Sole-search­ing South­ern wed­ding

Cou­ple doesn’t get far from coun­try roots

Northwest Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - OUR TOWN - LISA KEL­LEY Lisa Kel­ley is an all-around good ol’ South­ern gal who also hap­pens to prac­tice law and me­di­ate cases in down­town Bentonville. Email her at

Mama al­ways said you can tell a lot about a per­son by their shoes, where they go­ing, where they been. — “For­rest Gump”

Last week­end, Bax­ter and I drove Blue Belle due east, stop­ping just shy of the Mis­sis­sippi River at the great me­trop­o­lis of Pig­gott. I got to the chapel and found a seat on an old wooden pew be­side some­one who fa­vored my un­cle, ex­cept the man was dressed in navy slacks, a pink dress shirt, a pink and navy tie and shined black shoes. My un­cle only wears his stan­dard-is­sue uni­form — denim, a plaid west­ern shirt and boots — be it a wed­ding, fu­neral or Christ­mas Day.

“What on earth are you wearin’?” I asked, rais­ing a brow.

Un­cle Ron­nie flashed his eye-dis­ap­pear­ing grin. “Even got the sports coat back home, but didn’t wanna overdo it.”

Pi­ano mu­sic shifted our at­ten­tion to the kick­off of the preacher’s son’s wed­ding. The small sanc­tu­ary had been hosed down in white bunting, blue wild­flow­ers and teal rib­bon. It was all one could hope for in a good South­ern wed­ding — a lit­tle chapel on a dirt road, two young hearts full of love and de­vo­tion, snif­fling par­ents, a healthy dose of hu­mor and loads of Aqua Net. Af­ter the “I do’s,” the towns­folk mo­seyed down the road to the Clay County Fair­grounds.

The fair­grounds had been trans­formed much like the sanc­tu­ary. White lights twin­kled atop the gath­er­ing hall as folks filled ma­son jars with le­mon­ade and grabbed fold­ing chairs be­fore the cake-cut­ting, garter-throw­ing and boot-scoot­ing be­gan.

The preacher had his son and new daugh­ter-in-law sit back to back in the mid­dle of the dance floor. He asked them to re­move their shoes and trade one shoe with their spouse. The fun-lov­ing cou­ple was taken aback at first, but the young bride quickly kicked off her glit­tery heels, sniffed one, shrugged her shoul­ders and tossed it be­hind her. The groom pulled off his cow­boy boots and handed one be­hind his back. The preacher then asked the cou­ple to raise the shoe of the cor­re­spond­ing per­son in an­swer to a se­ries of ques­tions.

“Who’s the messi­est be­tween you?”

Two glit­tery heels went up. “Who says, ‘I’m sorry,’ the fastest?”

Two boots went up.

“Who eats the most?”

Two glit­tery heels were raised, along with gig­gles from the bride as she turned to see her groom’s an­swer.

“Who’s the most ro­man­tic?” Two boots went up. “Who’ll cook din­ner?”

Four shoes were raised to a round of ap­plause.

Solid coun­try gold poured from the speak­ers, and all man­ner of cow­boy boots, steel-toed shoes, san­dals, pumps and flip flops clam­bered to the dance floor. Folks twisted and lurched like they were try­ing to shimmy out of their panty­hose and neck­ties. Where they’re go­ing is right where they’ve al­ways been. Even those of us who ven­ture down the road a ways do well to never get too far from our roots.

And here I’m usu­ally bare­foot.

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