Mitch's Coal Country Wedding (2/27/2000)

My bachelor party was mostly unremarkable.

However, the better story is the day of my wedding.

My (now ex-)wife is from PA's coal region, which is where I was married. She is Irish-Polish Catholic; we didn't have either a priest do the ceremony, which would have occasioned the necessity of a defibrillator on hand for my parents (a judge performed it), but in all other respects, it was a typical Coal Country wedding.

(To those of you that know nothing about the coal regions, you may want to check out: )

Anyway, for those who've never been to a Coal Country wedding, here is a Top Ten list of its most salient features in roughly descending order of importance:

1) Beer

2) Beer

3) More Beer

4) Still More Beer

5) Pierogies

6) Stuffed Cabbage

7) Kielbasa

8) General Rehashing of Simmering-barely below-the-surface Family Feuds

9)Still More Beer

10)The Bride and Groom

Although the bride and groom are, for the most part, secondary to the whole process, they are still essential to at least one custom--kidnapping the groom. Seems that after the ceremony, someone (in this case, my brother-in-law) are supposed to hijack the groom, drive him around, then bring him back to the reception. At this point all of the revelers are to cluster around the bride in anticipation of the groom's return, and prevent him from having his first dance with the bride.

Nobody, of course, told me any of this shit.

So, the wedding is performed, the I do's have been said, and we all go to the reception area, at which point my brother-in-law--all 6'7" of him--motions me out in the lobby. I go, and he and three of his buddies grab me and hoist me into one of his buddies' Jeep.

We drive.

And drive.

And drive some more.

Now remember, the idea is that I'm supposed to come back after about 10 minutes or so, there's to be this little Cro-Magnon ritual where I fight my way back through the crowd to claim the estrogen based life form that is now mine by birthright, and we all go back to the beer and kielbasa.

Except we're still driving.

This is not a big town, OK? Maybe 15,000 people, they've all lived there forever, and you'd think as much practice as they'd obviously had driving around it dead solid drunk, they'd be able to do so effectively when they had to.

You'd be wrong.

My brother-in-law's buddy Chunky (his nickname; I would have asked what his real name was, but I was afraid he would have told me that WAS his real name) got totally lost and drove us all around for the better part of an hour. When we finally got back, nobody was dancing and clustering near my wife, everyone was bored and wanted to know where the hell I was and my father-in-law started screaming that my brother-in-law was a fucking moron. I also found out later that while I was gone, my wife's grandmother kept muttering to anyone who'd listen "I always knew that Jew would run off."

This should have been a clue to me. I like to think I'm better now at recognizing omens when they're thrust in my face.

~ Mitch

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