So we need tarry no longer on their existential wrestling except to say that in the fullness of time they met at a common place, metaphorically speaking, as every happy couple, married or not, must do for their relationship to survive, if not thrive.
To wit, the two agreed they were making too big a deal over a small matter, inviting paralysis spawned by analysis, destroying the good in search of the perfect. In short, they acknowledged that marriage is not actually binding in any real sense, that it could lessen their tax burden, fight off loneliness for a while and discourage them from "blowing a lot of dough" (Howard's words) going out with others merely for the sake of fun and variety.
"So really, what do we have to lose?" Tally asked rhetorically. "It's not gonna kill us to say aloud 'I do' and 'I solemnly swear' as long we say to ourselves, 'Not really, but we'll give it a shot.' Don't you agree?"
"As always, beloved Tally," replied Howard. "Not even William James could be more pragmatic, nor could Soren Kierkegaard argue more eloquently for moral relativism."
"I don't know what the hell you're talking about, you towering Redwood of a man! But ewe are won err you dite fiance."*
As you can imagine, these two were rich only in love, not in mammon. Howard had been trying to cut back on abducting because he feared he was capitalizing on the aforementioned Kierkegaardian morality, while Tally was hard pressed to find welding jobs and could find no buyers for her imitation of still-life Jackson Pollock splatters.
|You tell me: Tally or Pollock?
So they agreed the wedding would have to be parsimonious, practically ascetic, even abstemious. Nuther words, nothing extra, bare bones.
Hand in hand (Howard trusted Tally so much, he no longer cuffed her on such occasions), the young lovers strolled around in Medford's six mostly empty shopping plazas, and in the one on Madeline Avenue finally found an abandoned video rental store they could rent for peanuts (not literally), and even fewer peanuts since they would need only the snug, now empty adult-video section for their intimate little affair.
After a brief discussion, they decided to retain the velvet entrance curtain (or portiere, as Howard's former French cellmate Maurice called it) leading into this space, but first to have it dry cleaned to try and rid it of that fragrance we can only describe as "adult-video-room musky."
Due to financial constraints, they chose to dispense with a post-ceremony cocktail quaffing, and go directly to the reception. But where?
The Waffle House they had in mind would be closed that weekend due to recurring sewage backups, and Medford's only Chick-fil-A was busy fighting off a salmonella related lawsuit.
After lengthy discussions with friends and family, along with a hard look at their budget, they picked WalMart's Snack Bar (motto: " Where Uncooked Meat Is Never Unrefrigerated Longer than Seven Hours and Where Coffee Is Potable! Made in America!")
Walmart's Chef Ramses J. Hackenworth promised to deliver an adequate supply of delicious tater tots smothered in freshly made ketchup, tastefully garnished with parsley sprigs and pickled okra.
He graciously agreed, moreover, to provide a free case of Diet Dr. Pepper (in cans), but insisted that attendees bring their own hard liquor to mix with the prune-juice-based soft drinks.
While on the vulgar subject of money, we must address the awkward issue of "Who's paying for all this?!" Traditionally, of course, this fiscal fleecing falls on the father of the bride, but Howard and Tally's case was a bit problematic.
Tally had never forgiven her father for refusing to pay Howard more than $25,000 to return his daughter alive. And who can blame her? Who among us would want our parents to say, "You are worth this much, and not a penny more?" when we know full well we are all blessed with a priceless Divine Spark (brighter in some than others, but I'm not calling any names)?
It is an old, old tradition that a father who owes ransom cannot attend the wedding of the hostage, esp. if said hostage is his daughter, so that left an extra Diet Dr. Pepper for someone else and the funding of the wedding also for someone else.
The money problem was peacefully solved, of course, but off stage, because such settlements are too banal and quotidian to appear in art such as this.
Finally, Howard and Tally asked the the Reverend Frederick "Sloppy" Chipson, the pastor Howard and his dad abducted years ago, to officiate the blessed event. Rev. Chipson asked if his lovely wife Darlene Marie could assist him, and the couple happily agreed, having read about the Chipsons in another Starknotes post.
(Holy Mother of God and Precious Red Blood of Our Risen Savior Full Gospel Church, the Chipsons' home church, alas, was too far away from Medford to travel for a wedding. Medford's location** was the source of many such logistical inconveniences.)
Through a credible leak, we have obtained access to Rev. Chipson's uncensored wedding sermon, and we will share that with you momentarily, along with the lovely literary gems the wedding couple composed for one another. Oh, and their respective choice of hymns.
*Stress often induced Tally's phoneticalism problem. She means "erudite," of course.
**A few miles from Townsville