the early days of my youth all my country neighbors and friends had a "funeral
suit" or dress hanging in the closet. Bought and kept for that purpose, it showed
utmost respect for the deceased when worn at a funeral.
Sorry to say,
but a funeral today may reveal shorts, tennis shoes and overalls. A young lady
seated in front of me at a recent funeral sported a large black bird tattooed
on the back of her neck and shoulders. The low cut of her T-shirt gave almost
full view of the artwork. I'll swear I saw that bird flap his wings a time or
two during the funeral.
Old-time funerals were always a quiet, somber
time to show respect and recall the memories of your association with the deceased.
Three of the last six funerals we have attended featured cell phones ringing during
the quiet. Believe it or not, one phone was playing "When the Saints Go Marching
In." Half of this year's funerals featured prerecorded music instead of the usual
choir hymns. One funeral featured recorded western swing music that made me want
to dance instead of pray. I respect the family's wishes, but it is a bit different
from the past.
One thing has not changed. The preachers who do the eulogies
are still on their own. Some tell it like it is with no excuses or apologies.
Others tend to enhance their eulogy for some reason or another. A recent eulogy
had Ruth and I wondering if we were at the right funeral.
different program for an old occasion is not limited to funerals. Take weddings,
for instance. The Trew Ranch hosted a recent wedding between Jeanne Smith and
Keith Latham, both of Amarillo.
The "different program" occurred as both are members of The Plum Creek Brigade,
a mountain man historical group.
Instead of rented tuxedos, extravagant
bride's and bridesmaid's attire and fancy dress for the visitors, all were encouraged
to wear mountain man clothing, and the entire proceedings resembled an old-time
rendezvous of the 1840s.
All was legal and respectful of the occasion,
with the parson wearing tall black boots, a black suit, string tie and black stovepipe
hat. The groom wore about the same clothing topped with a long duster. The bride
wore a gorgeous period gown, had flowers woven into her hair and arrived riding
sidesaddle on horseback. The ring bearer was a pretty little mule wearing a pack
saddle bearing a silk pillow with the rings attached and was led by the bride's
The son of the bride gave her away wearing a Mohawk haircut
and full Indian dress. The best man was the groom's brother who also carried a
loaded flint-lock rifle. When the Parson asked if anyone objected to the marriage,
the best man and several fully armed mountain men stood up and threatened the
crowd. No one objected.
With the vows finalized, the groom kissed the
bride amid yells, whoops and whistles, birdseed was thrown, black powder volleys
were spent into the sky, garters and bouquets tossed and the frivolities began.
The three-day event, complete with chuck wagon meals and libations took place
on Gnarly Camp Ground on Rock Creek, almost like an old-time rendezvous.
"It's All Trew"
September 15 , 2009
Topics: Texas Weddings
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