Happy Corner: Horseback wedding

You know how we plan family weddings and what detail we go to make the affair as “nice†as we can. This was true of our daughter’s wedding in 1980 when she married Orrin Webb and moved to a large ranch in southwest Florida where he was in charge of the cattle production and the crew who worked them. 

She worked in the office. I heard her description of this wedding which she performed for a couple on the ranch, but I can’t do it justice. This is a copy of her description of the experience which she wrote in a letter to her Aunt Gail who was planning a ceremony for her second wedding.

Because this ranch did a lot of leases, vegetable growers, hunting leases, honey production, watermelon growers and etc. Cindy the office manager had a notary license to handle the lease agreements. The following is a reprint of her letter to Gail, my youngest sister.  Cindy’s characters rival any of Carl Hiassen’s work of fiction.

Did you hear that I performed my first wedding ceremony? It was hilarious. 

One of the guys on Orrin’s cow crew came to the house to see if Orrin’s father would ‘marry them two yahoos.’ Orrin told him that Sankey was no longer a Notary, but maybe Cindy would do it, so he brings Stanley in to ask Cindy. 

With him standing there face to face, she couldn’t refuse.  After he left, though, Orrin really took some punishment. To make the event even more exciting the “yahoos†(bride and groom) wanted to be married on horseback at the bride’s home.

Home was your typical white trash trailer dwelling…a trailer surrounded by old boats, washing machines, cars, etc. The trailer has most of the windows knocked out and the doors just barely on the hinges, if at all.

The bride and groom wore matching boots, jeans, and of course cowboy hats.  The groom had seldom been o a horse, so he was in danger of falling off during the whole ceremony (“So Help Me I’m Fallingâ€).

The mother of the bride (who incidentally, was reported to be having a heart attack just prior to the ceremony) did not have on any shoes nor was her combed. She wore some old jeans with an old shirt with the shirt tail out. The whole family was there and what a crew they were. Worse than the Wells clan ever thought of being, which some would find that hard to believe.

The father of the bride rode out to where the wedding guest and the groom were assembled under a lone pine tree and the ceremony began. This being my first wedding I was a bit nervous, you understand. I started the vows, looked around, and here comes the mother tearing out there screaming, “wait! wait! I want to hear them vows.”

I stopped and waited until she got there then went on with it. Luckily, the bride finished a drag on her cigarette before saying I do without it falling out of her mouth. Then I pronounced them man and wife and they kissed for about ten minutes.

Then it was time for the wedding feast and the toast to the bride and groom. They had two picnic tables set up amid ant beds and tall weeds. A pretty wedding cake was brought out and the bride and groom were cutting the traditional piece for each other, only instead of feeding each other, they were throwing it at each other. I thought that was a nice touch. 

You might want to incorporate that into your reception, Gail.

Then they brought out the wedding food, a wild boar hog, potato salad, baked beans and rolls. A veritable ptomaine feast with trichinosis for the main course.

Meanwhile, in the back of the trailer, the dogs were having their own feast. Somebody had thrown the carcass of the hog from the feast out for the dogs to enjoy at the same time alongside the guests

Needless to say, Cindy and Orrin had business elsewhere and were unable to stay for the festivities.

Hazel Tison is a columnist for Washington County News.