Let My Laughter Resound!
THE WEDDING DAY WITH MANY CACKLING CHICKENS!
It was on one of those hot summer afternoons – a scorching summer afternoon. It was a very sparsely attended wedding, held in the small sanctuary where I had preached every Sunday for several years. I hardly knew the couple who were scheduled on this day to exchange their wedding vows. It was a couple, probably in their early 20’s. It might have been through mutual friends that I was contacted to conduct the simple ceremony.
The day of the wedding had finally arrived. As brides usually are, this young bride was very beautiful, with her traditional long gown highlighting the afternoon wedding. Only a handful of friends were in attendance, to be witnesses to this important life-changing event. Hopefully, it would be a once-only event. After the wedding, unfortunately, I never had further contact with this couple.
As I stood before this young couple, ready to give my blessing to them (through the repetition of a few familiar historic words and a few quotations from the Scriptures), I personally noticed that the atmosphere of the sanctuary seemed rather ‘stuffy’ and rather ‘hot’! I soon learned that I was not the only one who sensed that the scorching heat from the out-of-doors. The intense heat was, apparently, making its way into the atmosphere of the church room where the ceremony was being conducted.
When I was fervently conducting the ceremony – carefully and thoughtfully reading the beautiful words regarding the sanctity of marriage – I glanced at the couple who was standing before me in such a dignified manner. The next thing I saw was most disturbing! The bride began to slightly move her body from one side to the other side – back and forth!
It was not her father, but it was the man (like a father to this bride) – the man who ‘gave her away’ earlier in the ceremony – who was keenly aware of the ‘critical situation’! He rushed from the second pew to the front of the sanctuary where the bride was tottering, and he caught her just before her head hit the hard church floor. He rescued her from a serious injury, just in time!
During the few previous minutes, when the bride was becoming so weak that she finally fainted, the groom did not realize what was transpiring. As he was carefully listening to the words of the ceremony, he was oblivious to the condition of his bride.
When the bride fell backwards in a ‘dead faint’, and when the man (who gave her away) caught her, this startled and stunned groom finally ‘gathered his senses’ to the point of going to his bride (as she lay on the floor, in the center isle of the sanctuary)! He frantically carried her to the front pew of the church, and he laid her out on the pew. (I was trying to keep my composure, in my established position, and I said a few words, salting those words with a little humor).
After he (and a few others) stretched the bride out on the front pew, the groom frantically dashed down the center isle of the church, and he quickly found some paper towels which he soaked with water, and then he dashed back to where his bride was beginning to ‘come to’. He applied the wet towels to her beautiful face.
This entire fiasco took place within only a few minutes (maybe 5 minutes), and, fortunately, the bride again took her place beside her groom. In spite of this happening (her fainting), the bride looked as beautiful now as before the ‘crisis’!
The wedding reception was held in a semi-country setting, located in the out-of-doors. Informality would be the word to describe both the wedding ceremony and the wedding reception. As I mentioned earlier, there were only a few friends and relatives in attendance at both the wedding and the reception.
The location for the reception was very close to a large shed – a shed that ‘housed’ hundreds and hundreds of chickens! Possibly, the man who acted as the ‘giving father’ at the wedding owned this huge ‘chicken farm’.
On my way to the out-door reception (which was, close in location to where the chicken farm was established), I say, on my way to the reception area, I was given an enthusiastic invitation to view (that is, to walk through) the large building that ‘housed’ the myriad of chickens! I had never walked through such a building, so I graciously consented to have a ‘tour’ through this amazing place!
Dressed in my best suit (for the wedding ceremony), I sensed a strange contrast (a dissonance) between the neatness and the dignity of my wedding attire, and the wildness and dirtiness of hundreds of chickens chirping and cackling loudly, as I passed hundreds of towering racks – racks from which the hundreds of chickens were making their needed ‘deposits’ (good fertilizer!).
To the guide, I expressed my ‘awe and wonderment’ that there could be such an amazing place – a remarkable business! I told the guide (who was a part of the wedding company) that he was gracious to take his time to show me this unique place! (l was secretly hoping that my beautiful wedding suit would not be the recipient of some ‘deposits’!).
After what seemed like a rather long tour through the chicken ‘house’ (even though, in reality, it did not consume that much time), I proceeded (like a gentleman) to the lawn area where the reception was already in progress.
Even though I noticed that it was a rather ‘strange’ thing – that is, that there were two lines that led to two different punch bowls, I got into one of the short lines, to take my turn to get a ‘drink’ of punch. After I drank a cup of punch, I decided that I would like to have another drink of that particular (delicious) punch. I still could not figure out why there were two lines and two bowls of punch.
At that point (as I had made a decision to get some more punch from the same bowl from which I had just had a drink), someone came quickly to me (the minister), and this person suggested that I was drinking from the wrong punch bowl. This person urged me to take punch from the other punch bowl. I responded that I really liked the taste of punch from the bowl from which I had just been served, and that I would like another drink of that ‘delicious punch’!
I sometimes, admittedly, am a ‘little slow in comprehension and in communication’! It finally ‘dawned on me’ why this person was urging me to go to the other bowl, why she told me that I did not want the punch from that particular bowl from which I had just been served. That punch, from that particular bowl, was spiked with alcohol!
Can you imagine how I felt – the minister who had just performed a wedding ceremony, a minister who had never tasted alcohol, a minister who had taught the young persons never to indulge in alcohol – I say, can you imagine a minister (namely, me) being very pleased with the taste of a spiked punched, and that he wanted another drink of that particular ‘punch’!
Considering all the wedding ceremonies and all the receptions that I have been a part of, this simple and unpredictable wedding ceremony, followed by a reception that had the marks of ‘uniqueness’ – a tour through a huge chicken shed, followed by the surprise that the minister was partaking of ‘exciting’ spiked punch – I say, considering all my previous experiences, it is easy to classify this over-all wedding ‘event’ as very ‘odd’, even very ‘laughable’!
One of the most unusual episodes in the ‘life of the pastorate’! I can’t help but ‘laugh’ when I think back of all the ‘twists and turns’, of all the unanticipated ‘happenings’ of that particular hot summer day! Thank God, the bride was not hurt, and no one else was hurt during those strange afternoon happenings, so I believe I have the liberty to have a ‘good laugh’ – a ‘good laugh’ when I allow my mind to take me on a little trip back to a happy (but odd) event, all dramatized on one hot summer afternoon.
I can’t get into the ‘small heads of chickens’, but I am going to think that the loud noises of the myriads of cackling chickens were the loud noises of chickens that were celebrating the happiness of that wedding day! I know that is a ‘crazy’ idea, but why not be ‘crazy’ sometimes? Ha! There surely must be some reason why God placed that chicken shed so close to the wedding reception!
Why would l, who believe in total abstinence (abstinence from all alcoholic beverages) be so ‘satisfied’ with spiked punch – and liked that spiked punch so much that I wanted a second glass? How odd! How very odd! How could I not even discern the taste of alcohol? What was wrong with my taste buds on that day? How could I be so naive? Was I still upset that the bride fainted, and nearly hit her head against the hard floor?
Was I continuing to think of those hundreds of chickens which I just viewed? Was the cackling sound from those hundreds of chickens still resounding (echoing) in my head? Was I still stunned with the series of ‘odd’ experiences of this day? Was I still contemplating what the injuries would have been if that man had not seen the fainting bride, and if she would have hit her head on that hard church floor? How could l, a minister of the Gospel, who has always been repulsed by the very smell of alcohol, be so attracted (on that summer afternoon) to the taste of ‘spiked punch’? l, who think that some persons around me are ‘odd’, have to admit, in my honest thoughts, that I too sometimes think I am ‘odd’! l, too, am also (at times) a rather ‘strange’ human being, definitely ‘unique’ and ‘one of a kind’ person! Are you, too?
“Biblical Foundation For The Sanctity Of Human Life!”