Sunday, February 28, 2010

Anniversary Adventures (Part 5)

We went into Pigeon Forge on Saturday to see what there was to see. Most of it didn't really appeal to us, or wasn't yet open for whichever shows the theaters were performing, but we found a few things to interest us. It was raining, though, so the one thing we'd intended to do in Pigeon Forge wasn't exactly convenient to do.

During our honeymoon in 2000, we went panning for gems. It was probably four days into our trip and we'd done everything we had a desire to do in Gatlinburg itself. (Well, the stuff that was open, at least, which wasn't much. In fact, about the only folks doing major business were the time-share sales people who lurked on every corner, leaping out to offer you riches beyond imagining if only you would consent to spending three scant hours of your time listening to their sales pitch. After one particularly aggressive sales guy kept after us, I had to explain to him that it was the final day of our honeymoon trip and there was no way in hell we were spending any more if it with him, so he needed to back off. Reluctantly, he did.) So we'd headed to pigeon forge and decided to stop at the gem-panning place. It was a pretty simple setup, in which the gem-panning clerk, dressed in overalls, brought us each a sieve and poured a box of rocks and bits into a long trough of running water and we got to sift through it to look for crystals and precious stones, probably none of which were native to the area, but what do I know? This trough was located outside, but under an awning, surrounded by parking spaces. Our car still had all of the wedding decoration my groomsmen had bestowed upon it, including the traditional cans tied to the bumper and shoe-polish painted windows that read "PORTRAIT OF A MARRIED COUPLE" on the windshield and "DONE GOT HITCHED" across the back window...
DIGRESSION: Some of my friends are infamous for truly heinous wedding car-decoration, to the point that when my friend John was married, his parents hid the car they would be journeying to the honeymoon in at the home of friends of friends of people they were pretty sure none of us knew for fear that we would do something horrible to it involving inflated condoms. So, instead, we just did those things to the vehicle in which they were leaving the church--which was all the same to us. Oh, and while his parents were asleep, we also rearranged all of their living room furniture so that each piece was 180 degrees from it's usual position--as if the room itself was on a giant turntable. This wasn't actually done out of any kind of revenge against them, but more to screw with the head of John's cousin Mike, who'd passed out drunk on one of their sofas and who we thought would completely lose his shit when he woke up in the middle of the night and nothing looked familiar. To say John's mother was "not pleased" is probably putting it lightly, because every stick of furniture was back in its original location and an icy stare was turned in our direction for the rest of the following day. Having heard some of these tales, my wife had instructed my best man, Joe, that he was welcome to do whatever he wanted to my car, but if anything they did made her grandmother cry, she would find all responsible parties and her revenge would be long and unpleasant. We therefore got off light.
While we were panning for gravel, another couple arrived to do so, saw our car and asked us if we were newlyweds. We said we were and it turned out they, too, were newlyweds. Naturally, the subject of our respective weddings came up and we asked them how many days ago they had been married. They replied that they'd been wed just the previous day.

"And when did you get married?" they asked us, smiles beaming.

"Oh, about four days ago," we said.

At this, their faces fell into a state of appalled disbelief, particularly the girl's. She cast a glance back at our still fully decorated car and curtly explained that they had washed all of the decorations from their car immediately after the wedding. They'd not even made it out of the city limits of their home town, let alone all the way to Gatlinburg with so much as a single can still affixed. After this revelation, we could tell that their estimation of us had clearly been dialed down to about a 2, for they didn't seem to have much more to say to us. Meanwhile, the wife and I both quietly thought their offense at our aged decorations was quite funny and we could hardly contain our mirth until we were finally able to bust up laughing once we'd finished our panning and returned to the confines of our offensive car.

We not only kept the decorations on for the rest of our honeymoon, but made it back to Charlotte with one surviving can tied to the bumper and it was another full week after our return before I bothered to wash off the shoe-polish.


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