Last week, Sonny and I took our wives (one each) to a "ranch wedding." Jennie, the daughter of our friends Jeanie and Butch Jensen, married Jeff Christensen at the Jensen family ranch on top of the world.
This wasn't the average drive-over-to-some-neighborhood-church wedding. It required a three-hour crawl up a dirt road into the farthest reaches of Utah.
We rendezvoused with other guests in the parking lot of an East Carbon market. At the appointed hour, cowboy Terry Gleave led the convoy of four-wheel-drive trucks up a road steeper than the national debt.
Note: Given the nature of our friendship, I normally wouldn't trust Terry for directions to the ground I was standing on at the time. But this was a wedding. He had to get it right.
The risk was worth it. Sonny and I really like Jennie. She gives us food whenever we show up. Exactly how much we like Jeff remains to be seen. It depends entirely on how he treats Jennie for the rest of his life.
Because this was a ranch wedding, for once I wasn't underdressed. I saw two neckties in the crowd. One was Sonny's bolo tie fashioned from genuine beer cans and turquoise. The other was on the judge who did the marrying.
Except for the bride, everyone else wore jeans and boots and cowboy hats. The only nod to convention was a lack of spurs, including on the flower girls.
The ceremony was performed on a deck overlooking the wildest country in Utah. The sun was out, the meadows full of flowers. Rain clouds hung in purple drapes a hundred miles away in Colorado. No church has ever been more breathtaking.
After the vows were said (and Jeff had stopped looking terrified), there was a big steak fry. Everyone got their picture taken. We piled our gifts for the bride on a stone wall.
Another note: Yeah, I'm old-fashioned. Wedding gifts are for the bride.
An unconventional wedding requires an unconventional wedding gift. So, for her wedding, my wife and I gave Jennie one of my molars.
Not the actual tooth. I lost that and another one in a fight 20 years ago. Instead, I used the gold crown that, until recently, had replaced it.
With the current price of gold, I figured Jennie could hock my tooth and get whatever she wanted for her wedding. I even bought a card and taped the tooth to it.
Although it was a ranch wedding, my wife suggested the possibility of violating some bit of obscure cowboy etiquette. After all, we were city people. Maybe among ranch people it's highly inappropriate (to the point of hanging) to give someone else's wife one of your teeth.
I took the crown to a business that buys gold, had it melted down, and walked out with a check. I used that to buy Jennie a shock collar for Jeff. But my wife made me take that back and get some cookware instead. If he gets out of line, she can hit him with it.
Fifty years from now, I hope Jennie and Jeff are celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary. By then they'll know that time is gold. And every minute you spend with someone you love is worth more than the real stuff.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/notpatbagley.