Saturday, July 22, 2017  

A Kinsale Wedding: Happiness After Hardship


As Cople District Volunteer Fire Department’s fire siren wailed its banshee cry through the skies of Kinsale, shortly after 4 p.m. on May 31, the bride winced visibly. She was obviously NOT resigned at the thought that her Fire Chief groom, J.B. Butler, would be dashing off to rescue someone just moments after they’d said “I do”.

Karen Jenkins Butler was distinctly distressed at this interruption of the series of miracles that had led up to their perfect wedding day. Her mind’s eye conjured a vision of the firemen throwing on their gear and piling into their giant yellow trucks. This would create a jagged break in the wonderful rhythms orchestrated by Mistress of Ceremonies Brenda King Hinson.

Sadly, it would mean leaving the magical circle in the midst of the three vividly blooming gardens of cousins Ann and Linda Lewis, full of fairies, hedgehogs, peacocks, kingfishers, dragonflies, frogs and waterman’s paraphernalia, like tongs and a culling board. But thank goodness, the groom got to stay for his own party!

The shattering cry from the cupola atop the firehouse was a salute, not a summons to duty, a prank offered to his successor by the bride’s cousin, retired Chief Tommy Lewis. In the absence of the bride’s late great-grandfather Hiram King (one of Kinsale’s founding firemen), Tommy felt it important to interject CDVFD into the party. After all, Karen’s third cousin Ryan King had just become the fourth generation to join the ranks of that noble company, following in the footsteps of his granddaddy, Hiram Jr. and his daddy, Donald King. It seemed inevitable that Ryan would snag the bride’s red garter, bearing the CDVFD emblem.

Once the joke was explained, the party breathed a sigh of relief while the celebration continued.

After the passionate wedding kiss, J.B. literally jived away from a rainbow-clad bottle tree, proceeding down the white carpet from the wedding bower, hand in hand with Karen.

Each of them shared a special smile with Karen’s mother, Diane King Jenkins Headley, who had survived several shattering health crises (including multiple amputations) to reign over the day’s events like a slender, feather light queen. She was 
surrounded and buoyed up by her children and their children, her nieces and nephews, her brother, her sisters, cousins and 
other family members.

If J.B. were not such a ham, there’d never have been a dry eye in the house, when he waltzed with his mother-in-law. And you have to give him credit for posing with umpteen jillion different family groups, both before and after the delicious repast was served.

Karen and J.B.’s son Brayden, pitched a fit about putting on a tie and standing up with them because his fourth cousin Layton Jackson wasn’t included. Once the ceremony was over, the sturdy young cousins settled down to tree climbing and playing with their trucks in the sandbox, as music filled the air and the other guests ate, and toasted, and danced, and ate some more.

The departed ones were present as angels in the gentle breeze and glowing sun which embraced the guests after a week of clouds and rain. Beforehand, Karen’s beloved late grandmother, Shirley “Nannie” King, had come in a dream to Karen to provide the seal of approval, Karen told her cousin JoAnne Burton. Nannie gave the go-ahead while eating Planters Peanuts in heaven from a can with a man who turned out to be Karen’s cousin and JoAnne’s late father, Cap‘n Jennings Burton. And despite her attempts to cede the privilege to the younger girls present, the bride’s bouquet landed in JoAnne’s lap.

Just a short 3 ½ months after coming home from a two month stay at a hospital and rehabilitation facility in Richmond, Diane proudly attended her daughter’s wedding wearing four prosthetic limbs. In the beginning of December 2013, Diane fell victim to sepsis following a stomach procedure a month earlier. She developed this devastating, life-threatening full body infection and to make matters worse she developed a clotting disorder known as disseminated intravascular coagulation (DIC). Her body was forming small blood clots throughout her body and cutting off blood supply to vital organs. Her kidneys had failed and dialysis would now be a way of life for her. The doctors were not optimistic that Diane would survive and questioned the quality of life she would have if she did. She would be confined to a nursing facility, without limbs and on dialysis for the rest of her life. This was only partly true. Diane’s kidneys began to regain function slowly and are now functioning normally. She also now lives at home with her daughter. She did however lose all four limbs. A hurdle that many cannot imagine facing, Diane has pushed through with a spirit that cannot be matched. Since being home she has made tremendous strides to regain her independence. Completing every day task, that are often taken granted, have presented new challenges. She has mastered eating, bathing, and even helps around the house. Most recently she has begun taken community college courses online, working towards her associate’s degree in business. There is no doubt that Diane will continue to surpass every goal that she sets for herself. She is truly a blessing to her friends, family and often times complete strangers. Donations are welcomed and can be made at any Union First Market Bank under the Diane Headley Recovery Fund.