Jody Longstreet and Ed Hollin rode his Harley from central Indiana to Williamsburg for their summer wedding on the York River.
“It was 700 miles,” he recalled, “our longest trip ever. We came through pouring rain. We saw the storm and tried to wait. Once we got in the mountains, the rain cut loose something awful.”
On this day the skies were clearing and the temperature a relatively cool 88 as we headed out to the middle of the river. The winds were a light 3-5 mph as we drifted on one sail.
After a half hour chatting, the couple stood in the cockpit and the Rev. Bruce Queen conducted the ceremony.
“Jody and Ed, I require and charge you both, as you stand in the presence of God, before whom the secrets of all hearts are disclosed that, having duly considered the holy covenant you are about to make, you do now declare before this company your pledge of faith, each to the other. Be well assured that if these solemn vows are kept inviolate, as God’s word demands, and if steadfastly you endeavor to do the will of your heavenly Father, God will bless your marriage, will grant you fulfillment in it, and will establish your home in peace.”
They exchanged rings, made their vows, and received God’s blessing. She was radiant. The groom kissed the bride, and we let out the genoa to go sailing. The winds picked up as if on cue.
Jody is an identical twin. Ed said, “It took six months, but after that I’ve always been able to tell her apart from her sister.” Earlier Jody saw cabin cruisers at the marina and recalled when she was younger. “My sister and I were working with Carver Yachts at the factory when we took one to the Indiana State Fair. It was on a big fork lift and was going inside a large exhibition building, a barn really. The guy didn’t have the barn door all the way up, and as he drove it through the boat hit the top of the door and sheered the bridge right off.”
Working for USPS
Jody works for the Postal Service. “I walk a route 18 miles a day and deliver for Amazon on Sundays, so that’s a long week. Amazon is difficult because it’s not a set route. The 18 miles are set. My sister has a walking route in Indianapolis, a bad part of town where it’s dangerous. The police finally walk the beat now, so that helps.”
She said later, “I love my job, but what I hate are dogs. I was walking up to a house to deliver the mail when a pit bull jumped through the window and came at me. He bit through my leg all the way to the bone. I’m now approved to carry bear spray and a billy club.”
Bruce suggested carrying a spray bottle of ammonia and water, but that seemed cumbersome with all the mail she’s carrying. “It consists of hundreds of magazines and circulars, plus 1,200 to 2,500 letters every day. When I start out it weighs 70 pounds. I have a shoulder strap for the bag.”
Driving the Open Road
Ed drives big rigs over the road for Conway Trucking. “I was in Louisville once and had to back into a yard late at night at a place that had no lighting. The gate was locked but I had a key. Inside, a big man suddenly came up to me, which scared me to death. He said he meant no harm. He was locked inside all night when they closed for the night. I had a big mag flashlight at the ready. I turned it toward the open gate and showed him the way out, and he left.
“The federal government doesn’t allow us drivers to carry a gun. It’s against the law, under the ICC. I’ve got a conceal-and-carry permit but I can’t keep a gun on me in the truck. Otherwise I carry 80 percent of the time. But not that night. I’ve turned down Louisville runs ever since.”
Bruce is an accomplished sailor who holds teaching credentials from the American Sailing Association for basic keelboat and docking. He turned the helm over to Jody, and she instantly got the feel. Bruce said proudly, “She has her CDL [commercial driver’s license] and got her pilot’s license when she was 16.” Bruce quipped, “I’ve got my pilot license too. You chop it and I’ll pile it.” We laughed for the umpteenth time that day.
No wedding on the water is complete without the requisite boating story. Ed recalled his with vigor.
“My brother and a friend went out on a big lake in a flat-bottom boat. I could see a storm coming and I told them we needed to go in, but they wouldn’t. Finally I took over running the engine and headed in. Well, we got within a hundred yards and the storm hit us. Hard. I told them to move up closer to the bow to balance the boat in the wind and the waves. They said, ‘But we’ll get wet.’ I told them, ‘It’s raining. You’re gonna get wet anyway!’
“I told them we needed to drive around this storm instead of through it. ‘I don’t care if it takes six hours.’ I ran us close to the coast, within a hundred feet, and we went all the way around. It took six hours on that little 5 horsepower outboard, but we were fine. I still talk to my brother, but we don’t go boating together anymore.”
Back at the marina, Ed fired up the Harley and Jody got on behind him. Country western music blared from the speakers as they roared off to Williamsburg and eventually Indiana to happily ever after.
Let’s Go Sail