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Hood's Winks – Honeymoon endures horse play (June 10, 2015 issue)

Gail and I married forty-eight years ago this week, and we still remember our honeymoon. It was the last time that we neither had nor expected kids. The honeymoon started in chaos. As we left the church, my erstwhile roommate—one of a few people less couth than I—squirted me head to toe with something gooey and white. Gail alone kept me from doing him bodily harm with malice aforethought.
I had hidden the car so nobody could mark it up—had hidden it so well, in fact, that I couldn’t find it myself at first. When we did find it, it was, of course, well marked with typically inane Just-Married humor. We did get off, however, and headed for the Smoky Mountains, where I had rented a cottage for the week. If I remember right, the rent for the entire week was $65. Is that possible?
The cottage was beautiful—beside a murmuring mountain stream, isolated from the rest of the world within a little forest. We were charmed and delighted.
Then we found that the water heater didn’t work. (Surely, we are all adults and I need not explain the drawbacks of a honeymoon cottage without hot water.) But love will survive, and we managed to cope until the next day, when the landlord, not without a snicker or two at our expense, installed a new heater.
Being young, in love, foolish, and wanting to impress my bride, I agreed that we would take a “short walk up the mountain” to the lovely waterfall visible from our cottage. It took hours of scrabbling, scratching, sweating, and getting lost, but we did, eventually, reach the falls. Frankly, they looked better from the cottage.
The next day we went horseback riding. Somehow, I managed to convince the stable people that, because of my vast experience with horses, we did not need a guide. I have long since quit lying like that.
They gave me the biggest horse I’ve ever seen that wasn’t pulling a beer truck in a TV ad. The horse was obviously prejudiced against redheaded people, and he decided that he would prefer not to participate.
I persevered, however, and we eventually did reach the mountain top, where we both dismounted. That was a mistake.
We got ready to leave before my horse did. Each time I reached for the stirrup, he moved two feet away. I finally tied him to a tree and dove across the saddle headfirst, looking, Gail said, like a sack of flour with arms and legs.
Gail still loves to tell that story.
We bought junk at an auction, went to see the Biltmore House and drove along the Blue Ridge Parkway. We ate too much, laughed at nothing, laughed at everything. We rode the cable car to a tourist “Ghost Town” and bought a bogus newspaper with our names in the headlines.
All in all, it was a great honeymoon. Thanks, Gail. And thanks for putting up with me for the forty-eight years since. I love you!