October 2, 2013 | Volume 100 / Number 40

Remembering My Kidnapping Shivaree

Recently we attended a wedding. Attending a wedding evokes so many emotions and memories. For me, I think back to our wedding day – 45 years ago on Saturday. Next comes remembering the birth of each child, followed by the memories of their childhood, then their wedding days and the birth of their children. It all comes full circle when going to a wedding.

Lately, I've noticed a couple's engagement announcement appear in the newspaper, then the invitation to their wedding. I always thought it was so nice afterwards to read about the wedding of a young couple you know and see a picture of them – she in her beautiful gown and he looking so handsome in his wedding attire. It was even fun to read about the wedding of people you didn't know.

Something else concerning weddings that seems to have become part of the past is the shivaree that took place a few weeks after the wedding day. How fun a shivaree was.

The whole neighborhood joined in. Sometimes the newlyweds came home to a house that had been "altered." Canned goods would be missing their labels, silverware and dishes moved to a different cabinet, the bed would be short-sheeted, and who knows what else took place. But it was all in fun and the newly married couple laughed along with everyone else. However, as the couple were restoring order to their house, they were probably already plotting what they would do to the houses of others in the neighborhood who got married.

I remember our shivaree. My husband's parents had joined us for supper. They were the very willing decoys. I was lured outside where I was "kidnapped." My kidnapper didn't take me very far away from the house – just far enough for us to hear others taking my husband away while he was calling out, "My wife! Where's my wife?"

We were taken into town, where a pickup with a wheelbarrow in the back was waiting for us. After we got into the wheelbarrow, the driver went up and down the streets honking the horn and inviting everyone to the dance that had been organized for us.

It was a wonderful evening – so much laughter and everyone having a great time. The memory of that night is still very vivid in my mind.

Shivarees – along with other celebrations – have fell by the wayside. Celebrations such as surprise birthday parties for a neighbor or everyone gathering together to welcome a new baby. Or neighbors gathering together for an impromptu card party.

While visiting with my mother-in-law one day, she said to me, "As great as the invention of the car was, it took away a lot. When you can be as mobile as you want to be, people tend to forget how to get together just for the fun of it."

Now, though, there are so many demands on a person's time. If you have children or grandchildren who are in sports, you are at all the games you can possibly go to. And then there are scheduled meetings for organizations. Meetings to plan for community events. Political meetings.

But perhaps, once in a while, it should be the priority to slow down just a bit and celebrate life.

Sandy Laumeyer is The Courier's Nashua correspondent and the Montana Newspaper Association's 2012 first place columnist in Division 2.

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