My mother was a bridesmaid; her groomsman left the wedding in an ambulance after he swallowed a chicken bone at dinner

Tracey Folly

*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events as told to me by a family member who experienced them firsthand; used with permission.

My mother was one of the bridesmaids at my aunt's wedding. According to my mother, it was a beautiful event. What could possibly go wrong?

"The flowers were gorgeous, and the centerpieces were exquisite," she told me. "The food was delicious, and the music was perfect for dancing," my mother said.

"My sister and her groom had tried to set me up with one of his friends in the past, but we had never managed to find a mutually agreeable time and place to meet. So it was no surprise when my sister and her fiancé selected this same friend to be my groomsman at the wedding. It turned out to be a good match, at first. We laughed. We danced, and we had a great time," she continued.

It turned out that the groom's friend was romantically interested in my mother, but my mother was concerned about the amount of booze he was putting away. So she was apprehensive.

"But he kept drinking until he could barely stand. He was intoxicated throughout the entire wedding reception," she said.

My mother thought he was fun and interesting, but she tried to put some distance between them when she realized how intoxicated he was. "We ate our meal together: half a chicken, mashed potatoes, peas, and cranberry sauce, and then we went our separate ways on the dance floor. That was it. I didn't see him again that night."

The wedding festivities continued until well past midnight. My mother had long since lost track of her inebriated groomsman. She was surprised to learn that he had left the reception early, in an ambulance.

My mother's sister told her that the groomsman felt a sharp pain in his throat that started sometime after dinner and progressively grew worse throughout the night. When his breathing became labored, someone called him an ambulance.

"I was afraid I might have caught something from him," my mother told me. "My biggest fear was that he had a case of strep throat. I know strep is very contagious, and it's also painful. But it turned out what he had wasn't contagious."

Later, someone spilled the beans on what had really happened. "He had a chicken bone caught in his throat, but he was too drunk to notice it until it got good and lodged in there. He started to panic when it started to poke him, and he went to the hospital to have it removed."

My mother never learned how big that chicken bone was, but she did find out that her new brother-in-law's friend had survived the incident. It wasn't until several months later that my mother found herself invited to dinner at her sister's house at the same time when her former groomsman was there.

They were able to laugh and joke about the incident, but they never did end up dating. It just wasn't meant to be. "I told him that his motto should be, 'If you drink too much, then don't eat chicken off the bone because those bones will get you every time,'" she said.

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Writing about relationships online since 2009.

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