Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Wedding

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The Wedding
by Rob Watson

I promised to tell you about the wedding of the socially active woman and the old farmer.
Bride, mature, age unknown, is an administrator at the local hospital/rest home. She is active in the Chamber of Commerce, the Carnival Heritage Museum group, Town Pride an other things whose name I don't recall. She is always dragging Wife into stuff (and vice-versa)... {this year I have been assigned the task of lining up the Christmas parade entrants and getting their forms to the judges booth. Note the difference between assigned and volunteered} Bride is heir to a large farming operation.

Groom is a 65 year old bachelor farmer. To fill in between crops he also runs two car washes here in town. Groom has a large farming operation. He also participates in the church mens group.

To explain later developments, you need to know that large farming operations usually have huge, expensive, farm equipment... trucks, tractors, combines, etc.

Prolog: Here in Town, most everyone knows everyone else, (way better than you or I would like to be known) and, have great numbers of relations. This lead to greater than normal discussion of the marriage, months in advance of the event, people were heard discussing WHY?? (that topic has still not entirely died out months later) Weeks in advance, the invitations went out and I heard a couple of old biddies discussing the guest list... "...well I heard so and so had not gotten an invitation..." "... That's because she is not in the phone book..." I personally heard several people comment that everyone in town had been invited. In the few days before the event a carnival atmosphere prevailed.

Wedding Day: Milo harvest had been delayed by unusual September rains. Many fields were still unharvested because of wet spots, but the day dawned clear and warm, with promise of good harvest conditions. Early risers found Groom cleaning his car washes. Downtown Town is normally completely abandoned by noon on most Saturdays. But today, the day of THE wedding, the town was all abuzz... early arrivals from out of town, farmers knocking off early, gossips distributing the latest... 

We got to church half an hour early and got the last two seats in the church. By the time Fr. Priest, Groom, and the best man walked out onto the alter, the church was full. People stood in the side isles, the back, and the choir loft. Even the vestibule, sporting huge glass windows into the church, in the entrance of the church was full. Fr. Priest walked to the center of the altar. He slowly scanned the contents of the building, and brought the house down with "Well, I guess everyone in town did come."

Church attire in most non-Catholic churches is usually “nice”, often referred to as “Sunday-go-to-meeting” attire. Catholics, especially in farming communities, are more informal and may include work clothes. The Wedding attire, while not all the way up to “Sunday-go-to-meeting” did include several pairs of “dress” bib overalls.

Bride has two sisters, each with a beautiful and strong voice. One lead the congregation in song from the front of the church and the other filled the space with wonderful solos from the choir loft... The bride and groom recited their vows unaided, (much to the surprise of many who knew Groom) It was as well planned and executed wedding as I have ever attended. The reception lined formed on the steps of the church and all attendees took part. But no one left.

At the corner was "the getaway car" all painted with ribald slogans and a few strings of cans attached to the rear... then the truck appeared. It was a 600 bushel grain truck (15 ton) with the sides attached, decorated with ribbons, crape paper streamers, flashy metallic reflectors, and painted with more ribald slogans. Attached to the rear were half a dozen long, heavy chains, each strung with hundreds of beer cans. The bed of the truck had two big recliners. A stepladder was placed at the end for climbing aboard.

After finishing the reception line, Groom and Bride climbed aboard the truck amid shouts and good natured banter, for the drive to the other side of town, for the reception dinner at the VFW hall. The truck did not go alone. All attendees, None of whom had left yet, climbed into their cars and formed a noisy parade. We were not near the back end, but the truck had turned the corner at the other end of town (six blocks away) before we got our place in line and drove away from the church.

At the corner, six blocks away, was the bank parking lot... decorated... Two huge farm tractors chained nose to nose and decorated with ribbon, streamers, and ribald slogans. At the VFW parking lot were two full size combines chained together in similar manner, with the addition of several pieces of mens and women's underwear dangling from the chains.

For dinner there were three or four choices. (I had the steak.) along with salad, rolls, and dessert... followed by music and dancing. All in all, an event for the ages.

Epilog: The day after THE wedding dawned warm and clear with the promise of another great day. Early risers saw Groom cleaning out his car washes.

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