Wedding Road Trip, Part 3: Of Bullets and Brides

For those of you just joining:  We’re driving to Chicago for my cousin’s wedding.  No, my other cousin.  Also, there will be no weather in this narrative.  The weather was fine, with only a few embarrassed clouds.  For the purposes of our driving descriptions, you should feel free to fill in whatever weather you prefer.  I’ll try to remind you where to fill them in, for those of you who require a little climate control in your narrative.  We resume our story on Saturday morning, as we prepare for the wedding later that afternoon.

Saturday dawned ugly, which wouldn’t be an issue except for the part where the wedding was to be held outside at 4:30 in the afternoon.  We headed into the city and waited out the storm visiting with friends.  After eating more than any five people can or should before noon, we made our fond farewells and headed back to get ready.  Once ready, we drove to the wedding – which while not actually in Wyoming, it could have been, based on the distance.  Also, once we found it, it was next to a Wild West Rodeo and Kids Ranch, which lent some credence to the idea that we were, in fact, in Wyoming, just north of Cheyenne.  We weren’t, but it was far enough away from Chicago that we had to pipe in our own Katy Perry songs.

The wedding was set up to be outside on a covered porch on the back of the reception hall, which looked out onto a vast, beautiful, and likely still very wet lawn, open on three sides.  The guests took their chairs, the music started, and Number One Son started to slowly go crazy in his seat – he hates insects, and he’s not wild about being outdoors at all.  I handed him my hat, in the hopes that it would distract him and allow him to fan away the occasional fly – and there were a few, but not enough to make anyone other than him really notice.  He grabbed the hat and shut his mouth, which was all I was really after, and we proceeded to watch the bridal party come down the aisle, the men in their finest new sneakers, the ladies in heels high enough to be illegal in other states, and all of them looking great.

We got the groom down the aisle, the bride and her father down the aisle, and the bride’s hand given to said groom, and the pastor began to speak of the wonders of married life.  He talked about marrying your best friend, about keeping your relationship new, and about two lives becoming one.  He talked about uniting this couple in the light of Jesus.

That’s when the shooting started.

The gunshots came from over on the bride’s side, and we all jumped and looked as we listened to multiple shots fired from at least two guns, a .45 and .38 by the sound of them, and then a third that might have been a shotgun.  After a brief interlude of about 30 or 40 rounds in about 20 seconds, there was a moment of silence, into which the pastor looked off toward the Wild West Rodeo and Kids Ranch encampment, bowed his head solemnly, and intoned, “I think they got him.”

The bride and groom wrote their own vows, which were beautiful and luckily did not include any of my advice for same. (“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of wife of the BUMD’s cousin Drew, and will, to the best of my ability, love him and keep him fed and watered.”)  During the remainder of the service and ceremony, we heard continual, albeit random, gunplay from the other side.  SOBUMD’s reaction to hearing the shots and bangs was to assume that god had realized I was in something like a church – let’s just say the empirical evidence is on her side and leave it at that, shall we?

My cousin Susan was thrilled with the idea – she decided that when and if she gets married, she’s incorporating the guns right into her vows: “Do you promise to hold her, in good times and in bad, we talked about this, right, don’t make me take the safety off this thing, we talked about this, good times and in bad, you promise, that’s it (bang!), I’ve had it, I fuckin’ told you, love, honor, and OBEY, bitch (bang!), we TALKED about this…”  Not sure I’d have the courage to marry her myself, but I’d love to watch that ceremony.

Then there was an hour between the end of the ceremony and the start of the reception, presumably so they could consummate the wedding right away.  Given how long the bride waited for my cousin to figure out that she’s perfect, I can’t blame her a bit.  No backing out now, Drew!

Number One Son Takes Aim

Number One Son Takes Aim

After the ceremony, Number One Son wanted to go see the guns next door, so we moseyed on over there and got a short tour of some hombre’s six-shooter.  Since he wasn’t able to actually hold the gun, which we were assured held no bullets (the hombre showed us the empty chambers), Number One Son contented hisownself with showing a few milk canisters what it means to be on the business side of a bow and arrow.  He acquitted himself well from a distance of about 18 inches.

I Can Still Taste the Wedding Cake; Ain't It Sweet After All These Years

"Ain't It Sweet After All These Years"

Following the ceremony and consummation, there was a delightful dinner, drinks, cake, and dancing.  As if I weren’t impressed enough, the first dance was to Queen, and the Father-Daughter dance was to Led Zeppelin.  My cousin has married well.

Since at this point the three lunatic children were moving from the best behaved children at the place to the worst behaved children at the place, we decided that discretion was the better part of valor and that we’d better get them out for the three-and-a-half hour trip back to the hotel.  (It’s probably worth noting that they were the only children in the place.)

On the way back, as we drove through whatever the weather was like, Number One Son spent a few minutes telling us about how things would be at his wedding, which we assumed to be hypothetical until he told us, “Yeah, which will probably be to Emily Washername, in my class last year.  She’s the only person who could help me calm down.”  SOBUMD and I looked at each other, pole-axed: There’s an Emily?  News to us.  News to her, too, is our guess, but hey.  We made the hotel in record time, falling to sleep with dreams of bullets, brides, and booze.

Next up:  The Reigning Queen of Pink turns nine, and there’s nothing you can do to stop her!

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