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The Shotgun Wedding: A mini-epic poem

Updated on December 13, 2017
McGruff was a standin' over me with that damned shotgun! At least that's what he looked like to me.
McGruff was a standin' over me with that damned shotgun! At least that's what he looked like to me. | Source

Ideas come from life

I got the idea for this little ditty from a true story. My best friend's older sister, Louise, knew very little of her father. Her mother wouldn't tell her anything, so she used to question my mother who knew both parents. My mom always told her she didn't know him very well. Seems that Louise's mother had been quite a firecracker in her day and got pregnant. She pointed to the most likely suspect as the father. Her Pappy and his shotgun rounded up the young man, and they all went to the preacher. After the wedding, her new husband left her standing at the alter. I guess a marriage is legal if it's been consummated before the ceremony instead than after. Anyway, after Louise was born, the mom divorced and married a second time. The second wedding took and produced seven more kids, including my best friend, Samantha.

After I was grown, Mom told me the story upon the promise that I would never tell Louise the truth.

"Boy," the big man snarled

"You done laid a babe

'pon my baby gurl.

Stand up, admit it like a man

You the one been messin’

With my Carrie Ann!"

I stammered, “Nosir, not me.”

My feet wouldn’t budge

When I tried to flee.

Ole McGruff took a stance.

I looked at his face

Then I peed my pants.

Gawd, I wished I had a keg

When I felt my courage

A runnin’ down my leg.

"Now, Boy, take heed,

I know she didn't swaller

no watermelon seed."

Ma and Pa with his shotgun


Eyeballin’ down the barrel

Of the biggest gun I ever saw.

Man, I couldn’t quarrel

With this man’s rage.

He had me dead to rights,

And that set the stage.

Now me, I warn’t of age,

Don’t make no difference

When the laws a 12 gauge.

My wool gatherin’ was over

When McGruff barked

Quick as the roll in the clover.

“Young whelp, sure as I stand,

Gonna make an honest woman

Outa my Carrie Ann!”

"Git yo’ ass to the church,"

The mad man prodded.

I turned and run into a birch.

The tree banged my head

And scratched my face,

I wisht it’d killed me dead.

Shortest walk I ever took

Was eyein’ that parson

Holding the Holy Book.

Carrie Ann's purty enough to make a man lose his marbles
Carrie Ann's purty enough to make a man lose his marbles | Source

Temptation’s ruined a many.

Lots of fellers succumb

To purty gals with plenty.

Carrie Ann sho’ has class;

Legs run from the ground

Plumb up to her ass.

Carrie Ann flat of her back

A smilin’ up at me

Lying on that haystack.

By then I was delirious,

I poked fun at her

And she took it serious.

Now she’s carrying my child

My freedom’s all gone

And her daddy’s gone wild.

Carrie Ann in her calico dress,

A bump in her belly

Her eyes red, hair a mess.

Her mama stood a glarin’

A hole through me

My wits was a rarin’.

She said, “Don’t you feel shame

For what you done?”

I said I didn’t feel no blame.

“Boy, don’t gimme no slack!”

I felt the cold steel

and I took my words back.

Beside her wuz two brothers,

Stupid Isaac and Newt

Don’t know ‘bout the others.

"Been caught by your sin,"

Newt growled and glared,

Isaac broke into a grin

Nobody wuz here for me.

Guess my Ma and Pa

they didn’t want to see

Their baby boy’s shame.

And Sis warn’t here

To call me a bad name.

Wouldn’t be no celebration,

Not even no shivaree

No moonshine libation

or fun at a barn dance.

I stood barefaced and

alone in my wet pants.


Parson began to speak,

My knees crumpled

And my body went weak.

"First comes the weddin,’"

The parson growled

"Then comes the beddin’"

"Boy, you got the cart

Afore the horse,"

I didn’t have the heart

To make things worsen

By makin' sass ‘cause

McGruff was still cursin’.

As I shook and said “I do,”

To make things right,

Carrie Ann mumbled it, too.

Now for the rest of my life,

I’ll be saddled with Carrie Ann

As my lawful wedded wife,

Payin' for what we'd done.

Just two dumb kids

Out havin' a little fun.

Hillbilly 10 Commandments


Forty years done gone by

I look at my Carrie Ann

I get light-headed and sigh.

Lookin’ back, what the Hell

We’ve had our ups ‘n down

Truth is, life's done gone well

Good Lord gave us ten kids

Nine of ‘em look like me

But I love ‘em all, you see

Don’t trouble me, understand

Oldest kinda resembles

The McGruff’s hired hand

Carrie Ann’s the best wife

Any man ever had

She’s made me a good life

The best thing, don’t ya see

A shotgun in my back

Made a real man outta me.

Shotgun Wedding by Roy C.

Shotgun Wedding by Jamie Lynn Spears

Which version of Shotgun Wedding do you like best?

See results


That's all, y'all! There'll be more Ozark tales to come. We're full of 'em (or at least full of it!). So hang around for more!

And keep them comments a comin'. It's free verse, so please no critiquing my bad poetry.

Miz B.


And the law stands behind it!

I can't believe this! I found a couple of court cases in my state that uphold the marriage even if a man married a woman through fear of the consequences of seduction. Honnett v. Honnett, 33 Ark.156 (1878) and Marvin v. Marvin, 52 Ark. 425 12 S.W. 875 (1890) I guess that applies to shotguns, too.


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    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 9 months ago

      Nadine, I appreciate your reading and commenting. I'd hoped to get a few chuckles from it.

    • Nadine May profile image

      Nadine May 9 months ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

      I smiled reading while your pictures made your poetic short story so real

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 17 months ago

      Vespa, thank you. I grew up with this colloquial speech, but my mama whacked me every time she caught me speaking it, LOL. It wouldn't have been the same without the local color.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 17 months ago from Peru, South America

      What an interesting true life story that inspired this poem! You're so creative and I love your use of colloquial speech. This is hilarious!!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Missy, we Southerners do have our ways, don't we? So glad I could give you a laugh today. It started out to be a three-stanza ditty, but I couldn't stop. Thank you for your great comment.

    • Missy Smith profile image

      Missy Smith 2 years ago from Florida

      OH MY GOODNESS!!! I am so glad I picked this one to read today MizBeJabbers. I needed a laugh and I laughed out loud all the way through this one. Brilliant! Funny! I guess I could put LMAO, which means I laughed my ass off, or I was laughing my ass off. Anyway you put it, that's what I was doing while reading this. I'm a southerner, so you know I've heard plenty about those shotgun weddings. Maybe it should still be this way. :)

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Audrey, glad I could give you some smiles! Thank you.

      Patricia, thanks for the comment, share and the angels.

      Ladies, I'm always glad to hear from the both of you.

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 2 years ago from sunny Florida

      O my ....the irony of fate!!!!

      This is a goodie.....

      shared g+ pinned and tweeted

      Angels are on the way to you this evening ps

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      Oh this just made my afternoon! Smiles to you!!!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thank you, Larry, as a fellow Southerner, you probably know that these things really occurred.

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 2 years ago from Oklahoma

      Love the imagery and the depictions of the shotgun weddings were very entertaining.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thank you, Lee. Now you know some history about folks who left Ireland and Scotland and came over here. LOL

    • profile image

      Lee Cloak 2 years ago

      Very enjoyable piece, really different, a great piece of poetry, voted up, thanks, Lee

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Pre-matured wedding, pretty good ... I hadn't heard that. I've heard of a lot of 8 lb., seven-month babies, though. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • peachpurple profile image

      peachy 2 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      funny poem, i thought your shot gun wedding in the one we used to say about pre matured wedding

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thanks, Hannah, always glad to hear from writers in the U.K. We're just your country cousins over here, you know. That is if you want to claim us.

    • Hannah David Cini profile image

      Hannah David Cini 2 years ago from Nottingham

      Great piece. Really made me chuckle and brightened up my morning. Thanks for sharing.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thanks, so much, Suzanne. I'm not a poet, so that makes me feel very good.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 2 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Great poetry, made me amused! I especially liked the courage running down his leg and the end too, where they were just two kids having fun and have to pay for it forever. It was good to have a bit of happily ever after in the epilogue. You definitely have a way with words and I've voted it awesome, because it's totally awesome!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thank you, DDE. Sometimes it takes me longer to find and select photos than it does to write the article.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Amazing! I like the photos and so greatly expressed.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thank you for your beautiful comments.

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Yes, my Sweet,

      So much colour in this wonderful Tapestry!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Nell and Manatita, thanks for reading and commenting. Now you know how some of your country cousins in the USA have fared. LOL

    • manatita44 profile image

      manatita44 2 years ago from london

      Very interesting story well told. Life itself is full of them.

      Excellent poetic and narrative touch.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 2 years ago from England

      That was brilliant! LOL! I laughed all the way through it, and those pictures! LOL! wonderful stuff! thanks for the laugh!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Trav, That's the reaction I'd hoped to get. Thanks for reading and commenting.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thanks for the read and comment, Sandra. Glad you enjoyed it.

    • travmaj profile image

      travmaj 2 years ago from australia

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading this - laughed out loud - loved the dialogue - most entertaining. Thank you MizBejabbers.

    • Sandra Eastman profile image

      Sandra Joy Eastman 2 years ago from Robbinsdale MN

      Wonderful read and gave me a much needed smile. So enjoyed.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Dana, can't argue with that. There were a number of those in my day, and although most of them stayed married, there were quite a number, mostly men, having affairs 15 to 20 years later. Thank you for reading and commenting.

    • Dana Tate profile image

      Dana Tate 2 years ago from LOS ANGELES

      Some people still believe that if shotgun weddings still existed you wouldn't have so many illegitimate babies running around. My grandparents were made to get married. They had nine children but he wasn't a very good husband. Some family members believe it was because he was made to marry her and didn't marry for love. I say if you pay.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Ann, it is very easy for me because it is my native dialect. Really! Except that my parents reinforced the school marm when she taught me proper English. I wasn't allowed to speak like that at home. LOL Thanks for the read and the fun comment.

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Brilliant! Loved the accent - not an easy thing to do well. You had me laughing and you had me serious.

      Great poem and a great read.


    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      You're welcome.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank for deleting my repeated comment MizB. Sometimes my computer or iPad freezes and you can't tell if a comment has been posted or not. It is possible I clicked "post comment" twice. When I realised time to edit was up.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thank you, Shauna, you have such an impressive bio that I feel flattered to have such a great comment on something I admit I have limited ability to write (poetry).

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      John, I'm so glad you like my vernacular humor. No, I don't think Louise is a member of HP. If she is, I think that she wouldn't know that I was writing about her. I try to keep my true identity hidden because of my job, and I don't believe that after all these years, she would recognize my photo. Thanks for the vote and I'm glad you like the songs. Your comment appeared twice, probably a computer glitch, so I'm going to deny the second one. I hope it doesn't mess up your first comment because we are having some internet problems.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Bill, thanks for the compliment, dear friend.

    • bravewarrior profile image

      Shauna L Bowling 2 years ago from Central Florida

      Miz B, I love this poem! You done tole the story right good! LOL

      Louise's secret is out. Sure hope she doesn't read this!

      I can't wait for more of your Ozark tales.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Thanks, Marcy, for the read and the comment. We were encouraged to submit our writing to magazines during our magazine writing class at school, but I just never have. That means a lot coming from you.

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Love your humour MizBejabbers, this poem is incredibly funny and well written, especially as it's based on fact :) Hope your friend Louise is not a member of Hub Pages. Great images and I like both versions of the song. Voted up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      What a great read...great humor...great very well-written. Way to go, MizB. Talent cannot be contained.

    • Marcy Goodfleisch profile image

      Marcy Goodfleisch 2 years ago from Planet Earth

      This is fun, Miz B-J! You should submit some of your writing to literary magazines, too. This would be a fun short story, I think. Thanks for letting us read this one!

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Mel, hope you had as much fun reading it as I did writing it. Thanks for the read and comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Sallybea, that's why I called it a mini-epic, the words just kept coming. Those guys do look like real hicks, don' they? Thank you for the entertaining comment.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Faith, what do you mean I nailed the accent...that is my native accent. LOL I thought I would never lose it enough to do air work in my radio days. Anyway, glad I could entertain you this blustery afternoon, at least it is blustery here. Personally, I kind of like Roy C. He sounds more like us. Thanks for your kind comment, up & share et al.

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Debra, thanks so much for your comment. I just hope I get by with some of it. Glad I could make you laugh. lol

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 2 years ago from San Diego California

      That was a delightful poem that gave me an unexpected Sunday afternoon laugh! Great hub!

    • sallybea profile image

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Gorgeous, you just have to love those images - those ears on those two guys are something and oh my goodness those words, they just keep coming - hilarious! You made my Sunday evening, thank you.


    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      LOL, this is awesome, MizBejabbers! I truly enjoyed reading your Ozark tale in free verse. You nailed the accents too!

      I like the Jamie Lynn Spears version better.

      Up +++ tweeting, pinning, G+ and sharing


    • Lady Guinevere profile image

      Debra Allen 2 years ago from West By God

      Hahaha! I loved it, made me laugh and the pictures OMG!! Thanks for all of that!