Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. And today's post is written by a guest, my own mom, Jane Cobb, who looked back through the scope of time and remembered a story about that day in 1999 that is worthy of telling. Here it is, in her own words...
Once upon a time, somebody decided to “donate” a full-sized house trailer to a picturesque little church. It could be used for additional Sunday school classroom space, they said. So the little church says, well, okay, that sounds fine, why not? So these benefactors took their tax write-off and hauled it over to the little church.
But it was too big to get over the picturesque little bridge that was the entrance to the picturesque little church! So they dumped it right there. And that was that.
Now what shall I tell you about that trailer? I think I best give it a name, for this story to proceed. HUGO. That stands for huge, ugly, tacky, dilapidated, way beyond reasonable repair, extremely difficult to move and did I mention Huge and Ugly? That was HUGO, and there he sat. A revolting, useless eyesore stuck right there at the side of the bridge. At the entrance. To the little church.
Then one day, people gathered to decorate the church. There was going to be a wedding! Flowers and tuille and ribbons and satin and all kinds of suchlike pretty stuff, inside and out. Why they even decorated the rails of the bridge!
And there sat HUGO. Glowering in his big gross-nastiness.
All the celebrants saw him and commiserated. “What a shame. There will be people coming from far and wide for this wedding. This may be the only time they’ll see our little church. But we are a happy church, and that’s all that REALLY matters.” Besides, they agreed, “The logistics of solving a problem like this are very involved, and time is very short. It’s understandable.”
So they went about their preparations for the next day.
Now there was a man named Henry. Henry was raised in Ohio. Call him a farm boy if you like. But Henry was nobody’s fool and a darn sight smarter than most men I have known. Anyway, Henry was a man of the land. Loved farming. Loved the land. He was a collector of farm equipment of all kinds and not just for a hobby because he actually used it. For clearing the spacious grounds of the picturesque little church, for one thing. Regularly he would harvest the grasses and hay that grew abundantly there, leaving the grounds in very lovely shape. Harvesting and recycling and conservation nothing new to Henry. He was a man of the Land. Sometimes he would give hayrides to the kiddies at the church. Sometimes he would build mazes out of hay bales for them. Sometimes he would help the poor who weren’t able to do their own harvesting. Sometimes you would see Henry on the road in one of his tractors going to and from his jobs. Had to drive around him. You know how that is. (Henry definitely knows how that is!)
Well….late that night, Henry got to thinking about that little bride who was going to be married the next day. That little bride, whose beloved grandmother had died the very day before! (pause/still. This still brings tears to my eyes.)
So in the dark of night, Henry went out and started up his Minneapolis Moline. Now if you don’t know what a Minneapolis Moline is, you really owe it to yourself to find out. I’ll just tell you, the farmers of the former soviet union would give their eyeteeth for one. In fact, many have wound up over there. This was one powerful American-made tractor! And amongst Henry’s collection, there was one. Yes! A Minneapolis Moline! Old, funny-looking, noisey and chug chug chug POWERFUL!
HUGO was about to meet his match! Yes, Henry and the MM did it. Dragged that monster way off to the side out of sight. In the middle of the night. And the next morning, the wedding took place. HUGO-free! Henry was not interested in getting credit for doing a good deed. In fact, most people have no idea about this story. He just did it. Period.
Did you like this story? It’s a true story.
The little bride was my daughter. And Henry is my forever friend.
Moral of the story: The world could use more men like Henry Pratte.