Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Cat Lady (Gittin' Hitched in the 5-4-0, Part 3)

Having paid for our wedding certificate, all that remained was for us to get married. We asked the blonde lady how to get to the minister's house; she told us that we couldn't walk there, but that it was only a couple of miles away. Basically, she assured us, we need only take a left at the Dairy Queen, drive to the end of Jackson street, and "stop when we get to the cats." With those cryptic directions, we were on our way.

I didn't really have any time to get nervous about my wedding. Although I'd budgeted about three hours for the whole process, Amanda's leisurely typing had eaten up most of our afternoon. By the time we left, it was about 3:45. We had to get married by the minister and get back to file our certificate by 5PM, or we'd have to return the next day. Given the number of things we had to do before the wedding, I wasn't sure that we'd be able to return, and I really wanted to be married before our actual wedding day. Of course, the real reason was that my fiancee's parents were in town; if they found out about our "legal wedding," we would have to explain a lot of difficult things to them, deal with their critiques of the situation, and bring them along with us. None of these was particularly attractive, so we were a little stressed on our way to the Minister.

Jackson Street is only about a half mile long, and dead ends in an unpaved cul-de-sac that features a huge plywood cross covered in Christmas lights. We couldn't drive too far into the dead end, as it seemed like the entire road was covered in a patchwork fur cloak. As we parked and the ratty coating moved, we realized that we were surrounded by a huge herd of kitties. Feeling like Tippi Hedren in The Birds, we nervously got out of the car and slowly approached the house. The cats were friendly enough, and slowly parted for us. It was like I was Moses and the Red Sea was covered in fur. Nearing the porch, we caught the attention of a couple of kids sitting on the steps. The girl, clad in a t-shirt and a pair of shorts that looked like they'd been sprayed on her ten-year old form, grabbed the hand of a young boy with a saggy diaper. They stood up and she called out to us "Y'all here to git hitched?" When we said yes, she turned toward the house and hollered with all her might, "Gramma, some folks here to git hitched!" She then went into the house, leaving us to hang out with the cats.

As we petted the horde, we noticed that all of them were screwed up in some way or another. One of them was missing a paw, another had piebald chunks in his fur, and yet another hobbled as he scurried up to us. They were all nice, except for one who had his tongue hanging out. We later learned that this unfortunate cat had "got hisself hit in the face with a truck." A few minutes later, with the cats all whining and begging to be petted, we were called into the house.

According to the little girl, they were in the process of cleaning out the closets. Apparently, this involved taking everything in the house and putting it in the middle of the living room floor. Later, my wife would compare notes with someone else who had been married by this minister; she would find that this particular cleaning operation had been going on for at least three years. Still, it was a great house, and the minister was really nice. She had a "butterfly bush" out front, which was covered in flowers, and she married us in front of it. Of course, she had to stop halfway through to tell her grandchildren to stop annoying each other, and we occasionally had to push a kitty out of the way. Afterward, as we filled out the forms, we asked her about the cats. As it turned out, she took care of any strays that people dropped off at her house, and occasionally raided the death row sections of the local animal shelters. When we asked her how many cats she had, she told us that there were "about thirty or forty who live near the house, and a couple hundred who live up in the woods." She had, apparently, built a log cabin "cat condo" up in the woods and filled it with furniture. She trekked up every day to feed her auxiliary cat herd. We would later discover that the minister was famous for her generosity toward injured cats, and people came from all over Giles county to drop off their unwanted felines.

The minister got us in and out, so we were able to get back to Amanda and her office by 4:45. We filed the papers, got our copies, and took off our rings, as they would be a dead giveaway that we were laready married. After briefly wandering around downtown Pearisburg, we went to the Mountain Lake hotel, where Dirty Dancing was filmed, to meet my new in-laws. My new mother in law immediately asked us why we were covered in cat fur.


  • Yes folks, my official wedding outfit was a black skirt that somehow became gray with cat fur.

    It was a shining moment in my personal history.

    Or something.

    Hey, aren't you going to tell the story of our wedding wedding? Now, that was one hell of a party.

    "Here I am..."

    By Blogger misanthropster, At October 18, 2006 at 10:59 PM  

  • You do know that this is all documented in my photo album, right?

    Jinja Out

    By Anonymous Jinja, At October 20, 2006 at 4:50 PM  

  • Jinja-
    Thanks for the reminder...and the memories!

    Rock me like a hurricane!

    By Blogger Crankster, At October 21, 2006 at 11:12 AM  

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