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Marrying My Wife

February 12, 2013

This is another excerpt from my first book, From Sharecropper’s Son to Tracking Missiles.” I have lowered the price of the digital version of my book on Kindle. This is a little story about our wedding, when so many things went wrong, but one thing went right – we were married.

Dad always said he would not perform the wedding ceremony for any of his children. He did not want to perform the ceremony and then have one of us divorce. He did perform the ceremony for some of the grandchildren. As it turns out, none of Dad’s children have divorced. We had a previous pastor, Jack Watson, perform the ceremony.

If it can go wrong it will and it did on our wedding day—first one thing and then another; crisis after crisis.

Billie was a sharecropper’s daughter and her father did not want a fancy church wedding. We decided to have the wedding in my parent’s house, the parsonage.

We knew that most of the church members would show up, so Mom planned a reception. Her oldest son was getting married and she wanted everything perfect. She borrowed a punch bowl, although she had never used one in her life.

First crisis, Mom mixed Kool-Aid punch in a large pickle jar. She put ice in the empty punch bowl and asked me to pour the punch into the bowl. Just as I began to pour we heard, Cra-a-ack. A large crack appeared in the punch bowl. I stopped pouring.

Mom wrapped her arms around the bowl trying to hold it together. It was a funny sight; Mom trying to hold the punch bowl together with punch all over the table and dripping on the floor. With tears streaming from her eyes Mom sobbed, “What are we going to do? I wanted everything to be just right.”

I put my arms around Mom’s shoulders and told her, “Its okay, we can serve punch from the tea pitcher. We’ve never used a punch bowl before. Why start now?” We cleaned up the mess and made more punch.

Second crisis, a family friend was going to take pictures. His camera used roll film, which had to be advanced while watching for numbers in a small window on the back of the camera. When he loaded the film, he advanced the film continuously and never saw any numbers in the small window. He opened the camera and found that he had turned the roll over and the emulsion was to the back of the camera. He had wasted the roll of film. He’d only brought one roll of film.

We had planned the wedding for 7 p.m. It was now 6:30 and he would have to drive eight miles into town to buy another roll of film. Billie had not arrived yet and I was beginning to wonder if she had backed out. I said, “Go ahead. We can delay the wedding a few minutes, if we have to.”

Third crisis, my favorite uncle, an alcoholic, drove up just as the friend headed for town. My uncle had been on a binge and when he returned home found out that I was getting married. He loaded his family into the car and drove from Texas to our place in Oklahoma. Dad was embarrassed and upset because my uncle had shown up half-drunk, but did not say anything.

I led my uncle to a back room, poured some black coffee down him, and helped get him dressed for the wedding. I had to tie his tie because he could not manage it. By the time we came back to the front of the house, I don’t think any of the church members knew that he had been drinking. The friend returned with the film just as Billie and her family drove in.

The wedding began only 15 minutes late. Brother Jack Watson concluded the wedding ceremony with, “I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.” I was a married man after knowing my wife for less than four months.

My grandparents were present for the wedding of their oldest grandchild. Granny Grunt told Billie, “The Bible says that the man is the head of the family. BUT, I am telling you that the woman is the neck. The man can’t make a move without the woman.”

Dad told my wife that if something happened and we split, it would be my fault so she could come to them. Billie’s parents made a similar statement to me. We each became a son or daughter in the other’s family.

After starting with everything going wrong, one thing went right; we became husband and wife.


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