Dick Hunt's Blog

February 27, 2011

Some Reasonable “Elopements” and Other – Not So Nice Tricks

Filed under: Current — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 11:17 am

Some Reasonable “Elopements” and Other Not So Nice Tricks
by Dick Hunt, February 24th, 2011

When I was ministering in Williams Lake in the 70’s, I was phoned one day by a young chap in Quesnel, B.C. who wanted to know if he could come to see me with his Fiancé  about their coming marriage. I asked him why they would not rather marry in Quesnel and he countered by saying the matter was complicated and they would like to talk it over with me.

They came on Saturday afternoon and laid the whole matter out before me.  They both shared the story with me, they were sure of their ground. He started by saying he was a “Cat Skinner” with a good record of employment, that they had just  finished paying for their pick-up and that his Fiancé  was a good bookkeeper and looked after all their business affairs.  She was 18 he was 21 and they had been going together for three years.   They had bought their building materials during that three years, had bought a building lot out of town a ways, built a cottage, had $800 in savings and lots of plans for the future.  He said they built their house themselves and that there probably wasn’t a square corner in it.  “But it is ours”.

The problem they said, was that both their families were boozers, knew they had some savings and wanted them to throw a party with their $800. “If we marry in Quesnel, they will ruin everything”.  I readily assented to their request to be married in Williams Lake and proceeded to counsel them at length in several sessions.  They finally came with two close friends and we had a quiet little wedding.  They also came a number of times to introduce me to their lovely three babies as they arrived.  They never looked back but lived out their dreams with each other in great harmony, and no booze.  They became active in a Church in Quesnel and I was so happy to be a part of their lives together
The next account concerns a couple both of whom were from old Ranching families in the Chilcotin country 100 miles west of Williams Lake.  They too were mature as people, had gone to school together and had planned their future life  in some detail. I counseled them at length over a period of weeks before their wedding.  They shared with me during that time that the Bride’s Mother was causing them a lot of concern as she insisted on doing all the planning for a very elaborate reception and was inviting a  large number of guests.  They themselves wanted an inexpensive and simple wedding with a much smaller guest list and much less expense.

As time went on we planned together for the pre-marriage  activities and finally set the time for the Friday evening rehearsal. In due course we did the rehearsal, the wedding was to take place at two PM on the Saturday. I was duly prepared to conduct the wedding at the appointed time. However, before noon I had a phone call from the Bridegroom to say they owed me an apology. After the rehearsal the night before, the difference with the Brides Mother became so bitter that the couple got in their car and decided to leave the district altogether and find a Minister somewhere else to conduct the wedding. They had headed south down the Cariboo Highway looking for a minister and had finally found one in Clinton who listened to their story, asked them what counseling they had undertaken and agreed to officiate for them the next morning with “borrowed witnesses from the ministers congregation.  They had their Marriage License and rings with them

I told the Bridegroom there was no need to apologize, and congratulated them for standing by their decision to have a small wedding.  I never did hear what the Mother did with all the guests and no newlyweds.

A man who operated a large building supply  company phoned me about planning his marriage to a local Lady.  He was a member of a Family with deep roots in the community, was around forty years of age and had never married.  I invited him to drop around with his Fiancé.  The town was Williams Lake, B.C.

They too wanted a simple wedding with very few guests and needed my help to avoid undue community attention.  I knew him well as I often shopped in his establishment.  He had been most helpful when I undertook to build all new pews for the Parish Church and I bought all the materials there.

They had a very loyal helper in the man’s younger brother when it came to creating smoke screens and providing  “neutral” transportation, not recognizable as belonging to the Bridegroom.  We proceeded with the counseling very happily, mostly in the evening hours and laid plans carefully in keeping with their wishes.  They provided witnesses who were happy with the precautions for lack of publicity.  We proceeded with the wedding without fanfare in the early afternoon of a weekday.  Everything went according to plan.  They were away on a honeymoon trip with great joy and the business staff were duly informed, with suitable cautions that the boss would be away on a holiday for a few days and they were to take care of the operation.  We remained good friends.

When word leaked out about the new marital status of the company manager,  numbers of people asked me about my part in the matter. I said that they would have to ask the couple as I didn’t reveal classified information.

One area in B.C. that I was responsible for in my area of Vancouver Island when we were in Campbell River was Sayward Valley, 50 miles to the north. Normally in those days, Anglican Church policy  regarding Marriages performed outside the available Church was,  “only  for good and sufficient reason”.  A couple contacted me to arrange for their coming marriage and asked that the service be conducted in a friend’s home in the Community and that the location be kept from the public. I asked them why that should be.  They confided that the bride to be who was of the full age of 21 years had been a Jehovah’s Witness from a young age and had recently become a Christian in the Anglican Church.  They wanted to avoid a serious conflict that had become very critical about her even considering to leave the Jehovah’s Witness’ who had made it clear that they would attend the service if there was one and would stop the proceedings by any means necessary.  I had no difficulty in that case in getting the approval to conduct the service in the friend’s  home.  The couple was happily married and away on their honeymoon without any further conflict at that point.

When we were in Stettler Alberta in the early days of my Ministry, a couple came to see me about their marriage with a slightly similar difficulty.  The Bride to be was very troubled in that her parents were very angry that she had “chosen unwisely” in the person of her husband to be.  They were both 27 years of age.  The girl was a Registered Nurse, and very beautiful.  The man was  “just a truck driver” and had once spent a short time in jail for driving under the influence of alcohol.  He had learned his lesson well and no longer drank alcohol.   The father refused absolutely to attend the wedding.  The Mother and young son attended but sat at the very back of the Church.  The estrangement lasted for just over a year, when the daughter gave birth to her first child. The baby brought them all back together in beautiful harmony.  The Daddy was now welcome  in the family.

When my youngest brother and his wife were married in the Town Of Okotoks, Alberta, they heard strong rumours about tampering plans regarding their honeymoon car.  Given  first hand knowledge of that little trick, I was asked to collaborate in hiding the car previous to the wedding.  The plan was that after the reception when the Bride and Groom were ready to leave on their honeymoon, their car was nowhere to be seen.  But they just happened to have the key to my car in their pocket and used it instead when they left. I then hitched a ride to the car port in which their car was hidden, thanked the homeowner who was party to the ruse and we drove off to the rendezvous point to swap cars .  It worked well.

I have seen many tricks over the years played on Bridegroom’s cars, some of which were cruel. The worst was when pranksters wired a rainbow trout under the exhaust manifold of the target car where it could not be seen. Some miles down the road  they smelled fish. Opening the hood, they still did not detect the trout and resumed their trip. The matter got worse and worse until the whole interior of the car smelled putrid. Eventually a mechanic put the car up on a hoist and discovered the problem. But the rotten fish odor stayed in the car for months and almost destroyed their Honeymoon travels.

A simple but not so cruel trick has been to jack up the back end of the car and put two blocks under the axle, just raising the tires off the pavement which does not alter the appearance of the car  Naturally, the car won’t move no matter how avidly the driver accelerates the motor.  Another trick I witnessed after a wedding was that the couple found that their car had been packed full of rumpled up newsprint form the local  Publishers shop where the bridegroom worked.  It took a good while before they removed it all and a good bonfire was the result. But no lasting harm resulted.

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