mcj-oped-jim-rutledge Bro. Jim Rutledge

I’ve changed the names to protect the guilty in the following episode, as well as the location of the event. It was 100 miles away and 50 years ago in the spring of the year. I was to perform a wedding for a young couple in their 20s. They had known each other since grade school, and both were mature for their age. The groom was always playing pranks on the soon-to-be bride; nothing was beyond reach for this comedian.

Being kind of new on the church field and some sort of a jester myself, I readily went along for the following project. I will call the groom Bubba and the bride Sally. The church where the wedding was to take place was the Muddy Creek Baptist Church. The church was a sight to see, and the wedding planner had everything fine-tuned and rehearsed. My instructions were simple; this was to be the wedding this couple would never forget.

As they say on “Hee-Haw,” it was going to “knock their hat into the creek.” Everything went well; the entrance of the bride and the exchange of vows were perfect. When we came to the exchange of the rings, the groom, Bubba, had it planned to drop the bride’s ring on purpose. Well, it rolled down the steps and landed under one of the bridesmaid’s gowns. We had to pause and find the ring. After searching for what seemed like an eternity, we finally found it. The congregation gave us three cheers for our effort.

Here’s how the rest of the story goes. Bubba had on tape Roy Clark’s song “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone,” and the organist was to begin the dismissal wedding march. He was to pause and wait for one of Bubba’s friends to turn the tape on. All of a sudden, here was Roy Clark singing “Thank God and Greyhound She’s Gone” in real redneck style. Again, the Muddy Creek Baptist Church was in stitches. Bubba had pulled off the wedding of a lifetime with the help of the organist and his pastor, Bro. Jim Rutledge.

Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking with it.

JAMES RUTLEDGE is from Amory.

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