99: Honeymooning in a Clown Car

99: Honeymooning in a Clown Car

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Here Comes the Bride

Honeymooning in a Clown Car

It is only in adventure that some people succeed in knowing themselves — in finding themselves.

~André Gide

Here comes the bride… and the groom, and the matron of honor, and a groomsman, and a baby, and a dog, and… a radiator?

Our wedding was nowhere near a fairy tale. Well, on the other hand, maybe it was, seeing how most fairy tales have rather eccentric plots. My husband and I met while we were both seniors in college. We dated for about four months, got engaged, planned a wedding for seven months, and were married almost one year to the day we met.

And because we both participated in the Cooperative Education Program, alternating between school and work each semester, we still had another two years of college to go. So we had neither the money nor the time to go on a honeymoon. Instead we headed straight to our little cheapo apartment in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and waited for classes to start at THE University of Alabama (as my husband likes to call it).

Oh, did I mention that my younger sister had gotten married the year before, and that she, too, was a college student — married to a college student? I guess falling in love in college and getting married without giving it too much thought runs in my family. But my sister and her husband, on the other hand, had already started a family — one baby girl and a dog. And like us, they, too, were continuing their college studies, but at Mississippi State University (MSU) in Starkville, Mississippi, which is located between Tuscaloosa and my hometown of Rosedale, Mississippi.

Prior to these whirlwind romances and weddings, my sister and I had been roommates and best buds at MSU. So, naturally, my sister was my matron of honor as I had been her maid of honor the year before. Her husband was also one of our groomsmen.

Well, something very interesting happened during the preparations for the wedding. My brother-in-law’s car broke down and needed a new radiator. (I’ll just refer to his family from here on out as “the stranded family.”) I don’t recall how the stranded family, baby girl, and dog made it across the state of Mississippi for the wedding, but they did. Yet there was still a problem. How would they get back to MSU after the wedding?

Since we were the only car heading back that way, it was only proper that we should give them a ride. Right? But did I mention we drove a Volkswagen Beetle? And I don’t mean the newer model of the Beetle. We had the original Beetle — the one with the trunk in the front and the engine in the back — the one with the teeny-tiny seats.

And, even though our trunk was loaded down with our luggage and wedding gifts, we still managed to find room for the stranded family’s luggage as well as their new radiator.

When we went to pick up the stranded family at the home of my brother-in-law’s parents, my brother-in-law’s great-grandmother took one look at our super compact car, then narrowed her eyes and said, “The next time you come, you might want to drive a bigger car.”

I couldn’t have agreed with her more. Yet, somehow we managed to squeeze our matron of honor, a groomsman, a baby, and a dog into the tiny backseat of our lime-green Volkswagen Beetle and ride for three whole hours across the entire state of Mississippi. Whew! Can anybody say, “Honeymooning in a clown car?”

~Linda Jackson

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