Clang, clang-clang-clang-clang. The bridal march had begun. Ella walked slowly up the aisle, blushing, with head held down. Meanwhile, Jed stood with his massive arms crossed, looking at his bride-to-be with a twinkling smile that lit up his tanned, broad, fresh-shaven face.
“Who do I say has given this lady?” the parson asked, looking archly above his round spectacles.
“Her mother and I,” the bride’s father spoke softly.
Ella finished the few steps ahead with a skip, pausing with one foot behind the other, stalk-still. And thus the official ceremony began. There was a pause, then a shrill voice accompanied the clunking piano, behind the bridal party.
Clunk, clunk, a pause...then–
“Let me call you sweetheart,” sang the piercingly high voice, “I’m in love with you.
“Let me hear you whisper, saying I love you…
“Let me–call–you–sweet–heart—I’m in–love–with—you!”
Another pause, then–
“Through health or sickness, through riches or poverty, for better or worse–
“Jed, will you take this lady to be your lawful wedded wife?”
“Huh?” Jed puckered his rather thick lips roundly, pushing his thick brows close together. “Why you asking me that? I’m wearing a suit...I combed my hair...I washed my teeth, haven’t I? Huh.” Then, under his breath, shrugging, “Whatever.”
The parson looked at him squarely and evenly above his spectacles.
“Ask Ella, she’ll know.” And Jed turned to Ella, shaking his head in sheer puzzlement.
“Yes?” the parson raised an eye inquiringly.
“Well,” Ella began, twirling and twisting her bouquet, nervously. “Jed did say–a few months ago–uh-uh–that if he ever–” she paused, looking wildly around at the sea of faces. “If he ever married,” she continued, taking a huge breath, “that he’d wear his suit, comb his hair, and wash his teeth. That’s what Jed says.”
Meanwhile, Jed was staring with a shaking head at the twirling and wrinkling bouquet.
“Ella,” he noted in his practical way. “That bouquet cost me money. Don’t mess it up, sweetheart.”
Immediately, the wrenching bouquet halted to a quaking stand-still.
“Now, Ella, will you take this man to be your lawful wedded husband?” the parson directed to the paled girl.
Ella remained silent, only blinking up at the parson.
“Why you asking her for?” Jed spoke up at last, with a puzzled cock of his head. “I already know she said ‘yes’. That’s good enough. Huh. I already have the dowry. She can’t back out now. Huh.” he ended, with a serious re-cock.
“What kind of dowry?” the parson’s brows shot up in surprise, eyes perfect circles.
“A two-man chainsaw!” said Ella brightly, now managing a huge smile in the face of the throng of spectators.
“Yeah,” Jed nodded, smiling pleased. “I got it, alright. Sure as the world orbits in motion. Now let’s get on with this ‘suit-ly affair’. Huh.”
“Alright,” the parson took a deep breath. “Join your right hand. Place it on this bible.”
The couple placed their hands on the opened bible. Then, the parson prayed over them.
“You can ‘ring the finger’ now.”
Ella poked and poked, until she became quite flushed with effort and event. Jed tried several times, but the ring would stick two fingers together, instead of only the third finger.
Ella managed to push again, with all her might. Jed’s finger pinched and reddened.
“I think we have the wrong rings, Jed.” Ella piped up in a very small voice. “The dealer said there is a 30-day return for wrong rings. Evidently this is the case.”
“Evidently,” Jed shook his head, quite baffled, then a smile broke across his entire face. “I think we just have each others rings, that’s all. Huh. We’ll trade.”
And so the simple trade was heartily made, Ella blushing all the while.
After the mistake had been mended it was time for Jed to lift the veil. This he done with an impatient yank, ripping a large hole.
“This sure gets in the way!” he declared in his practical tone. “ I wonder why they ever made such flimsy, useless head-coverings. Huh.”
He paused, smiling down at Ella’s red face.
“Huh. Cute. Huh. Huh.”
He stood there for a few moments, nodding his head with a cock.
“You may kiss the bride,” the parson said crisply, now quite impatient.
“Huh?” Jed inquired, one brow shooting up. “You only do that in movies. Huh.”
The congregation tried to stifle a chuckle, but the titter came just the same in a low rumble.
“Well,” Jed shrugged, unmoved. “Aren’t you going to ‘pronounce’ us? Huh?”
The parson took a deep breath, and despite a purple face, announced clearly,
“I now pronounce you man and wife. This is now officially Jedidiah and Ella Gordels.
“You may kiss the bride,” added the parson with crisp nod.
The groom turned to the bride, shaking his bewildered head. “Come on, Ella. Let’s go before we make a scene. Huh.” He added under his breath, “Movie stuff. Huh. Not me!”
Ella hooked her groom’s arm and started down the aisle, her veil ripped and askew. Jed wore a huge smile all the while. They descended the aisle skipping with rapid speed in time to “Merrily, Merrily, Life Is But A Dream”.
And so Jedidiah and Ella Gordels’ wedding was complete.
“Didn’t I tell you so?” Wendy told the bridal party smartly, twinkling a smile, as she swished past them in her rippling night-blue gown. Her matchmaking plan had worked! So had her prediction of the uncommonly ceremony to be before it happened.
She had a permanent grin on her face as she hooked Joed’s arm, and merrily galloped down the aisle. She stopped short at the entrance door of the church, a very windy object catching her attention and blowing her full skirts. It was Danny Harvey’s helicopter and...the newly married couple were stepping inside it! How dare they–before the receiving line?
“Wait!” Wendy called, holding her skirt with one hand, and waving the other. “You can’t leave now! What about the receiving line? Wait!”
Jed only stuck his head out the window, yelling above the noisy vehicle, “That’s ‘movie stuff’–receiving lines and all that! We’ll stop by at the reception. Don’t worry. We’ll be back!”
With that the helicopter door slammed shut, and away they went...gliding into the light summer air. Wendy stood there, utterly stunned and awed at the same moment.
“What will I tell them?” she wondered aloud, referring “them” as the bridal party as well as the spectators. “I didn’t expect this to happen!”
“Well,” Joed watched the departing helicopter with a slow smile. “You never can tell what Jed will do–he just does what comes to his mind, without a winking pause. I guess Ella will just have to put up with him...is all I can say. She’ll have her hands full...”
“I guess...” Wendy agreed laughingly, letting the sentence hang in the air like the departing helicopter.
“Huh.” Joed chuckled, shaking his head. Right then, the rest of the bridal party came out.
“Why you standing there and staring?” Harold asked with a practical Gordels air. “Shouldn’t you be lined up as you should?”
“With who?” Wendy and Joed asked with a chuckling grin.
“The bride and groom, of course.” Harold pushed his thick brows together in a puzzled frown.
“We can’t fly, can we?” Wendy shook her bouquet wildly and pointed it to the cloudless sky. “They’re up there–in Danny Harvey’s helicopter! They simply disappeared–just like that!”
The bridal party gasped in horror.
“What about the receiving line?” cried Peggy with mouth hanging open.
“Jed said that was ‘all movie stuff’!” Wendy explained wryly, giving her bouquet another fierce shake. “He said they’ll stop by at the reception–his exact words!”
“Why didn’t you stop them?” Peggy hit her bouquet against her leg, her mouth still a perfect O.
“I tried!” Wendy said with fiery emphasis, rattling her limp bouquet once more. “But Jed just said what I told you and–they left! I’m deeply agitated at this inconvenience, aren’t you?”
“Deeply,” Peggy nodded solemnly, closing her mouth.
“I guess,” put in practical Harold, cocking his head, “this will be a wedding to remember.”
“A wedding,” emphasized Wendy, swinging her floppy bouquet like an anvil, “to long remember!”
And what do you think happened? Jed and Ella didn’t show up at their reception, but went straight to White Sands, New Mexico, while Wendy and Joed bit their nails all evening, waiting for Jed to keep his word.