There Went The Bride
by Calendar Hacksaw
Our granddaughter, Persephone, is in the final months of flunking out of high school, and came home last week dragging a homework assignment much like a pet cat might drag a dead lizard to your bed: beaming with pride and searching for approval. I rolled over and looked at Betty, who rolled over and looked at me, and then we both just rolled our eyes. Whenever 'Percy' looks excited about her school work, we know it's gonna cost us some money and lost sleep.
This time, the assignment was from her "Adult Living" class, where she was directed to go out into the adult world of shopping malls and plan her own wedding, even though she ain't got no fella so far, and no prospect of finding one, near as I can tell. But she wisely asked for my help, knowing that if it ever became a reality ol' Calendar would be the one footing the bill for the entire affair, although "affair" is probably the wrong word to use in this context.
So, Percy and me sat on the rotten log out back by the abandoned dishwasher and discussed what I remembered to be the essential ingredients of a successful wedding, and how we might pull it off for a set amount of money; say $100 tops.
I'd read in the Fence Post about some of the fancy weddings in Walker Basin, with bride and groom arriving on horseback and taking their vows beneath towering oak trees, and knew we couldn't afford anything like that unless we could get free use of the lawn in front of the glue factory. The last time I checked my "estate," I couldn't find any evidence of horses or oak trees. The only alternative would be to improvise.
If my memory serves me correctly, the most important event leading up to the wedding ceremony is the bachelor party, and Percy's unnamed suitor deserves only the best. After giving it a good deal of thought, I chose the cocktail lounge of the Hotel Padre in downtown Bakersfield, where we could count on Percy's nuptuals getting a good deal of free newspaper coverage from the Californian, since it seems to serve as a "break room" for much of the editorial staff. Besides, the last time I was stuck down there talking to the "Girl In The Glass Bathtub" I noticed quite a few attractive single women making polite conversation with the male patrons, and I respect a place where "you're never a stranger for long."
Percy said she would need to buy a marriage license, so I sent her inside to call the County and find out how much that would be, figuring it might eat up $8 of our budget. She came back in a few minutes with tears in her eyes, and said the permit would cost $68. I started to cry. I thought about how many fishing licenses $68 would buy. Well, maybe only two, but I think a couple should learn to fish together before they tie the knot anyway.
Since we're Amish most of the time, I told Percy to sew her own wedding dress, and gladly supplied her with 3-1/2 yards of lightweight duck left over from making the boat cover, suggesting she put the stains on the inside so they wouldn't show so much. Her tears of joy at this act of generosity were almost more than I could bear.
We both leaned toward having an outdoor affair, so after a good deal of debate I settled on the refuse collection point behind the (Fill-In-The-Blank) Sand Canyon Bar and Grill, since there's loads of room for dancing, and plenty of trash cans. Plus, it's only an eighth of a mile to the bar, in case anyone wants to buy a drink or some food or use the toilet. I think convenience goes a long way toward making your honored wedding guests comfortable.
Percy was surprised to learn that the bridegroom's parents would probably expect a dowry, and it took a while for me to explain the concept. With any luck at all, the guy's dad will settle for the old Merc outboard, since I don't need it anymore, and the mother-in-law will have to make due with some spare parts from an M-1 carbine. She might be able to unload 'em at the gun show if she doesn't price 'em too high.
And what good's a wedding without an ocean cruise honeymoon? Well, we made a special trip down to the Greyhound depot and looked at all the travel brochures, and found one of the great bargains of all time! The Balboa Island Ferry! Heck, the dang thing runs from the mainland of Newport Beach to the upscale resort of Balboa Island 24-hours a day, 365 days a year, and the fare's only 35-cents if you don't bring a car! And gosh knows, Percy and Whatshisname sure ain't gonna have no car! They can ride that cruise ship back and forth all morning long for a $5 bill, then hitchhike back to where they pitched their tent!
So, Percy and me put all this down on paper, and gave it the good once-over. We noticed a few things we'd overlooked, like the ceremony, but all the major events were there, and it looked like we pulled it off under budget.
But some things just aren't meant to be. And after a good deal of thought, and a lot of soul-searching, Percy decided that it might be a good idea if she changed her mind about flunking out of high school. She thinks there just might be something to be learned from this "Adult Living" class, and she'll stick around long enough to find out.
Next week's homework assignment: Birth Control.
Time for ol' Calendar to go fishing, I guess.
Calendar Hacksaw's e-mail addresses are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and he'd love to hear from you, especially if you've got a dang good bluegrass band that's willing to play a wedding for tips.