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Column: Giving ‘shotgun wedding’ a whole new meaning

Do you want to know what a great wedding is to a guy? Do you really, really want to know? Well, stay tuned. Here it all comes. From a guy. Who just attended the wedding of his nephew.

First, and most importantly, a great wedding is someone else’s other than your own. I could throw in something trite and shallow here, like: “Well, there goes another poor sucker!” No, we’re not going to do that. We know that isn’t true; even we males know that isn’t true. Marriage is a time-proven social and religious custom long cherished as a building block of humankind. Blah, blah, blah.

So, not your own wedding, someone else’s, that’s number one.

Number two is: Have a great catered groom’s supper and be invited. Perfect chicken, perfect company, perfect timing in that the wedding is still a day off, so no one’s nerves are shot and require an extra few shots of vodka or something. This great supper is served to your table; it’s hot, tasty, and everything you ever wanted. And you didn’t have to pay for it! How great is that?

So, it’s not your own wedding, and there’s a free meal, and great company because all your relatives are getting along with all her relatives and you intuitively know that everyone is being nicer than they really are, and so are you, so “great” isn’t even a good enough word. But who cares? It’s a great feeling. Great.

Next on the list of perfect weddings is a part that’s pretty important, because a perfect wedding has to have a perfect place to happen. Right? A good wedding is only as good as its location. This wedding of my nephew’s took place – are you ready for this? – at a rural gun club! I’ve been to weddings. I’ve played important roles in some weddings. And all these were pretty great weddings, by any measure of food, company, and place. But a gun club!

It’s now clear to me that a wedding that takes place at a gun club is superior to any other weddings, because anyone who wanted to participate in some clay pigeon shooting, or some sporting clays, was invited to show up Saturday morning and have at it. We’re talking five-position shooting at mixed single and double clay birds. We’re talking shotguns. We’re talking guys who know about shotguns.

And it is now apparent to me that guys that know about guns and can talk knowledgeably about shotguns can readily wax prolific on any number of interesting subjects. Oh, sure, not stuff like international politics; how boring. Or stuff like who’s going to be our next president; how truly stifling on a day with sunshine, a mild breeze, and clay discs that float like birds on the summer air.

Good subject matter is what’s the best shotgun, or the best fishing boat, or what makes a good cartridge carrier, or whether a semiautomatic is better than a pump for upland game. (OK, I don’t even know what “upland” game means, but at the perfect wedding, who cares, really?)

And oh, how perfect a wedding was this? Strolling from shooting station to shooting station, the pros and cons of Remington versus Winchester, steel shot versus lead, 30-inch barrels compared to 28, side-by-side barrels better than over-under, camouflage in forest green set against hunter orange. Whew. Guys walking along carrying guns like desperadoes waiting for a train, talking about the important issues that guys have. (Listed above.)

And wasn’t the wedding grand? Half the wedding party couldn’t lift their right arm because after firing 50 rounds through a Winchester pump there isn’t a muscle left in there that works for three or four days. Since no one could raise their right hand, there wasn’t much hand shaking going on. No, no one had a sore shoulder when asked, but when they thought no one was looking, the other hand was trying to rub some life back into that shooting side.

Wasn’t the wedding grand, though, out in the fresh air, gussied-up bridal party members walking across a picturesque foot bridge, parents first, groomsmen and women second, then the bridegroom and the bride? And the fountain in the small lake erupting in the middle of the ceremony (although the club said they hadn’t been able to get it to work this year yet) was like a miracle. And then the vows. Sigh.

Yes, all things considered, this may have been the perfect wedding.