Life is always a mix of light and dark, happy and sad. Gonna get a little personal here.
Here’s how the last year and a half have played out for Becky and I.
The Autumn before last Becky’s mom was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor. I had been planning on proposing to Becky already, and had the rings. Becky took me out to dinner for my birthday and I popped the question at dinner. We wanted to have our wedding quickly hoping Marilyn, Becky’s mom, would make it to our wedding.
Marilyn passed away March 7, we were married June 25.
On our honeymoon we bought and started renovating our dream house.
At the same time Kieth, Becky’s brother was opening a BBQ joint with Marilyn and Becky’s dad, “Big Earl.” The idea was for Big Earl and Kieth to smoke the meat and Marilyn would serve her amazing hand made cobblers and pies. After Marilyn passed they pushed on to open the restaurant, mean while Kieth met Steph, and fell in love. They had hoped to open the restaurant, Big Earl’s, in February.
That Christmas Big Earl became ill and was rushed to the hospital. He passed away a few days later.
Kieth and Steph were married March 11. A week later they opened Big Earl’s BBQ.
I had the honor of photographing Kieth and Steph’s wedding at Big Earl’s the week before it opened.
As a family it’s been a hell of a year. Pockets of joy in the midst of sadness.
The wedding was simply beautiful. As I said, the ceremony and reception were at Big Earl’s. The wedding party got ready at the Denair Gas Light Theater. You could feel Big Earl and Marilyn smiling down on us all.
It was an emotional day for all of us.
The Grand Opening at Earl’s was a big hit with people lined up out the door and it hasn’t really slowed down. Kieth makes some of the best smoked meats this side of Kansas City, Steph makes the pies. If you are ever in the Central Valley, check out Big Earl’s. Try the brisket.