John and Amber and their little ‘un live with John’s momma in Statenville, Georgia. In a house, y’all. Not all rednecks live in trailers.
We fade in to John’s goat (that dern goat) eating the archway and John tryin’ to catch’er. John and his pet pit bull chase the goat around the yard. “Dammit, John,” his mother calls. “Don’ chew let that dog eat that goat!” That dog looks like it could, too.
Now, in the interest of full disclosure I think it’s only fair to tell you that I once had two pet goats Monday and Tuesday. Monday was my favorite because whenever I sang, “Monday, Monday…” a la The Mommas and the Poppas she’d come trampling over as far as her little chain would let her for a good scritch between the ears. I loved having pet goats. They’re very loyal. Also, stupid. Monday got spooked and hanged herself. We buried her behind the barn, but we didn’t bury her deeply enough so the neighbor’s nazi shepherd and our chow dug her up and well… what they did to her just shouldn’t be done to a body. So we buried her again, this time only deeper. And when I say “we” I mean my dad. Tuesday died not long after that. Under similar circumstances. Tuesday was not exhumed.
Anyway, with the goat caught John’s momma Tammie wants to know when he’s going to finish the archway and everything else concerning the wedding. John says something I can’t quite decipher but I think it’s “soon.” “You’d better put some pep in that step, buddy,” his momma says. We find out that this wedding is getting a lot bigger than they’ve anticipated. We also find out that Amber is a little annoyed at the presumptuousness of the entire county. Apparently if you invite one, you invite all. “You’ve got all the rednecks in Echol County, what you think? They gonna miss a free meal?” Tammie says. Which segways nicely into John goin’ huntin’. For a hog. For the reception. I’ve heard of serving ham, but hogs hunted down by the groom? This should be interesting. I’m not judging. I love smoked pork, but the pork I enjoy comes prepackaged like God intended. Amber says she’s not sure how to prepare a hog, but I reckon she’s up for the challenge. She looks like one of those very capable people, the kind who would survive where ever you drop her. I like Amber. I predict that on her will alone that her children will be very successful. John says she’ll learn how to skin a goat if it keeps getting in his archway. “Goat meat’s good,” Tammie tells us.
I’m a little afraid of Tammie. Not because of the goat meat comment, but because she looks like she takes no shit or prisoners and would cut you if you crossed the line.
Amber and John met in high school. She was 16 and he was 19. They have a 15 month old baby girl together, Amber tells us and then they flash to a cut little moppet headed baby being held by Amber while coming face to face with OHMIGAWD a snake. I turned off the television and ran to take a hot shower because snakes affect me just. that. much. I can’t abide them. Not even my brother Shipwreck and his Missus’ very pretty, very enclosed behind glass corn snake Lily. The very idea of a snake in the house, much less around one of my babies is enough to send me into a fit. Like the one I just had. Amber tries to soothe me with a very matter of fact, “Well she lives in the country, she’s gotta get used to them.” And to that I ask “Why?”
Anyway, John proposed at a gas station. Hey, I’m not judging. My swimsuit model sister-in-law was proposed to in an Arby’sparking lot. My brother Shipwreck proposed to his Missus in the hallway of her parents’ home. Jack proposed to me while we were riding in a horse-drawn carriage around the town center after he’d sneezed in his hand so he could make going for his inside pocket look like he was going for a tissue and NOT an engagement ring. But this isn’t about us, it’s about Amber and John and I’ll continue with their story. So there they were, in the gas station parking lot, with their baby squalling in the back seat, and John popped the question and Amber said yes and thought it was the sweetest proposal ever. She loved it. But probably not as much as I loved really not wanting to take a jewelry box out of Jack’s just been sneezed into hand.
What John loves about Amber is that she’s rowdy and we cut to a scene of Amber wrasslin’ some good ol’ boy. John yells for her to take it easy on ‘im and Tammie hoots and hollers and starts thinkin’ about boilin’ up some possum or those tasty innards of the northerners they caught tryin’ to pass through their county. Like I said, I like Amber. I would hire Amber to wrassle in my stead should my life ever come to that.
The most important thing about this wedding is something called mud-bogging according to John. I’m not sure I like where this is going, but as no one’s mentioned camouflage, I’ll hold my tongue. John and Amber load up Baby in the 4×4 and set out to scout a good mud-bogging location. Seriously? Amber informs John that the mud-bogging will take place after the ceremony and to that I say thank goodness. I know it’s a cultural thing, and a personal thing, but I just can’t see how riding around in a big mud pit is funfor anyone on a wedding day. I’ve done it. It’s not a dress-up activity. But… whatever. I’ve seen worse on this show. There’s some footage of the happy family doing donuts in the mud and Amber saying, “Tear it up!” and I have to wonder how this is a safe activity with a child in the car. In the end they decide it will work just fine, and whatever… at least there were no snakes.
Early one morning we come to find John loading up the truck with some hunting and camping gear. He’s going hog hunting for his bachelor party. Amber realizes it’s his party and all, but warns him that he’d better not return empty handed. She needs the meat for the reception, people. John assures her that a hog will be caught and heads out. The instant John pulls out of the driveway Tammie attacks Amber like the crazy person she is and then does a little jig because now that the fellas are gone it’s time to party like the South won the war!!!
Which is to say Amber and the bridal party go shoot skeet and then… push the truck in the pond? Wha? Really? I’m not sure I understand. Amber, don’t hit me or send your crazy, scary mother-in-law to boil me, but your party paled in comparison to Geneva’s. You can’t beat talk of nipple clamps and CoochieShave Cream, I don’t care how many salad plates you blow to smithereensor how many vehicles you immerse in pond scum. It just cain’t be done.
Now at John’s bachelor party they’re tearin’ it up with 4-wheelers and country, dirt roads. There’s a lot of whoopin’ and hollerin’ and gen-er-al carousin’ until they the release the hounds and the hog hunting proper commences. No, I’m serious. They’ve got actual hounds. Okay, so I’m curious. Do all y’all in Georgia have hogs just running around your woods all wild or are there like… hog hunting reserves that you can rent out for birthday parties and such? Because it seems weird to me that hogs would be running wild enough to be shot. The hounds sniff and howl and make their “over here” noise, there is a single gunshot, a triumphant, “I got ‘im!” and we’re treated to a close up of a black pig with a spray painted blue leg and a bullet hole in his head. John says, “Snonmnomatrudawoods an’ I was lahk BOOOM!” He’s pretty proud of himself and so are his boyz. They all hustle to get that pig on ice.
That next morning John rolls up to the house with a cooler strapped to the top of the truck and Momma Tammie starts ta hollerin’. A real live pig call, and I’m not exaggerating. If I heard that I would run. Screw my college friends and their hot boyfriends who got detoured to this town with nefarious purpose, I’d be gone faster than shit through a goose. I’ve seen movies. I know what happens. As the cooler drains it’s blood stained, melted ice water John assures us that it’s the hog he killed last night. Amber inspects the contents of the trunk and we’re treated to one very skinned hog leg. Gag, y’all. “That’s his ass,” John tells Amber and she very cutely gets embarrassed. Meanwhile Momma Tammie cackles in delight.
Amber wants to know who’s going to clean it, but I think it’s a rhetorical question. “It’s about time you got your hands dirty, woman,” John teases. I don’t think he should do that too often because my girl Amber will totally kick his ass. She’s got the guns for it. And then? Then the biggest redneck who ever rednecked in rednecksville comes up with a big toothless grin and bald head and congratulates John on bagging this hog. At least I think that’s what he’s doing. I can’t tell if he’s simple, drunk, or coming down from pain killers from having all his teeth excised, but he’s delightful and would make somebody an excellent gimp.
Then? Then? Swear to Gah Tammie starts cleaning and slicing the carcas right there. On a picnic table. Barefooted and in the mud. People are going to have to eat this beast and it’s being cleaned while standing ankle deep in mud and cast offs. Aren’t their health codes? Shouldn’t this meat be inspected by someone in a white lab coat named Oscar Mayer? When the preparations are finished Tammie and Amber trek barefooted out to the creek to toss the guts and whatnot out to the catfish and the alligators. Tammie lectures us all on giving back what you don’t use and I’m prone to listen to her because I’m afraid she’ll whip me iffin’ I don’t. And by whip I mean tear the hide off my back and feed it to the gators and catfish. I think Amber shares my fear.
It’s a new day and Amber and John head off to the Super Walmart where she can get her nails done and he can head off to the hunting department and search for a wedding gift. Why? Why must we buy our wedding gifts at the Super Walmart hunting department southern redneck men? I get that money might be an issue and that practicality will often trump romanticism, but a butchering kit as a wedding gift to your beloved? This will not earn you a blow job. While this is a memorable wedding gift, it’s not one in a good way. This is a wedding gift that will return to haunt you as in, “remember the time I flayed your balls with the butchering kit you got me as a wedding present?” But since no one listens to me, John buys the kit and hustles it out to the bed of the 4×4 before Amber can see it and then returns to the Super Walmart Salon to make sure Amber’s nails don’t “look like shit.” Tom Arnold said it better than I could. “Sorry ladies, he’s off the market.” Amber’s nails by the way, are camouflaged to match her bridesmaid’s dress. *sigh* And I had such high hopes.
Either that night or a few days later we find out that Amber is going to swap their couch for some automotive part. Seeing as John’s seemingly into his truck like any southern man should be I think that’s an alright wedding gift. Amber and her girlz load the couch into the truck and set off to make the exchange. I like that the sistas are doin’ it for themselves. While in transit a couch cushion flies off the back of the truck and into the middle of the road. Amber rescues it, no harm, no foul and they continue on their way. I think she got John a roll bar because she mentions getting him some lights to put on it, but it’s been a long time since I dated my farmer so I might have lost my edge re: truck accessories.
The day before the wedding John smokes the hog and then he and Amber and friends decorate the community center with bales of hay, stuffed and mounted animals (including a turkey, a bobcat, and some fish with horns). Amber loves it and I’m too afraid of Tammie to say anything derogatory except that it looks like the themed putt putt my kids and I went to in Wisconsin. Minus the six foot stuffed grizzly that menaced us from the 9th hole.
The morning of the wedding dawns early and with the cock’s crow. John exits the bedroom in a cloud of cigarette smoke and you’d just better not talk to Amber until her first cup of coffee. After her first cup of coffee we find out that yay! They found a greased pig for the reception, and well… yeah. Greased pig. There are a few shots of John picking up the pig and then a few shots of Amber getting prettified for her wedding, and then a shot of her in her camoveil. Then more of John wrasslin’ the pig into the tub to give it a bath. Then a shot of her camo garter. One of these three things I approve of, and it’s not the livestock in the bathroom or the camouflage veil. I think the camo garter is cute. I think it’s a great nod to their interests as a couple and his interest in particular. I think it’d get a cute burst of laughter at the reception. In short, I approve. Please don’t wear the camo veil, if anything it will confuse John. Where’s Amber’s head? Where did it go? But Amber doesn’t listen to me and she and her maid of honor load themselves into the bed of a John Deere trailer and are pulled by a John Deer mower to the Echol County Community Center.
As far as camodresses go, Amber’s maid of honor is the cutest I’ve seen. It’s a fetching little number with an empire waist and defined bust. Amber’s gown is the traditional off the shoulder white gown and she looks pretty in it, especially with her hair all loose and wavy. John and his best man are both wearing camo tops tucked into hunting pants. The best man is wearing a camo hat. Their priest is wearing camo as well. As are many of their guests. Stop it with the camo!! No more!! Mounted and stuffed animals hold hands and smile at each other as the vows are read and John and Amber are pronounced husband and wife. With the formalities over Momma Tammie cuts loose with another hog call and it’s off to the cake cutting and then!!!! MUD-BOGGING!!!
All kinds of 4 wheel drives follow the happy couple to the… um… bog where tires are spun and teeth become muddy and Amber in her wedding gown bounces up and down in the truck and hoots in delight. With another hog call they invite everyone back to the house where they’re going to continue the party. I’ll bet you this is where the greased pig comes into play.
Actually, it looks like a great party. There’s plenty of food and dancing and strobe lights and camo, and one very unhappy pig being held down, slathered with Crisco, and forced to smell the remains of his brother. Greased Pig Wranglin’ time!! The first one to catch the pig and get a t-shirt on him wins $10 and bragging rights. The bride, of course, gets to go first, and my money’s on her. Amber does not let me down and pockets the money!
When the party winds up the bride and groom and a few others load up on this rather rigged, rather frightening looking piece of machinery that I think might be a mobile pig killing station – you know, like how deer hunters will build shelterythings in trees so that they have an unfair advantage over Bambi’s mother?- and head off with their Rebel Flags a’wavin’ to…
present exchange time!! John loves his hog lights and roll bar (??), and then he gives Amber her very own butchering kit and says she’ll be using it a lot since she is his wife now. Amber does not look bothered at all with the prospect of skinning all the bears, skunks, squirrels, hogs, and unsuspecting travellers John plans to bring home. “I love you,” John says and then kisses her. “Mr. Anderson,” Amber replies with a happy smile. “Mrs. Annershnnn,” John slurrs in sweet return.
Here’s wishing John and Amber the best of luck!