By: William Nelekona
Less than 24 hours before I was to drive out to a stunning ranch in Brady, Texas, and marry the love of my life, I was in a bit of a pickle. I didn’t have a wedding ring, and I was out of money.
Now for you unmarried men and women out there, all I can say is that as time gets down to the wire before your wedding you can experience different emotions. You’ve got a lot to get done. I was mainly dealing with the hustle and bustle, the lose-your- appetite over the amount of friends and family showing up from all over the place, and coming to the realization that ’the day’ was almost here.
I was fortunate enough to have half a dozen of my closest friends show up from around the world to celebrate a day before we were to set off for the ranch. They took me down to Austin where we went and enjoyed the nightlife. But how was I to go have all this fun and have no plan for a wedding ring? I began looking through my arsenal for something to sell. Before we headed out, I posted an ad to Craigslist for a knife that I owned, in hopes of finding a buyer, and being able to buy a wedding band. The blade in question: A Benchmade Mini Infidel, OTF Auto knife. (An out-the- front, dual action, automatic knife; i.e. a switchblade.)
Early the next morning, a piercing ringtone cuts the air of the hotel room. “Hello, this is William,” I blanched. “Yes, do you still have the Infidel available?” (Yes, I do!) I was stoked. We were staying at a hotel just up the street from the Texas State Capital. (Bigger than the D.C. Capital by the way) I then, remembered Kruger’s jewelry was only a few blocks away. This could work out perfectly. I arranged to meet this guy on the corner of Congress Ave. and 8th Street, where Kruger’s is located. I called Kruger’s and let them know I was on a very tight budget and needed a gold wedding band. They looked around and said they have 1 ring in my size that would work and to come down.
My buddies and I get to to the prearranged meeting spot, and one of my dear friends from Hollenbek, Germany, suddenly lights up when he sees a Chipotle across the street. He must of mentioned Chipotle half a dozen times in the days leading up to the Austin adventure, and he was nonetheless enthused on our chance encounter. He bought 2 burritos; one for now, one for the long flight back to Deutschland in a few days. His family are salt of the earth people who run a little restaurant and pub called Hagemann’s Countryside. If you’re ever a good ways east of Hamburg, and want some serenity and something tasty, go there.
A few minutes go by standing on the street corner, when a gentleman approaches me, and asks if I had the knife. It didn’t feel sketchy at all. Yes, I’ve got it. I pull out the Infidel and hand it to him. I looked around feeling like I must be doing something highly illegal. I wasn’t to my knowledge, but there was something all too funny about a transaction going down for a switchblade, in sight of the Capital, and around the corner from a jewelry store. It couldn’t of happened more seamlessly. He deploys the blade back and forth, once or twice and naturally remarks, “I like it.” He pulls out his wallet and hands me $330. We shake hands, and part ways.
I round the corner straight into Kruger’s. I swing open the door and walk in with my brothers to get my “1 ring to rule them all”; Well, the man who was helping me showed me the ring, and it was perfect. 14 karats of gold goodness and fit just right. “How much?” $350 + Tax. Ew… I reached into my wallet retrieved my fresh made $330 and 3, wrinkled $1 dollar bills. I told the guy politely, “I just sold a knife outside to buy this wedding band, and it was all I had. I need it for $333 out the door.” Well, Mr. Kruger happened to be there himself. The gentleman goes to the back of the store, and comes back out with Mr. Kruger. He was jovial and kind, more interested in this knife I just sold outside of his shop than price negotiating over the ring. So I indulged him. He told me I should of brought the knife to him, he might of bought it. He accepted my offer of $333.00 out the door.
He even had one of his guys buff the ring until it was completely matte instead of a high polish, like I wanted it. He asked if I’d come by after the wedding sometime, to give a photo of my wife and I as newlyweds. I still haven’t done that, but will one of these days.
We made it out to Selah Springs Ranch and I now had a ring for my wife to put on my finger. Just before my brothers mounted up to head to the altar, which was a beautiful oak along the San Saba River, my good friend Clay hands me a finger of whiskey and his .1911. Well, my boys toasted me over good whiskey, and I emptied that magazine at a target 100 meters away. It was just what I needed. It was now time to marry the love of my life. She looked more beautiful than words can describe.
The ceremony went great, and the ring exchange did too; even if I might of placed the ring on her wrong finger. We did manage to burn down part of the fire pit area, at the ranch. That could have been a huge disaster, and it happened early morning, on the wedding day. The owner’s Phil and Andrea Chavanne were so incredible with everything. Phil told me to stop apologizing and to let it go. He said it’s over and for me to focus on my wedding, we could talk about the fire another time. He taught me a lesson. He gave me grace and forgiveness right away, and even though he wasn’t happy about his firepit going up in flames, he knew it was an accident; albeit one by me and my hooligan friends. Not really surprised we managed to do that.
I have new meaning to something ‘going off without a hitch.’ There’s plenty of hitches in life, but it’s how you decide to roll with it and what you’re gonna do about it that makes all the difference. Adapt and have a whole lot of fun in the meantime. It works out better than you could of thought and is much more memorable.
Oh, and it’s really obvious God had a hand in all that too.