My son, Adam, recently got married to a wonderful girl, Amanda. The wedding was just perfect despite the fact that the bride’s dress was not properly cleaned by the cleaners and she had to go out and buy a brand new wedding gown on the morning of the nuptials. Added to the normal nervousness on such days, the so called "friend" who was going to provide the music for the reception decided he had better things do and went to a football game without bothering to tell anyone.
Amanda looked like the proverbial "deer caught in the headlights" cautiously meandering down the aisle (grazing for a husband). Adam was so nervous his right leg was shaking and he took more deep breaths than a new mother in a lamaze class.
Much to the relief of all of us, and especially Amanda’s mother, who was tranquilized on an assortment of medication the likes of which a street dealer would envy, the gentle blessing of the minister concluded a mercifully short and sweet service.
Thinking back, however, the engagement almost never happened.
With planning that rivaled the invasion of foreign soil, Adam plotted his proposal. I went with him to pick out the ring, and a beautiful ring it was. We had no idea he had such good taste !
Adam inquired of his friends - mostly single guys - about the best way to propose. As if they knew. Finally, he asked my advice. Ah, the old pro, fatherly advice, the "old man", my chance to offer him some insight into being a man. So, with all that in mind, I said, "Son, I don’t know what to tell you. Why don’t you get down on your hands and knees and just beg !"
He apparently took my wise counsel because the next thing I heard was a few days later when a frantic Amanda called me on the cell phone screaming, "Help, Mr. Wes (the Mr. Wes thing is her southern politeness coming out), Adam’s stuck in the mud." Well, what does one think? Stuck in the mud, this must mean he got his car stuck in the mud. "Help us please. He’s stuck real bad and I don’t know what to do." But, nooooo. Not the car.
"Where did he get the car stuck ? Where are you ?"
"It’s not the car, Mr. Wes. It’s Adam. He’s stuck in the mud. He was giving me my engagement ring and he dropped it. Just out and dropped it right out of his hand. We were on a bridge over some kind of water or swamp or something, and I guess he was nervous and it just flew out of his hand - right down into the mud." About now I can hear Adam yelling in the background, "Tell dad to hurry. There are snakes in here. I’m gonna die." "He says to hurry, he’s gonna die", Amanda chimes in. Oh, yes, he picked out a real romantic spot to propose in the middle of a swamp no less.
By the time I arrived on the scene, I found Adam stuck in five feet of the most evil looking dark green brown oozing primordial slime I have ever seen. And, of course he was yelling, "I’m gonna die." My appearance and his panic prompted his fiancé to begin shouting, "He’s gonna die." This in turn caused the two guys who were fishing on the bayou to rush up and see just exactly who was "gonna die".
About now, and so help me I could not stop it, with Adam’s cussing, Amanda’s pleas to "Save Adam, save Adam", the fisherman’s puzzled looks, and the thought that no self-respecting snake would slither (or whatever snakes do) through that smelly gunk just to get a bite of Adam, I simply lost it and broke down in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. I lost the ability to speak. Air pockets in my lungs collapsed and snot poured out from my now fully loosened sinuses ! To the background of "Dad, I’m gonna die" and "Mr. Wes, Adam’s gonna die", I rolled over and over on the bridge. More about that bridge later. Upon dropping the engagement ring Adam flung himself - all two hundred and fifty pounds of himself - over the railing and went after that ring. I supposed his life flashed before his eyes when he dropped it.
In our rescue effort we threw down a large garbage can for Adam to stand on to make it up to the bottom of the bridge. It immediately sank in the mud to the chorus of, you guessed it, "I’m gonna die". We pulled on his slimy arms to lift him up. Nope, we couldn’t get a grip. Too much goop. "He’s gonna die", the fiancé moaned. Finally, angler Bob and I managed to get Adam to balance one muddy foot on a piling and as we pulled him up somehow he slipped and his feet went under the bottom rail. It would be impossible to duplicate.
Imaging this picture. Adam is partially lying on the deck with his feet on the floor and his upper body hanging in space. The fisherman guy and I are pulling with all our might on his legs but Adam’s stomach will not fit under the railing. Our hands are slipping on the primordial ooze. He is yelling, "I see snakes down there. Dad, just break the railing and pull me out". And, you guessed out, Amanda is joining in, "He’s gonna die". With only your bear hands you can’t break a two inch thick pine wood railing bolted down with heavy metal screws. Trust me, I have tried.
Somehow, by some means, angler Bob and I were able to pop Adam’s overextended belly under the top rung of the rail. Plopp and he was freed - full of mud and stinking slime, but free.
Oh, the ring, you were probably wondering. He found it in the muck. There really are miracles.
Just then I turned to Amanda and asked her, "By the way, you did say yes, didn’t you ? Because if you said no, over the rail you go !" Yes it was, and we have a new and terrific daughter-in-law.
We are lucky and my son is lucky. And, guess what, "He’s gonna live" !