. A year ago on this date, I asked Sidney to marry me on the MarshWalk in Murrells Inlet. She said yes, thus starting a wonderful engagement that has led to our marriage. As Sidney and I lay in bed tonight we will no doubt think back to that special evening 12 months ago.

That magic moment.

That magic moment.

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Hope you didn’t suffer too much over the past couple weeks with no Thursday Rundown. Have a great night and enjoy your Friday. Don’t Blink.

The #SidAndBrent Wedding

Quick story. The sweetest part of our wedding day for me was when my brother, dad, and cousin came over that morning. Glen handed me a tiny gift bag. He told me it was from Sidney. Knowing it would be best to open in private, I went upstairs to see what it was. Sidney had written me a heartfelt note and knitted a handkerchief with a special message. It was a beautiful gesture and set the day off perfectly.

I will keep the note private but this was the handkerchief Sid gave to me the morning of the wedding.

I will keep the note private but this was the handkerchief Sid gave to me the morning of the wedding.

Now that I got that emotional moment off my chest, let me back up just a little bit. I woke up at our house at 7 a.m. Sidney had stayed the night at her parents. It was important to both of us that we didn’t see each other until she walked down the aisle a little after 1 p.m. that afternoon. I spent the next few hours packing for the honeymoon, writing in my journal, and just gathering myself.

I also spent time tweeting. I know this tweet is CORNY but it is how we felt. We were engaged for a year and really looked forward to this day. At the same time, most people look forward their whole lives to that day they finally get to tie the knot.

I also spent time tweeting. I know this tweet is CORNY but it is how we felt. We were engaged for a year and really looked forward to this day. At the same time, most people look forward their whole lives to that day they finally get to tie the knot.

It was at 10 a.m. when the guys came over. My brother was my best man, my cousin was a groomsman, and my dad also had a tux to match us. Kenny, another groomsman, was already with me as he stayed at our house. On the way over, my family had picked up breakfast from Bojangles. So before we started to jump into our tuxedos we all scarfed down chicken fillet biscuits. My west coast fellas couldn’t believe how good they were.

I was pretty dressed down that morning as you can see. This is me eating my chicken biscuit and Botato rounds from Bojangles.

I was pretty dressed down that morning as you can see. This is me eating my chicken biscuit and Botato rounds from Bojangles.

With breakfast completed, I hit the shower. I then got dressed with my dad helping every step of the way. He pulled my tie straight, helped me with my cuffs, and opened up the jacket for me to slip into. With my best man, my groomsmen, and myself ready to go, my dad jumped in the shower and then into his suit. There now wasn’t anything left to do except go to the site of the wedding. A little bit before noon, we piled into a rental car and made the drive to St. Andrew Catholic Church.

My dad giving me a hand with my tie.

My dad giving me a hand with my tie (photo credit to Glen).

Once inside the church we hung out for about 20 minutes. We took some photos, tested out the geofilter, and talked amongst ourselves. Guests started to show up. Our priest, Father James LeBlanc, appeared from the front of the church and walked to the back to greet me. Word spread that the bride and her bridesmaids had arrived. My groomsmen started to escort guest to their seats. We were now only about 20 minutes away from show time!

Right when I got in St. Andrew Catholic Church I tested out our own special geofilter. It worked!

Right when I got in St. Andrew Catholic Church I tested out our own special geofilter. It worked!

For the month leading up to the wedding, I fielded the “Are you nervous yet?” question over and over. Each time I said no. A couple minutes before the service started I felt the same way. Although I had to work hard to keep my emotions in check, I never had strong nerves.

This photo clearly shows I wasn't nervous, I was just focused (photo credit to Jay).

This photo clearly shows I wasn’t nervous, I was just focused (photo credit to Jay).

It was time. The organist played Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring and I walked my mom down the aisle to her seat. My brother-in-law then walked my mother-in-law down the aisle to her seat. With my mom and Brenda in their pews, it was time for the procession.

This was my beautiful bride in the bridal area of the church just a few minutes before she walked down the aisle (photo credit to Stephanie).

This was my beautiful bride in the bridal area of the church just a few minutes before she walked down the aisle (photo credit to Stephanie).

I walked behind Father LeBlanc to the altar. When we arrived he shook my hand. I stood off to the side and watched as my groomsmen made it to the front of the church. Then came Russel and Harrison, our flower girl and ring bearer. Following them were four beautiful women, Sidney’s bridesmaids (my sister, both of Sidney’s sisters, and Sidney’s best friend). With everyone now in their places except for the most important person, the time had arrived for the best moment of any wedding.

Sidney appeared at the start of the aisle looking breathtakingly gorgeous. With her dad to her right they started to walk toward me. St. Andrew has a looooooong aisle so it took a minute for them to reach the point of no return. When they arrived at the fourth pew from the front, Fr. LeBlanc nudged me to go get her. I walked to Mr. Sid (Sidney is named after her dad) and gave him a handshake followed by a hug. He then took Sidney’s hand and placed it in mine. Sid and I then walked to the front of the altar where Fr. LeBlanc stood before us.

Hallelujah! We had made it this far!

Fr. LeBlanc started the service, greeted the congregation, and said the opening prayers. Sid and I then walked up onto the altar and sat in our two chairs right next to Fr. LeBlanc. Just like at a regular Catholic mass, two readings are said at a Catholic wedding service. A relative of Sidney’s, Ed Galloway, gave the first reading. Before he read from the book of Genesis he spoke a few eloquent words about the Mathis family. After Ed spoke and did the reading, the responsorial psalm was performed. Then one half of our sponsor couple, the same man who said the blessing at our rehearsal dinner, Tim McCormick, gave the second reading. Call us cliché, but Sidney and I went with the standard “Love is patient, love is kind…” passage from 1 Corinthians.

The proclamation of the gospel and the delivery of the homily was done by Fr. LeBlanc. Looking over at us as he talked, Father stressed that it wasn’t him administering the Holy Sacrament of Marriage. Rather, it was Sidney and I. It was such a powerful way of saying that the two of us, along with God, held the power for a long and successful marriage.

Suddenly Father LeBlanc switched the tone of his voice, looked at us again, and asked, “Are you ready to do this?!”

Before we knew it, Sid and I were once again up in front of the altar. Although this time our eyes were locked and we were standing directly across from each other so the congregation could see us 100% as opposed to our backs being to everyone. My brother was standing on my side and Sidney’s sisters were standing on her side. At this point, we went off script just a little…

Sidney and I just about to say our vows (photo credit to Bill Plate).

Sidney and I just about to say our vows (photo credit to Bill Plate).

As part of his best man duties, it was rehearsed that Glen would present the rings. However, Fr. LeBlanc had a better idea. He asked Harrison, our three-year-old ring bearer nephew, to do the honors. Now it would have been totally understandable if Harrison got scared or froze during this very unpredictable time; but he didn’t. Harrison took the plate that the rings rested on while Fr. LeBlanc sprinkled them with holy water. He then let Harrison bring the plate to us so we could take our rings and say our vows. The little guy did a masterful job. Word is still out on whether my brother has forgiven Harrison for stealing his most important job.

We spoke our vows with sincerity and conviction to each other. We could feel the Holy Spirit within us. Fr. LeBlanc talked about how we were now one. He then gave a blessing over us and that was it…WE WERE MARRIED!

Sidney and I right after we signed our marriage license.

Sidney and I right after we signed our marriage license.

Ode to Joy started to play and Sidney and I shared a kiss. We then walked back up the aisle. I had successfully held in my emotions for the entirety of the service but once we hit the vestibule of the church a few tears flowed. We were congratulated by family and friends but we couldn’t bask in that glory long. We had to go back down to the altar and sign our wedding papers. The photographer then took some photos of us and that sealed it. Our business at the church, very important business might I add, was finished. It was time for Mr. and Mrs. Reser to head to the reception. Don’t Blink.

* A blog post centering on the reception will come soon. Professional photos were taken at the wedding but not used for this post.

Inside Our Rehearsal Dinner

In preparing to get married, one of the toughest things we had to do was decide on where we wanted to hold our rehearsal dinner. Although Myrtle Beach is home to hundreds of restaurants, we had a rough time selecting that perfect place.

We ended up deciding on a location about four months out. Our choice was Thoroughbreds, a fine dining establishment specializing in steak and seafood. When we went and met with the restaurant general manager and ate the food, we were very confident that we made a great selection. However, all the confidence in the world would mean nothing if the food/service didn’t satisfy on the day of our rehearsal dinner.

After we chose Thoroughbreds we went and ate dinner there to try it out. It was amazing.

After we chose Thoroughbreds we went and ate dinner there to try it out. It was amazing.

But it definitely did satisfy. Add to that the atmosphere and organization of our rehearsal dinner and it turned out to be a very successful evening. Let me just briefly explain…

On the Monday of our wedding week, my parents met with the general manager (great guy named David) at the restaurant. They went over the seating arrangement, menu, and several other details. When my parents left the meeting and met us at a bar across the street from Thoroughbreds they also seemed confident that everything was in order.

We had a party of 32. Half of this was comprised of people who participated in the actual rehearsal at the church. Because the rehearsal got out a little early, all of us in the church group arrived at Throughbreds a few minutes before the other people started arriving. This worked out great because first of all, we all needed an immediate drink. Secondly, it allowed us to be good hosts and greet and introduce our guests. There was always the possibility that the rehearsal could have went long and guests not within the church group could have shown up without anyone there.

A look at the layout of our rehearsal dinner at Thoroughbreds. It was very elegant.

A look at the layout of our rehearsal dinner at Thoroughbreds. It was very elegant (photo credit to Jay).

A nice cocktail period was held and then people started to sit down. Sidney and I sat at the head table with our parents. Four tables fit for seating of 6-7 people each shot off at different angles from the head table. We had our own private spacious room in the restaurant. Making it even better was the fact that this room was upstairs and thus completely separated from the rest of the establishment.

A couple different views of the head table for our rehearsal dinner at Throughbreds

A couple different views of the head table for our rehearsal dinner at Throughbreds

My dad called the rehearsal dinner to order. He thanked everyone for coming and then turned the floor over to Tim McCormick, the man who along with his wife, Kathy, served as the sponsor couple for Sidney and I. Tim said a few words about us and then delivered a beautiful blessing.

Sidney and I with Tim and Kathy McCormick at our rehearsal dinner. Tim gave a great blessing.

Sidney and I with Tim and Kathy McCormick at our rehearsal dinner. Tim gave a great blessing (photo credit to Glen).

It was now my dad’s time. He gave his speech that he had worked on for a couple weeks, stopping only two or three times to regain his composure as the tears came. He did a wonderful job. After he concluded, he asked if everyone in the room would stand up and introduce themselves. This is when it got really special…

My dad delivering his speech (photo credit to Glen).

My dad delivering his speech (photo credit to Glen).

People in the room just didn’t stand up real quick and say their name. Rather, each person took time to explain who they were and then spoke a little bit about Sidney and I. It was a genuine, intimate several moments. It really set the stage for a perfect rehearsal dinner.

The food started to come out. The servers brought out our individual appetizers first (all guests had the option of three different items). Then came the salad. Then came the main course! The menu was set up so you could choose between prime rib, filet mignon, crab cakes, or salmon. I opted for the prime rib and I was treated with a HUGE cut. Lastly the dessert came as we all had to decide between the difficult choice of cheesecake or chocolate cake.

A look at the prime rib dinner complete with the Snapchat geofilter we used for the rehearsal. I had it activated at the church and at Thoroughbreds.

A look at the prime rib dinner complete with the Snapchat geofilter we used for the rehearsal. I had it activated at the church and at Thoroughbreds.

In between the courses, people would get up from their tables and stroll over to another table to say hello. The trio of servers who took care of our party did a fabulous job serving drinks and making sure each different course was brought out at the perfect time. David came in a few times to make sure everything was running smoothly.

With the meal starting to conclude, Sid and I received the paparazzi treatment. As we stood in front of the head table, family members and friends gathered and started to take photos. It got pretty intense but it was fun. As we were planning our exit, several people remarked that the next time they come to Myrtle Beach they would be eating at Thoroughbreds. Beyond the food, everyone seemed to say that they had a pleasant evening helping us to celebrate our impending marriage.

A look at how different people used our geofilter at the rehearsal dinner.

A look at how different people used our geofilter at the rehearsal dinner.

Sidney and I left together; she rode with a bridesmaid up front and I rode with a groomsmen in the back. Although the stress of the next day’s wedding still loomed, a weight was lifted off our shoulders. The rehearsal dinner was a success. It was classy, memorable, and delicious. Here is a BIG THANK YOU to my parents. Don’t Blink.

Weddings Are About Family

Most of you know that I am a big family guy. Having lived in a different state from my parents and siblings since I was 18, you learn to appreciate them more. This appreciation grew even greater a couple years ago when the distance between us went from just a “different state” to a “different coast.”

Needless to say, I was beyond thrilled to welcome my family to Myrtle Beach for our wedding week. Loved ones would trickle in throughout those days. It all started when my parents and brother landed here in town on Monday morning and ended when my aunt and cousin drove in during the middle of the night on Friday after landing in Charleston.

My dad and I hanging out in the condo.

My dad and I hanging out in the condo.

My parents rented a big condo in a popular area of Myrtle Beach. Well, it seemed big on Monday. The three bedroom unit was spacious at the start of the week but by the time Friday rolled around, my parents and brother had welcomed several other people into their quarters. At its peak occupancy over the weekend, the condo had 11 people sleeping under the roof.

This was the outside of the condo building that my family stayed in.

This was the outside of the condo building that my family stayed in.

 And it was so awesome.

The place was stocked with food and drinks. A cozy patio provided a great gathering place with a perfect view. Couches and chairs provided plenty of seating inside. The condo owner had the place decorated in a way that gave it a nice beach feel. Speaking of the beach, it was just five minutes away. So was our house, Broadway at the Beach, and the church we got married at.

Some of the fine ladies who traveled to Myrtle Beach who stayed in the condo (photo credit to Jay).

Some of the fine ladies who traveled to Myrtle Beach standing in the condo (photo credit to Jay).

However, the amenities and location wasn’t the big reason why it was so spectacular. Rather, it was because we were all together. Like I said, 11 people slept there. Combine that with Sidney and I plus other visitors and that place was rocking. We watched the NBA Finals, played Phase 10, enjoyed drinks, and just hung out. It was the Reser Family Headquarters and we loved it.

A group of us playing Phase 10 out on the condo porch area (photo credit to Jay).

A group of us playing Phase 10 out on the condo porch area (photo credit to Jay).

Of course it wasn’t just about one family. When the condo was empty, it was because the Resers and the Mathis clan were hanging out together. On Thursday night, Sidney’s sisters hosted a big picnic dinner. Chicken bog was served, corn hole was played, and a beautiful South Carolina evening was enjoyed. Our two families got to know each other and everyone was able to put names to faces. The same thing happened the next night with the rehearsal dinner. By the wedding and the reception, relationships were made and the fact that the two families would forever be connected was appreciated and embraced.

This line of shoes right inside the condo helps to show the amount of people who stayed under that roof (photo credit to Nancy).

This line of shoes right inside the condo helps to show the amount of people who stayed under that roof (photo credit to Nancy).

So many memories were made over the week and weekend. Whenever I drive by the Myrtlewood condo area, I will always remember the fabulous time we all had. Whenever I am in the backyard of Sidney’s sister, I will always have a glimpse in my head of when it was filled with a bunch of different people celebrating the start of our marriage.

It was so nice having family in Myrtle Beach. On our wedding night, Sid and I played putt putt with this fun group!

It was so nice having family in Myrtle Beach. On our wedding night, Sid and I played putt putt with this fun group!

Thank you to Miranda, Jay, Zella, Mikayla, Glen, Ashley, Nancy, Abby, Cody, and of course my parents for making that condo experience so much fun. Also, thanks to Sidney, Kenny, Barb, and Denny for taking time to stop by and add even more joy within those walls. The #SidAndBrent wedding would not have been so sweet without the support and enthusiasm of our families and friends. We are blessed. Don’t Blink.

Back As a Married Man

What a two weeks it has been.

I took the longest break from Don’t Blink since I started it five years ago to take care of some serious business: I got married.

With the nuptials came the arrival of family, the occurrence of wedding week activities, the final mad dash to get everything ready for the big day, the honeymoon, and much more. I elected not to write during this period so I could fully participate in these once-in-a-lifetime events without trying to carve out time to compose 700-word posts. It was well worth it.

Since I last wrote, I have become a husband and a son-in-law. I have added a niece, a nephew, and a couple of sisters-in-law. Our Reser family name now includes an additional person. My bachelor status that lasted me almost three decades is no longer.

I became a husband when I married Sidney on June 11.

I became a husband when I married Sidney on June 11.

If you follow me on social media, you weren’t kept in the dark. Throughout the past 14 days I posted content from the memorable marital ride Sidney and I went on. However, if you aren’t connected with me via social networks or if you just crave the detail that blog posts delve into, let me catch you up…

I enjoyed the best time of my life.

When you experience the highlights of your time on earth it is tough, if not impossible, to write about it all in a single blog post. With that said, I am not going to try to attempt it. Instead, I will take the next week or so to write a series of blog posts that will chronicle various aspects of the #SidAndBrent adventure. I will fill you in on a variety of topics including the week leading up to our big day, the wedding itself, our honeymoon, and more. Read the ones you want, skip the posts that bore you.

Until then, this blog post is just to say that it was a blessed past couple of weeks and that my wife and I are doing great. Sidney and I arrived back in Myrtle Beach today and we are ready to fully start our married life together. Thanks for the tremendous support we have received from so many of you! We will talk more in the coming days. Don’t Blink.

The #SidAndBrent Wedding Timeline

When Sidney and I became engaged last June, I quickly became acquainted with wedding magazines. After I popped the question, Sid and I flew to Spokane the next day. For the long flight and the two week trip, she loaded up on a variety of matrimonial magazines. I became familiar with the layout and features of these publications.

One mainstay of any wedding magazine is a monthly or weekly timeline. The pages will tell you how far along you should be in the planning process at eight months, six months, two months, etc.

Recently I realized I essentially had created my own wedding timeline over the past year. For most of the weeks over the last 12 months, I have given a weekly “Wedding Update” in my Thursday Rundown blog posts. The idea occurred to me that perhaps I should lay out all of these updates in one grand blog post. With the start of our wedding week tomorrow combined with the fact that I wrote my last Thursday Rundown (and thus last Wedding Update) a few days ago, now is the perfect time.

Starting with the first update I wrote and ending with the 37th one I wrote, I give you the #SidAndBrent Wedding Planning Timeline.

Wedding Update #1 (July 9, 2015) – Sidney and I met with a representative from St. Andrew Catholic Church yesterday to begin preparation for our big day next June. We are excited to start the journey that will help us grow as a couple and lead us to the altar in 11 months. In related news, by next week we will have a specific date selected.

Wedding Update #2 (July 16, 2015) – Today at our second marriage meeting we expressed the date we want for our wedding and submitted it for approval by the priest! Also related to our wedding, I am amazed at the amount of planning that Sidney and her mom have already devoted to the big day. Although we won’t say our vows for another 11 months, important things still need to be done this early in the game. Shout out to my fiancé for picking out her dress this week!

Wedding Update #3 (July 23, 2015) – It is official! Sidney and I were granted our first choice for our wedding date. On June 11, 2016, we will become a married couple. This past Friday, the pastoral associate at St. Andrew called me with the good news. We can’t wait!

Wedding Update #4 (July 30, 2015) – Sidney and her mom have done such a great job wasting no time at all getting things squared away for our June 11 date. Our reception venue, caterer, and photographer are now all booked. As all of these developments became official late last week, it has allowed Sidney to relax a little bit more this week. She deserves it!

Wedding Update #5 (August 6, 2015) – This is a big development…Sidney has selected her dress! Actually, she has had it picked out for a few weeks now. But do you know what she is waiting on?! Tax Free Weekend!! The purchase, minus the sales tax, will be made this weekend.

Wedding Update #6 (August 13, 2015) – I have a couple informative updates from this front. First, if you look at a countdown clock, we are now at single digits month-wise until our big day. On Tuesday it was exactly 10 months until our wedding. Now we are at 9 months and 29 days! Also, my parents booked a beach house for the week of my wedding. Technically it is a three-bedroom condo but this news got me really excited. It makes me feel good that my parents and other family members will have the opportunity to come down to Myrtle Beach and have a memorable vacation while staying in a nice place.

Wedding Update #7 (August 20, 2015) – You can now check wedding invitations off the list! Sidney and I decided upon our design last week. From the Reser family front, my mom and dad explained details of the trip to Myrtle Beach with other immediate family members over dinner last night. My mom also went dress shopping at Nordstrom and I hear she found something that she liked.

Wedding Update #8 (August 27, 2015) – I am told this one is a big deal…Sidney has picked out the bridesmaid dresses! Hopefully she doesn’t make me wear one. In other news, earlier this week my parents went ahead and bought airfare for the big wedding week!

Wedding Update #9 (September 10, 2015) – The biggest update I have for you is that tomorrow it will be exactly NINE MONTHS until Sidney and I tie the knot. Also, the flower girl dress that Sidney’s beautiful niece will wear has been picked out. For those in Myrtle Beach who have an idea of the area, we will be having our reception at Waterway Palms Plantation.

Wedding Update #10 (September 24, 2015) – Our beautiful flower girl, Russell, now has her dress! Also, our Pre-Cana classes start October 13. In case you are wondering, just 261 days remain until our big day!

Look how pretty Russell looks in that dress!

Look how pretty Russell looks in that dress!

Wedding Update #11 (October 15, 2015) – This past Tuesday, Sidney and I had our first Pre-Cana class. We have an absolutely wonderful sponsor couple who welcomes us into their home for these classes. Tuesday we talked a lot about our families and how they have influenced us to be the people we are today. Yesterday, Sidney and I went to the community center of St. Andrew where our pastor, Father James LeBlanc, discussed holy matrimony in the Catholic church. He went over marriage, divorce, and annulments in great detail. While of course we are just focused on marriage, we wanted to get an idea on specifically what the church teaches about it all. It was also a great opportunity to hear the questions of others and to personally chat with Fr. LeBlanc.

Wedding Update #12 (October 22, 2015) – Sidney and I enjoyed our second Pre-Cana class on Tuesday. We talked more about our upbringings and family traditions. It is important that two of us understand how we were raised and how that has shaped us into the people we are today. The main takeaway lesson is that we can’t focus on changing each other, rather, we need to concentrate on changing ourselves.

Wedding Update #13 (October 29, 2015) – Last night, Sidney and I attended our third Pre-Cana meeting. The past two weeks we talked mostly about family and where our influences came from. At this latest meeting, we touched on different subjects. Sex, money, and communication were prominently discussed! Don’t think it was awkward or difficult, though. As I have said before, our sponsor couple is absolutely incredible and obviously these issues are critical to a strong marriage so it is very important to talk about.

Wedding Update #14 (November 12, 2015) – We are in the process of trying to choose the venue for our rehearsal dinner. Sidney and I want to get our restaurant selected so we can make a reservation and beat out the swarm of engaged couples that will sprout up over the holidays. Best way to make a quality decision? Treat yourself to dinner at each prospective location! Last Friday we ate at Sea Captain’s House, a Myrtle Beach favorite that is on our short list. After we ate we were able to ask questions. To all my Myrtle Beach readers, Sidney and I would LOVE suggestions on other good places to consider. Keep in mind that we want a restaurant that isn’t too far from St. Andrew Catholic Church.

Also, we had our fourth Pre-Cana meeting on Tuesday. We only have one meeting left but that will be on hold next week. Why? Well, our sponsor couple is graciously having us over solely for dinner! The books will be put away as they prepare a meal for the four of us. Sid and I love our sponsor couple!

Sidney and I with our sponsor couple, Tim and Kathy McCormick.

Sidney and I with our sponsor couple, Tim and Kathy McCormick.

Wedding Update #15 (December 10, 2015) – Tomorrow will be the six month countdown until Sidney and I get married! Speaking of six months, this also means that we have now been engaged for half of a year. As I mentioned a couple weeks ago, we recently finished our marriage counseling classes. Lastly, our initial choice for a rehearsal dinner venue is not going to work out so I have to figure out an alternative. But all is good!!

Wedding Update #16 (January 7, 2016) – We are now just five months out from the wedding! I have narrowed my choice of our Mexican honeymoon location to two resorts (thanks everyone for the suggestions). I hope to book by mid-month. As for the rehearsal dinner venue, I am still struggling on that front. You would think that in a town of over 1,000 restaurants it would be easier. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, our initial desired location did not work out. On a lighter note, Sidney’s dress arrived this week!

Wedding Update #17 (January 14, 2016) – Earlier this week, Sidney put three cloths of different colors in front of me and asked which one I liked best. I picked wrong. She was showing me colors of bridesmaid dresses (unbeknownst to me at the time) and I don’t think I exactly chose what she was hoping I would. It is all good, Sidney has more intelligence than to ever take my advice on fashion anyway.

After announcing last week that we had two finalists for the resort we will stay at for our honeymoon, we decided over the weekend our ultimate choice. Booking will take place very soon.

Wedding Update #18 (January 21, 2016) – I do have a significant item to report in this latest update…I booked our honeymoon!! After much research and discussion about what we exactly wanted, Sidney and I will be staying at the Sun Palace in Cancun. We ended up booking with the Sun Palace because it is a couples only resort and it consistently appeared high on lists ranking the best hotels in Mexico. I depend on Instagram to gain honest feedback on hotels/restaurants/venues/etc. and everyone I messaged remarked that Sun Palace is nothing short of superb. Take a look for yourself if you want, we can’t wait to go!

Wedding Update #19 (January 28, 2016) – When I booked our honeymoon a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. However, another important groom responsibility was still on my plate….a rehearsal dinner plate that is. At times it was a frustrating process trying to find a venue for our rehearsal dinner but I finally found a spot. Our wedding party will be dining at Thoroughbreds the night before the big day. Thoroughbreds is a steakhouse and seafood grille located on Kings Highway in Myrtle Beach. The restaurant is beautiful, it is close enough to church, and it can handle a group of our size. I am glad to have this selection made.

After we chose Thoroughbreds we went and ate dinner there. It was amazing.

After we chose Thoroughbreds we went and ate dinner there. It was amazing.

Wedding Update #20 (February 4, 2016) – It is at that point where Sidney’s birthday is like my birthday! This past weekend we celebrated Sid’s special day with her extended family. When it came time to open up gifts, she received several items off of our registry such as dinner plates, mugs, casserole containers, and a skillet. Of course these items will be shared by both of us as we start our life together.

Wedding Update #21 (February 11, 2016) – The biggest item I have to mention in this latest update is that we are exactly four months away from the big day! That means Sidney and I are now 2/3 of the way through our engagement (I popped the question in June 2015). This past weekend my mom called Sid’s mom and they had a nice long discussion about wedding developments. The day will be here before we know it.

Wedding Update #22 (February 18, 2016) – Sidney and I met with the pastoral associate at St. Andrew yesterday. During the meeting, he gave us a book for us to make our selections in regarding the readings, prayers, responsorial psalm, etc. to be said at our wedding service. How exciting! This past Saturday, Sidney and I sat down and rounded up the final addresses we need for our wedding invitations. With under four months to go, things are really starting to heat up.

Wedding Update #23 (February 25, 2016) – Last week I mentioned that Sidney and I received the book to choose our readings/prayers for our wedding. This week we actually chose them. You see, in this book you have around 6-10 different bible passages or prayers to choose from for each reading or blessing that makes up a Catholic wedding service. The two of us decided to review the options individually and then mark down our two top choices on a separate piece of paper. We then compared our selections. For pretty much every one, we overlapped with one of our choices!

Wedding Update #24 (Marh 3, 2016) – We are now counting down from just DOUBLE DIGITS until the big day. Only 99 days remain until our wedding. Sidney sent all the invitations across the country for my dad to address. Why? Well, my dad has a thing for calligraphy. He writes in beautiful script and ever since I can remember he has had friends and co-workers ask him to “lend a hand” with their Christmas cards or documents. However, he had never received a wedding invitation request up until this point. He gracefully accepted by saying he would be honored to do it. He has already finished them off and will be sending the invites back to Sidney and her parents to mail off.

I remember well when we were 99 days away.

I remember well when we were 99 days away.

Wedding Update #25 (March 10, 2016) – Lots of fun things are happening! My dad mailed us back all the invites he addressed and they look beautiful. Additionally, Sidney, her mom, and I chose the type of stamp we will use (I never knew the Postal Service offered so many options!). With so much fun getting the invitations ready to go, Sidney was a little disappointed when her mom gently reminded her that we still have several weeks to go before we actually mail them out.

However, Sidney was feeling anything but disappointed when she was able to bring her wedding dress home this past Saturday! After her final fitting, the ensemble was released into her possession. Adding even more excitement to this loaded wedding update, Sidney and her mom also met with the florist we will use for that big Saturday in June. Just 92 days to go.

Wedding Update #26 (March 17, 2016) – These updates just keep getting more and more significant! This past Saturday, Sidney and I went to Jos A Bank and picked out the tuxes for me and my groomsmen. Even when it comes to details such as what the guys will wear, I still claim complete ignorance. Luckily I had Sid there to run the show and pick out what would look the best. In an additional development, Sidney’s mom received our wedding stamps yesterday. I have never had my name on postage before so I definitely think they look pretty cool.

Wedding Update #27 (March 24, 2016) – I detailed our meal at our rehearsal dinner venue earlier in the week, but I saved the most important wedding development for this update. This past Saturday, Sidney and I went to Zales in the mall and bought our wedding rings for each other. It was a nice outing and much, much easier on my wallet than the engagement ring experience. Sidney’s ring was in stock and we took it home but mine is being ordered.

Wedding Update #28 (March 31, 2016) – A couple items to report on for this update. First, Sidney went to Charleston yesterday to get her bridal portraits done. At her parents’ house there is a large framed photo of Sid’s oldest sister in her wedding gown. Pretty soon there will be one of Sidney too. Secondly, as a wedding gift my parents are paying for Sidney and I to spend our wedding night in a Myrtle Beach hotel of our choice. After some research and after determining which venues actually have vacancy (Myrtle Beach is a tourist destination after all), we have narrowed it down to two choices. A decision is expected by the end of the night.

Wedding Update #29 (April 7, 2016) – The other day, Sidney handed me the bag full of wedding invitations she had recently stuffed into envelopes. I took that bag full of invites and carefully handed it over to the lady at the post office to send out. In the next couple of days, people will start receiving the request from Sidney’s parents to attend our big day! Also, yesterday, Sidney received a call from Zale’s informing her that my wedding ring has arrived (we had to order it). It just keeps getting more and more real.

Me holding our wedding invites right before I brought them into the post office.

Me holding our wedding invites right before I brought them into the post office.

Wedding Update #30 (April 14, 2016) – Yesterday evening, Sidney and I met with the music director at St. Andrew Catholic Church to pick out our song selection for our wedding. We sat up in the choir loft with the director as she played different melodies for us. After about 45 minutes, we had our music picked out. It was quite fun.

Here is a look at the inside of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Myrtle Beach. I took this photo last night before our meeting with the music director.

Here is a look at the inside of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Myrtle Beach. I took this photo last night before our meeting with the music director.

Wedding Update #31 (April 21, 2016) – Sidney keeps telling people that the major responsibilities are taken care of. Now it is just handling the smaller things that will come up over these final 50 days. This past weekend, Sid’s mom finalized the reception dinner menu. Relatives of the bride are also now in the process of planning Sidney’s bridal shower. Little or big, each new development is exciting as we inch closer to the date.

Wedding Update #32 (April 28, 2016) – We are just 44 days away from the big date. Sidney’s bridal shower invites went out in the mail this week. Items are disappearing from our registry. My mom bought her dress. It is all very exciting and hopefully other big developments will transpire between now and my next update.

Wedding Update #33 (May 5, 2016) – I have a few things to share. Sidney received her wedding portraits back (of course I wasn’t allowed to look). Also, with the invites sent out a couple weeks ago, we recently figured out the probable number of guests we expect to have at our wedding. Finally, I was very honored when my cousin Cody accepted my invite to serve as a groomsman in my wedding party. At the last minute, an original groomsman unexpectedly said he couldn’t make the trip, sending me into crisis mode. Luckily Cody graciously answered my request and I couldn’t be happier to have him standing up front with us on our wedding day.

 I received this from my parents. It is so nice to have a framed wedding invitation! Thank you to my parents.

I received this from my parents. It is so nice to have a framed wedding invitation! Thank you to my parents.

Wedding Update #34 (May 12, 2016) – Was my month countdown post not enough yesterday? I don’t know if I have too much more to update you on but we are now officially 30 days out from the big day! This weekend, Sidney’s relatives will host her bridal shower. Also, wedding presents have started to trickle in. It is fun to watch Sidney get really excited when she opens them.

Wedding Update #35 (May 19, 2016) – Sidney had her bridal shower last weekend and in addition to the lawn mower we received some fabulous gifts. We met with the church last night to finalize our liturgy. Now, when it comes to St. Andrew (where we are getting married), we just have our meeting with the priest and the rehearsal to go before it is showtime. Also, earlier this week we narrowed our song choice for our first dance to three finalists. And, believe it or not, we just now decided on which one we will use! It is a special melody indeed. Only 23 days to go!

Wedding Update #36 (May 26, 2016) – The biggest news I have to report is that Sidney and I requested and received our marriage license! In South Carolina you have to visit the courthouse and formally apply for the license. After you pay $50 and fill out paperwork, you then must wait 24 hours until you can pick it up. I snagged it yesterday and this afternoon Sidney delivered it to the church!

In other news, the teachers at Sidney’s school threw her a special bridal party. She left work that day with a super nice vacuum. I also received a nice surprise in that my aunt and cousin will be making the trip to Myrtle Beach to enjoy the wedding festivities. We are just 16 days away from the big date!

Sidney and I outside the courthouse on the left and our wedding license on the right!

Sidney and I outside the courthouse on the left and our wedding license on the right!

Wedding Update #37 (June 2, 2016) – What can I say, we are almost there! Sidney and I had the distinct honor of meeting with Fr. LeBlanc, the priest who will marry us on June 11. Aside from the rehearsal a week from Friday, we have now done all the prep work for the ceremony/spiritual part of our wedding. Let me say this: when it comes to marriage preparation, the Catholic Church is incredible. I don’t think we could be anymore ready for this commitment.

I talked with our DJ today and earlier this week I sent out information packets to my groomsmen. Sidney, her mom, and sisters are extremely busy doing all the necessary tasks that can really only be done a couple weeks before the wedding. This upcoming Saturday evening, Sidney will be treated to a bachelorette party. Then Monday will roll around and my family will start arriving from out west! What a blessed time it is.

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What an incredible journey it has been. I would like to thank Sidney, Brenda (Sidney’s mom), Sidney’s two sisters, my parents, Tim & Kathy McCormick, Father James LeBlanc, and Greg Allen for all they have done. Because of their efforts, June 11, 2016, will be an extremely special day. This timeline will be something that Sidney and I will be able to show our kids and maybe way down the road we will even use it for their wedding planning. Don’t Blink.

Other Blog Posts Written About Our Wedding:
The Proposal
The Best Way to Prepare for Marriage
The Proposal (Her Side)
An Excellent Rehearsal Dinner Preview
Wedding Countdown: Two Months Out
The Pre-Honeymoon

Last Thursday Rundown As a Bachelor

It is June and that means it is our WEDDING MONTH. Tonight’s Thursday Rundown will also be my final one as a bachelor. Here we go with the topics…

Ice Cream Disappointment – This past weekend, Myrtle Beach was home to Bike Week. Taking place every Memorial Day weekend, thousands of bikers come to the city to have some fun. Sidney and I decided to observe the spectacle by watching the participants go up and down the busiest street in Myrtle Beach from the back of Sidney’s vehicle. To make the experience more enjoyable, we stopped at Kirk’s Ice Cream Parlor to get a treat to enjoy while we watched the motorcycles cruise by. I couldn’t resist getting this flashy cone with birthday cake ice cream. Unfortunately, while the ice cream itself was good, the cone looked better than it tasted.

This was the ice cream cone I ate from Kirk's Ice Cream Parlor this past Friday.

This was the ice cream cone I ate from Kirk’s Ice Cream Parlor this past Friday.

Back on the Air – Our television/web show at Coastal Carolina University, Coastal Now, came out with a new episode recently. That meant I was back on the air with my segment! In this latest show I talked about our award winning “Inside the Classroom” social media campaign. To watch me give you the low-down, just click here.

Watch my latest Social Circle segment on Coastal Carolina University's Coastal Now program.

Watch my latest Social Circle segment on Coastal Carolina University’s Coastal Now program.

Interesting Dear Abby Question – Although I did find the below question interesting, I still found Abby’s answer obvious. If you and office mates or a significant other set a spending limit for a gift exchange, it means you spend as close to that amount as possible. If I have a $20 limit to buy my brother something, I am doing everything I can to make all 2,000 pennies stretch as far as possible. If you are able to buy a $20 item for $10 then buy two of that item (or use the remaining $10 on something else). In my opinion, a spending limit is based on actual money spent, not the actual retail price of something.

Although I found the question interesting, I thought the answer was very obvious.

Although I found the question interesting, I thought the answer was very obvious.

Major Haircut Change – Most people know I pride myself on going to Great Clips for every single haircut I get. However, with my big day coming up I decided to my wedding haircut at an actual reputable salon. Yesterday I went to Madison Avenue Salon, a place right next to where I live. When I told my stylist that I usually just go to Great Clips, she responded, “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.”

The time she took and the hair styling tools she used definitely made me realize that there is a certain difference between a place that sets a goal to cut as many heads of hair as possible in the least amount of time versus a professional salon where the goal is to actually make you look good (not that I am saying I look good by any means). Thanks to Hailey for cutting my hair!

How about a quick lunch hour selfie to show off my haircut?!

How about a quick lunch hour selfie to show off my haircut?!

Wedding Update #35 – What can I say, we are almost there! Sidney and I had the distinct honor of meeting with Fr. LeBlanc, the priest who will marry us on June 11. Aside from the rehearsal a week from Friday, we have now done all the prep work for the ceremony/spiritual part of our wedding. Let me say this: when it comes to marriage preparation, the Catholic Church is incredible. I don’t think we could be anymore ready for this commitment.

I talked with our DJ today and earlier this week I sent out information packets to my groomsmen. Sidney, her mom, and sisters are extremely busy doing all the necessary tasks that can really only be done a couple weeks before the wedding. This upcoming Saturday evening, Sidney will be treated to a bachelorette party. Then Monday will roll around and my family will start arriving from out west! What a blessed time it is.

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I will be back Sunday with a special blog post and then that could very much well do it for the next two weeks as we get married and go on our honeymoon. As always, thanks for your readership. Have a fantastic weekend. Don’t Blink.

The Best of June 1

On June 1, 2013, I did not write a blog post. It is a shame because if I did, I would have five different posts to share with you that I wrote on past dates of June 1. If you know me, I like to write in groups of five (i.e. the Thursday Rundown). However, I have to let it go…

Today I am going to look back on the four blog posts I wrote on June 1 in 2011, 2012, 2014, and 2015. I am doing this because each post is wildly different and because I really don’t have any better ideas for today. I feel my writing has improved over the years so I will start with the newest entry and work down to when I was a much greener blogger.

What Really Fascinates Me About Caitlyn Jenner (June 1, 2015) – One year ago the American public was as obsessed about the Caitlyn Jenner transformation as it is about the gorilla situation today. Both episodes have dominated the media and Facebook (and obviously blogs). I stayed out of the morality of Jenner’s move but I did write about how incredible modern science is. The fact that a doctors can successfully transition a person from a man to a woman baffles me. It amazed me then and it still amazes me now. You know what would amaze me even more? If the rumor is true that Jenner wants to transition back to Bruce (and it actually happens!), 

Caitlin Jenner a year ago commanded the same amount of attention that the gorilla is getting today.

Caitlin Jenner a year ago commanded the same amount of attention that the gorilla is getting today.

Snacking Southern Style (June 1, 2014) – I had just moved to Myrtle Beach and I wanted to try some Southern delicacies. I sampled three different popular snacks from this part of the country but the one I really want to apologize to in these few sentences is boiled peanuts. Because I bought a CAN of the Southern staple I did not give it a fair shake. Two years ago I criticized the snack but now I absolutely LOVE boiled peanuts. It did take Sidney’s homemade recipe to make me come around but I can honestly say that I can go just as overboard eating boiled peanuts as I can with regular peanuts.

Boiled peanuts and I got off on the wrong foot but now I love them!!

Boiled peanuts and I got off on the wrong foot but now I love them!!

More Fun With Condescending Wonka (June 1, 2012) – There is no better meme than the originals. Can you believe it has been four years since Condescending Wonka was in its heyday? I got a big kick out of how sarcastic and mean Willy Wonka could be so I decided to get creative and write my own memes in the style of the Candy Man himself. I took on five different topics (blogging, sports marketing, Catholicism, the gym, and the bar) and penned my own little jokes. Full disclosure: After reading what I wrote four years ago, I actually was laughing out loud, mostly because they are just so stupid.

Four years ago, it was all about Condescending Wonka.

Four years ago, it was all about Condescending Wonka.

JACKED 4 JACK3D (June 1, 2011) – This stuff is illegal now as it rightfully should be. But five years ago it wasn’t and I was a JACK3D user. Before I would work out, I would use the supplement to make a drink and give me a major boost. In all honesty, it was an incredible product. It turned out to be a little too incredible, though. Older and wiser, I now know that I probably should not have put JACK3D in my body. But at the time, it was tough to resist the power it gave me.

Jack3D was one very powerful supplement.

Jack3D was one very powerful supplement.

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Hope you enjoyed another trip down the Don’t Blink memory lane. I will see all of you back here tomorrow for my Thursday Rundown. Don’t Blink.

Not Stressing Over the Weather

The prayer my mom always recited to me at least a couple times a day growing up was God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change… . Yes, I cut it off for a reason. You see, that was the only line she would actually recite to me because it was the only one that usually applied. Whenever I was worried about something that a young boy could do nothing about, she would bust out the beginning of the “Serenity Prayer.”

It is a little ironic then that one of my worries I developed over the years came from a habit of hers. Besides the soap opera she would always record, my mom religiously watched the Weather Channel growing up. Often she would come downstairs where I would be watching our only cable TV and ask if she could quickly check the weather. I knew the drill. It was time for “Local on the 8s.” I would change the channel and listen to the calming music as my mom watched the report. After the automated voice would come on and read the outlook, my mom would let me change it.

I grew up watching the Weather Channel a lot.

I grew up watching the Weather Channel a lot.

Because of snowy Spokane weather and the impact it would have on daily life, it was important to keep a close eye on the Weather Channel. However, my mom was definitely a year-round viewer, interested in each and every forecast. Her dependence on the Weather Channel rubbed off on me.

Through the time I entered high school and into my adult years, I started to become pretty obsessed with the weather report. I wanted to know what I could expect for my various sporting events, both when I participated in them and then when I worked them. Pretty soon my interest in knowing the weather grew beyond just wanting the forecast for games. I now wanted to know exactly what the weather would be for weekends, vacations, family coming to town, festivals, etc.

As my reliance on weather reports grew, so did technology. The Weather Channel went from the television to the internet to smart phone apps. Along with the greater accessibility also came more thorough updates. Weekend reports turned to 5-day reports. Those 5-day reports turned to 10-day reports. Believe it or not, you can now get 25-day reports.

These extended reports proved to be the death of me. I would look at the forecast for a date on the calendar a whole week and a half out and start to stress. I remember when my dad, brother, and I went to New York several years ago to watch baseball at Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium during the last season for both parks. In early July I looked at the forecast for mid-July and saw a 60% chance of rain. I let it make me miserable because my biggest fear was that the games would be rained out and our once-in-a-lifetime opportunity would be ruined. It turned out to be beautiful.

For our New York trip, I ended up worrying about the weather way too early in the game.

For our New York trip, I ended up worrying about the weather way too early in the game.

Of course I bring this topic up because our wedding week forecast is now in full view. It goes without saying that I want the weather to be gorgeous for all the events leading up to the wedding and for the big day itself. However, I am trying not to get too caught up in the extended forecast because it just isn’t worth it. It has taken me long enough to finally realize that a 10-day outlook is a crapshoot. With that said, deep down inside I am encouraged that the weather man is showing a very pleasant several days in store for us next week. However, I am waiting until the end of this week to really take stock in it.

This means absolutely nothing but our wedding week is looking pretty good!

This means absolutely nothing but our wedding week is looking pretty good!

The weather itself already has enough control over us. I suppose we shouldn’t succumb to it anymore by worrying about what it might or might do over a week in advance. To be honest, I will continue to take peeks at the weather over the next couple days. However, I won’t let it bother me one way or the other. Besides, wedding weeks are impossible to mess up, right? Don’t Blink.

Three Thoughts on Memorial Day

As it is Memorial Day I am taking full advantage of the holiday, which includes taking it easy on my blog. However, I do want to leave you with a few thoughts for you to read if you are outside grilling or inside watching baseball.

First, I thought I would reiterate that I love three day weekends that end on a Monday. While it is nice of course to enjoy a Friday off, when you have a Monday holiday it makes the following work week so much more bearable. Friday weekends just deliver on one end. You look forward to it the week leading up to it but when Sunday rolls around it is all over. On a Monday three day weekend you look forward to it all week long and then it makes the next week more enjoyable by shortening the work week to four days. I just really feel that a Monday three day weekend gives you more bang for your buck than a Friday one.

Second, Sidney and I are now one week away from our wedding week. CRAZY. The stress is starting to seep in just a little bit. Of course it is a good stress, though. How else would you categorize family coming in, constant activities taking place, a beautiful ceremony on June 11, and then a Cancun honeymoon to immediately follow? We are currently in the midst of one of the best times we will ever have in our lives.

Third, I thought I would weigh in on the death of Harambe, the gorilla that was killed over the weekend when a 4-year-old boy fell into his exhibit. I apologize to the people who side with the primate, but I am all for taking extreme precautions to save the life of someone’s young kid. I trust the response team when they said the gorilla was agitated and that attempting to tranquilize it could have caused disaster for the boy. You hate to see a grand animal such as Harambe lose his life but how can’t you justify it when you see a toddler violently and unpredictably dragged around? It was definitely a very sad and very tough case.

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Enjoy your Memorial Day! Thank you to the brave men and women of this great country who paid the ultimate sacrifice so we could enjoy the freedoms and liberties we do each day. Don’t Blink.