Hitchin A Ride, Icy Roads, Greyhound Buses & Getting Home- TDCJ Allred Unit, Iowa Park, Texas…

My husband knows I spend countless hours traveling during the week and checks weather conditions during winter months because he knows (all too well) that I’m far from comfortable driving on icy roads.  After all, ice, sleet and now are rare in Texas and, I’m originally from California.

Explaining to my husband why I cannot cancel or reschedule anything on my calendar is never an easy conversation and as I listened to all of the things that could go wrong so far from home Tuesday evening at WorthamWorld, I suggested Amtrak.  Matthew has never traveled by bus or train and after considering this form of transportation as an alternative, agreed that letting someone else do the driving was a far better plan.

My husband frequently sends everyone home from McBee at the first sign of snow or ice and couldn’t understand why my schedule couldn’t be altered.  

The truth is that I’ve never called in sick or missed work- my strong work ethics drive my husband crazy and although he doesn’t “get it,” my clients know that I’m the most reliable person they’ve ever met because keeping my word is more than “a little” important to me.  

My husband was right about one thing- I never let anyone down and, I do panic on icy roads because I have no idea what to do if I lose control.  His visions of me freezing to death on the side of the road give you a better idea of his wild imagination.  My husbands greatest fear is that something will happen to me.

Matthew is my number one fan and does whatever he can to help me when I’m “in a pinch” including coming to save the day when our caravan of suvs runs into mechanical problems or we need help setting up at venues.  It’s so rare for me to call my husband for help that I’ve only done it once in 8 years.  Matthew loves golf and NASCAR and prefers to stay far away from our events.  He’s shy and I’m outgoing.  We are complete opposites! 

My husband is the reason that I’m able to do all of the things I do and supports me in my various businesses.Greyhound had a bus leaving Fort Worth at 10:05 AM and arriving in Wichita Falls at 11:58 AM which worked perfectly with my schedule to be at the Unit by 12:30-12:45 since I had planned to take a cab from the Greyhound Terminal to TDCJ Allred Unit. I was parked and at the Greyhound Terminal by 8:30AM.  Bringing only my Texas Drivers License, Credit Card, Cash and a TJ Maxx bag with a bouquet and a few props, I left my purse at home.  

By 9:30AM, I was standing by the B entrance waiting on my bus. Not bringing my purse is unusual for me because I normally leave my purse, cell phone and other items in my SUV at Prison Unit Parking Lots. I could’ve used a locker at the bus terminal to store my purse but thought it was unnecessary.  My “plan” was to give my TJ Maxx bag to Tamie to keep in her SUV.The timing for everything was “tight.”  I prefer to be at least 30 minutes early to any scheduled event but thought I could make it by at least 15 minutes early- I was wrong.

At 11:15AM, I sent a text to Tamie knowing that my bus would be arriving far later than I had thought due to accidents and icy roads.  Panicking, I nearly called the Chaplain at Allred to advise him I was running late but didn’t need to because he had already called Tamie who told him I was on a bus and the bus was running late. 

Tamie advised me that the bus terminal in Wichita Falls had closed due to weather which was shocking and told me the Chaplain had contacted her about the possibility of icy roads.

Wondering how I was going to get home with my round trip ticket since the terminal was now closed in Wichita Falls, Tamie and her family told me not to worry about it.  

This wonderful family would drive me back to the Greyhound Terminal in Fort Worth on their way back to Corpus Christi.  To say I was relieved about being able to “hitch a ride home” would be an understatement!

Tamie’s wedding was scheduled for 1PM and since the Unit was 9 minutes from the bus terminal, I had contacted a cab company while traveling to Wichita Falls to secure a ride not knowing that the entire city would be shut down by the time my bus arrived or that ice would not only close the Greyhound Terminal but also cause my bus to be 48 minutes late.  I arrived in Wichita Falls at nearly 1PM.  Tamie and her family were waiting for me at the bus terminal.

As I jumped into their white SUV, I thought of a white knight saving my day and we headed off to Allred Unit together with her mother in law navigating the icy streets of a deserted city with the skill of a NASCAR driver.

Arriving at the Unit, Tamie looked fabulous in her wedding dress and 6 inch heels but the icy sidewalks were tricky so, I held her hand to help her navigate our way into the check in point.  

After being “screened in,” Tamie, I and the Chaplain walked through more ice on our way to the Visitation Area to meet her fiancée as her mother and mother in law waited for us in the parking lot.

I have only Officiated one Prison Wedding with the Groom “behind the glass” at TDCJ Ferguson Unit a few months ago.  At that wedding, there was a small opening that the Bride and I talked through by leaning down.  

Tamie’s fiancée was behind an entire wall of glass at Allred so we used phones to communicate with the Groom on one, Tamie on the other and me on the third phone. Officiating a wedding anywhere requires that all parties can either hear, understand or communicate with me.  

At Ferguson Unit, I asked a guard if the Groom could hear me before realizing the glass had a 2 inch opening to communicate through.

Leaving Allred back in the SUV, we decided to stop for lunch at a Mexican restaurant near Iowa Park and for the first time, I began to calm down about my journey to get from Point A to Point B and “get the job done” for Tamie and her Groom.  

After leaving the restaurant, we decided to have an impromptu photo shoot on the side of icy streets and highways headed to Fort Worth.  Everyone loved the props I had brought with me and the Groom’s mother chose the Groom sign which I thought was a nice touch.

Beautiful Bride Tamie didn’t mind jumping out into the snow and ice to pose for photos even though her open toe high heel shoes made walking on ice difficult.

Both Tamie’s mother and new mother in law had as much fun as I did laughing as passing semi trucks honked from the other side of the freeway.

We loved the ice in the trees and pulled over to get a few more photos on our way back to Fort Worth.

The Grooms mother had packed a a butter knife and wanted to write on the ice with it. 

These three ladies were so much fun that we made plans for me to visit them in Corpus Christi with my twin grandnieces when the weather warms up a bit.

I’m so thankful for their help getting me home and spending the day with them yesterday.  Everyday, I meet amazing people with a story to tell but giving me a lift home has never happened before…God Bless these three wonderful ladies from Corpus Christi, Texas!