The wedding of Lucinda Landingham and Woodrow Dexter was keenly anticipated. Some little thing goes wrong in practically every such ceremony. So, Woody being Woody, almost no one expected this one to come off smoothly.

It is painful to see a man wilt right before our eyes. Woody had arrived at the church in high spirits. He was resplendent in his tuxedo (which was on the snug side, I thought). He joked with his groomsmen in the manner of young men on such occasions.

The decay started when one groomsman announced, “Thirty minutes until doomsday, Woody, old boy!” Then every five minutes he would recite the time remaining. When we got to fifteen minutes the strain was beginning to tell. Sweat beaded upon our boy’s forehead, even though the room was a little chilly.

By the time we reached five minutes, Woody’s eyes held a look that could only be described as haunted. Grooms are expected to be nervous, but this one was beginning to lose his grip entirely.

Eventually the moment came. The six bridesmaids began the trip down the aisle. They proceeded in a stately manner, thus prolonging Woody’s century of torture.

Finally, Cindy and her father appeared. She was lovely, but I fear this was lost on the groom in his advanced state of mental disarray. He swayed a little, his eyes glassy in his ashen face.

When the time came for the rings, the minister turned to Woody and asked, “What do you give in token of your love?”

“A ring,” was the leaden reply, spoken just above a whisper. The best man extended the ring, but somehow Woody missed it, and it fell to the carpet.

Here we must pause. If, in your wedding, you should drop the ring, bend from the waist and pick it up as gracefully as you can. DO NOT, under any circumstances, squat to pick up the ring, particularly if your trousers are tight.

Woodrow had never been even an usher in a wedding, but he was in such a vegetative condition that it would have made little difference. Squat he did. When the ring fell, an absolute hush had descended over the room, so that when the overtaxed seam of his tuxedo gave way with that distinctive, ripping sound, only the deafest grandmother could have failed to see the horns of dilemma upon which our hero was impaled.

It is never pleasant to split one’s trousers. If one is at home, it is merely inconvenient. In a public place, where one is not able easily to amend the damage, it can be highly embarrassing. And if one bisects one’s breeches so that the result is exposed to the public inspection of one’s assembled friends and relatives (not to mention one’s new mother-in-law), the effect upon one’s nerves can be memorable.

Woodrow Dexter had perhaps one nerve left at this point, and that ripping sound tore it asunder. However, when one is to be married in the next moment, there is nothing to do but turn and face the minister, leaving one’s hindquarters to “face the music.”

He retrieved the ring and turned back toward the front. Then his eyes rolled upward in their sockets until only the whites were visible and, yielding consciousness for the moment, Woodrow Dexter passed out - cold as a mackerel. I must confess that from that point the ceremony was somewhat anti-climactic.

It should be noted that the wedding of the Dexters is fondly remembered by those in attendance who treasure such mishaps. They went away feeling abundantly rewarded for their efforts in coming, and that Woody had exceeded even their fondest expectations.