Robert Hitt Neill Column

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2008

‘Tis the season of wedding pranks

We’re coming up on the season for weddings, as well as of course anniversaries. By the time you read this, Betsy and I will be just days from celebrating our own 44th Anniversary, in fact!

Those many years ago, I had just graduated from Ole Miss and had been commissioned a U.S. Navy Officer, then three days (and nine stitches!) later, we got married.

My groomsmen – brother, cousin, fraternity brothers – passed the word that they had dire plans for capturing me and anointing various places with unwashable  iodine.

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We enlisted my Godfathers, Uncle Sam and Frank Tindall, secreted a car with dummy luggage in the hedges behind the church as a decoy, then made a clean getaway with Uncle Sam transporting us to the real Honeymoon car (Momma’s Buick Wildcat) while Frank blocked the narrow street.

Six years later, I was Best Man (it’s in the Bible somewhere that the Best Man must be on the Groom’s side in these matters) at Br’er Beau’s wedding, and with a carload of groomsmen in pursuit, followed Beau and Marion to duplicate Frank’s feat of blocking the street.  

However, a train happened to be coming down the tracks at exactly the right time (they have schedules, you know) and I scooted across the tracks barely missing the cowcatcher, leaving the fuming groomsmen frustrated. Although I was severely upbraided by my own bride for cutting my crossing so fine, I pointed out that no chrome was lost off our back bumper.

Little John and I stood as groomsmen for a friend of ours, and managed to lock a 23-pound ball and chain around Jimmy’s ankle at the reception. We then let him see us pitch the key down the storm drain outside the church, though of course we had entrusted a second key to his father, with whom we had cleared the stunt beforehand.

Mi’ter Mo’ let Jimmy and Susan sweat it right up until Honeymoon time before releasing them. Little John and I learned later that we probably should have cleared our plans through Miz Mo’!  I’ve seen the trick work twice since then, too.

Recently I heard from a friend about another wedding trick that was forestalled by that old Tool of Satan, a computer and the Internet (which is “Ten Satans” spelt backwards, using the Hasmatic Code from II Hezikiah). I’ll need to change some facts to protect the innocent here, mind you.

This friend’s husband’s brother’s son will soon be wed in a state north of here, and the family of course plans to attend en mass: mother, father, boy and girl under teenage.

When the Lady of the House inquired as to their accommodations for the event, she was informed that her husband’s brother, the father of the groom, had taken care of that, so she didn’t have to worry about it.

Where would they be staying, she wanted to know.

“My brother has made us reservations at a really nice place,” was the patient reply.  “He says it’s kind of a natural setting, a little outside of town, and that we’ll enjoy it there.”

He went back to reading the paper until she wanted to know what the place was called.

“I don’t remember what he said,” he shrugged trustingly.

Further interruption produced, “Oh, seems like it was Haven of Rest, or something like that. Don’t worry about it, okay? He says we’re really going to enjoy staying there.”

This friend had maybe gained occasion to question her brother-in-law’s judgment, so she still felt the need for more information about their reserved rooms. She knows how to use computers and the Internet (see warning above), so she sat down and started a search, using keywords in the areas close to the city where their nephew’s wedding was to take place. Her suspicion was well-founded.

They did indeed have reservations at an accommodation in a natural setting.

It was a nudist camp.

It will undoubtedly be a wonderful wedding celebration. However, the father of the Groom will undoubtedly be disappointed. Dadblame that Internet!