By Braden Arp
“With this ring,” “‘til death do us part,” “through sickness and in health” are things we remember saying when joining in solemn assembly with the one we vow to spend the rest of our lives with. There is one line that most of us forget from that sacred day: “For better or worse.”
My friend Jason Green of Rome, Ga. put “for worse” to the test even before he said his vows, and the culprit was, you probably already guessed, deer hunting.
It started on a Friday afternoon — not just any Friday afternoon, but the Friday before the big day, his wedding day. With little time for thought, Jason headed to the woods for one last afternoon hunt as a single man.
The rehearsal was set for 7 p.m., and it was dark by 6 p.m. Any hunter worth his salt knows there should have been plenty of time to hit the woods, get out, change and be at the church on time. Jason’s hunting spot was only 10 minutes from the house, which was only 10 minutes from the church. He figured he had a good 40 minutes to be presentable and standing on his mark at 7 p.m. It was a slam dunk; a piece of cake.
As daylight began to fade, Jason decided to call it a day about 10 minutes early just to be on the safe side. He climbed down from his perch and began the long trek back to the truck. As always, just as he approached a hayfield on the way back to his vehicle, Jason slowed and gave a quick peek. It wasn’t long before a doe came bounding out across the field. Right in her tracks was the buck he had been hunting all season. The buck ran 30 yards and stopped broadside.
That’s when Jason’s well-laid plan went astray.
It’s no wonder Jason Green was willing to get married during deer season. Brides like Christy, with a great sense of humor and a willingness to forgive, are few and far between.
In the brief heartbeats between the time the buck stopped and my friend fired his shot, I’m sure he thought about what it would mean to his required presence at the wedding rehearsal. I’m also sure he thought about how the members of our hunting group had teased him unmercifully about his deer season being over with the arrival of the wedding weekend. I’m proud to say my friend did the right thing: He pulled up, took a quick bead on the buck’s vitals and sent a bullet through the its boiler room.
With the trophy’s rack in his hands, however, Jason’s reality came crashing down like an avalanche. “Oh no, it’s a quarter ’til 7!” he thought. “I’m 30 minutes from having this deer loaded, 10 minutes from the cooler, another 10 minutes from home, and then 10 minutes to the church — and I’m still in my camouflage. I’ll be divorced before I even get married!”
Back at the church, 7 o’clock came and went with Jason nowhere to be found. Even with a church full of people who thought the groom had chickened out, the beautiful bride-to-be seemed to be at peace. “He’ll be here,” Christy said.
A vast majority of the agreeing nods were meant more to comfort the poor lady rather than because the nodders actually thought the groom would show. Those doubts seemed valid as minutes came and went with still no sign of Jason. It was evident that he had changed his mind, but no one wanted to be the one to tell the bride.
Just then, the back doors of the church flew open and Jason rushed in, still dressed in camouflage from head to toe.
“Am I late?” he asked.
You could have heard a pin drop.
He took another few steps before Christy met him in the isle. “I knew it! This is why you said we shouldn’t see each other the day of our wedding rehearsal. Nobody does that! This was planned all along. You love deer hunting more than you love me!”
At that point there was only one thing he could say: “Baby, I have a great buck in the truck. Do you want to see it?” It was all downhill from there.
Somehow Jason managed to earn forgiveness from his new bride. However, there were some sacrifices that had to be made in the process. As for the rest of us, we did what any group of good hunting buddies would do when our friend was down and vulnerable — we laid it on as thick as we could.
“Hey, Jason. Pick you up in the morning around 5?”
“Uh, better not,” he said with a sly grin. “Maybe next season.”
This article was published in the August, 2008 edition of Buckmasters Whitetail Magazine. Join today to have Buckmasters delivered to your home.