With a Blue Heeler as Ring Bearer

One year after the 20-year high school reunion, a couple of classmates become lifemates in rural Texas. Break out the Dr. Pepper!

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Driving out from the house where I grew up to Powderly, Texas, on a recent  Saturday for a friend’s wedding, I was struck by the afternoon’s inherent, late summer sweetness. An early cool front brought both a dip in the temperature and a cool, gentle breeze. Sunlight shot through the green trees, now sturdier and statelier than I remembered.
 
The way I figured, it had been almost twenty years since I’d been on that stretch of US Hwy 271. If memory serves me now, my mother and I made a trip up it to Hugo the summer prior to the dark incident at the Wal-Mart back in December ’93. A lot’s changed since then. In those days, the trees were scrawnier and my bangs much taller. As one of my friends says, much credit to ozone depletion should be given to us Texas gals and our hairspray. (Not sure if anyone has thought to guilt us all into carbon credits to offset our ‘80s and early ‘90s Aqua Net use, but it’s a thought.)
 
Seeing as I’ve been a friend of the bride since the mid-‘70s (she’s got a photo of us in our Brownie troop gear as proof), there was nothing short of a rising creek or a tornado that would have prevented me from attending this particular ceremony. A few days later, the stealth hurricane christened “Hermine” would deliver both to the area, but for her wedding, Tisha scored the prettiest day imaginable. Mother Nature, it seems, gave her blessing to the union from the get-go.

So did many of our fellow classmates, a few of whom were in attendance at the nuptials. You see, the bride and groom reconnected at our twenty-year high school reunion and promptly fell in love last summer. One of our friends even photographed their first dance, not realizing that sparks were already flying between the two. Over the last year (and thanks to Facebook), we’ve been able to tune in to the story from around the world, Australia to Austin.
 

Pamela Price
Becca Pierce (left), the bride’s sister, readied wedding flowers wrapped in bandanas with longtime friend Tamara Cox. Cox had come to rural Texas all the way from Tuscany for the occasion.

Even as we gals approach middle age (Tisha and I both turn 40 in the coming weeks), we get misty-eyed over a real-life fairy tale.
 
The “prince” is a tall cowboy with a nice spread of land. And it was that land, inherited from his late parents, that served as the “chapel” for the celebration. Pointing the way to the property along the roadside were red and yellow hand-painted directional signs labeled simply “Tisha & Shannon Wedding.” The bride had mentioned in her email instructions that there’d be a Bronco marking the driveway to the home. I’d anticipated some sort of signage on “The Beast,” as the vehicle is known, but I hadn’t expected quite so much spray paint.
 

Pamela Price
On a golden day in Powderly, Texas, Tisha and Shannon sealed their vows discreetly after pastor Brandon Dollarhite pronounced them husband and wife.

I’ve attended my fair share of country weddings. The one last weekend, however, proved to be among the most authentic and distinctive yet. There was a giant smoker full of brisket, a Blue Heeler named “Cedar” who served as the ring bearer, and a seal-the-deal kiss made discretely behind the groom’s hat. The reception location? A rodeo arena “back in town,” where the ubiquitous sherbet punch–a mainstay of southern celebrations for eons (or, at least since refrigeration)–was served alongside ice-cold Dr. Pepper.
 
Honestly, I can’t imagine any wedding more “country” than that. Nor can I imagine a better way to have spent that one particular golden afternoon in September.
 
Here’s to the happy couple–and a solid forty or so years of “happily ever after” in the country.

 

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