The Writer's Corner
The Rifleman's Serenade
Chapter 11 - Wedding Day
Written by Frank Charles aka weinerdawgy
The memory of
Margaret was prominent on the minds of Aubrey and Lucas when
they awoke Sunday morning. Lucas had dreams of her like never
before. He wasn’t expecting this when he went to sleep. He was
so tired after such a long party and so many conversations.
Perhaps it was seeing Johnny Gibbs that triggered his thoughts.
Whatever the case, he felt good about what was going to happen.
He was confident that Margaret wanted him to find another. The
dreams were of a gentle nature, about times at home when he was
able to be with her without leaving often to find work. Those
first years with Mark were not always easy, but he managed.
Lucas kinda knew that Hayden is what triggered those memories.
He was determined not to let it influence this fine day.
Aubrey had little reservation about the pending troubles. She
was a strong woman and wouldn’t be entering into this marriage
without firm conviction. Claire gave her a great pep talk last
night, she felt that Aubrey and Margaret were like two peas in a
pod. Her ability to draw comparisons without sounding
condescending gave Aubrey an affirmation she could understand,
but was not in need of. Lucas always told her about these things
as it was. The fact that others confirmed Margaret’s attributes
only served to make her stronger.
Lucas was up very early. He went out to see that Razor was ready
for the ride into town and that Mark was up and doing the same
for Blue Boy. No more chores though. A few men were set to feed
the needs of the ranch and everyone that wanted to was free to
attend the wedding. It was not a big deal as everyone was coming
back to the ranch for the reception anyhow. Whatever needed
attention could be taken care of later. Lucas remembered how
hard it was to find room for everyone to park their wagons and
find space for the horses for the Fulton reception. Today was
going to be even worse. He talked to as many as he could to
encourage them to share a ride. The path between the ranch and
town was well worn and the ruts were getting deep in places.
Most of the fifteen miles saw heavy use from residents nearby,
but the recent parties and guests had put an additional load on
the weary road. Usually it took the rainy season to melt the
ruts down a bit. Lucas was concerned that some would have
problems with their wagons along the way. He asked one of the
men if they could place a few shovels on their wagon along with
some tools in case this happened, maybe a few bad spots could be
fixed as well.
Mark and Lucas had a quick breakfast with Dillon and Ruth in the
ranch house. They had their dress clothes packaged and were
ready to head for town before anyone else. They had to be ready
early and seated for church services up front. Aubrey and Ann
were up to the same thing at the Bard House and knew to leave at
a slightly different time. Before long there was a line of
horses and wagons on the way into town. Service was to start at
ten o’clock and the wedding was to be at Noon. If the day of the
Fulton wedding was hot, today was going to be even worse. There
was a tent city of sorts in the church yard and in a few lots
just outside of town. There simply had to be a place where
people could stay out of the sun during the event. Things were
getting busy around the church by nine as the town folk knew it
would be hard to find a seat. Services were open to all who
could get in, but the wedding had to be by invitation seating
only. The church was not that big. Many would have to be
satisfied with a description as they stood outside. Lucas and
Mark arrived before the others and prepared in a dressing room.
Lucas did a last minute scissors job on Mark’s hair for old time
sake. Mark jokingly asked his Pa a very familiar question.
“Tell me again Pa, what will your next wife be like?”
“I could have expected as much from you boy!” Lucas boxed Mark’s
ears and laughed. “Well let me see, if I recall, once I told you
that she would have to have hair as crimson as the setting sun
and chestnut brown eyes. She would have to ride a horse as good
as any man, sew, cook, scrub, and yet have soft hands. And now I
can add one other requirement, she must shoot a rifle like Annie
Oakley!” Lucas chuckled.
“I think ya came pretty close this time, and all on your own to
“That I did. Her hair is brunette and her eyes are blue though.
I don’t think I’ll make her scrub either. But she sure can
“Funny, you never said anything about chopping firewood. I guess
you always had me figured for that!” Mark jerked his head away
before Lucas could go for his ears again.
“You smart little punk!” Lucas grabbed by the waist instead and
the two broke up laughing. “Now get into your suit and brush
your hat one more time.
“I know this will be what we’ve hoped for in every way Pa.
Aubrey may not be everything you dreamed about over all the
years but she is so much more in her own ways. Love has a way of
sneakin’ up on ya, don’t it?”
“It sure does Mark. You be careful to watch out yourself. It
won’t be long.”
“I’m not dreaming of it so much yet, but you’ll be the first to
know if I get the fever.”
“I noticed how you avoided the garter at Will’s wedding. I might
be a better shot!”
“I’ll have to keep moving this time. You’re always out to get
“You take your time son. Don’t rush into family life, get that
education well under way. Promise me you’ll find a good woman
and settle down when it feels right.”
“I’ll do my best Pa. Oh, I can’t wait to get on with this day!
Promise me you’ll be happy. Take your time and make Aubrey happy
“I promise with all of my heart son. I’ll have many watching
over me to make sure it happens. I’m looking forward to some
easy time once this weekend’s over. I know we have some
challenges ahead, but it’ll work out. You’re to be very careful
once you get home. I’ll have a little talk with Ruth and Dillon
just to be safe.”
“I think we’ll be alright. I’ll stay to my work and won’t go
looking for adventure until we know things are safe. I’ll be
close to where these men are though. Best to keep my name quiet
and only travel when I have to.”
“Good thinking son. And if there is any hint of trouble, you let
me know. I’ll be right there!” Lucas checked over Mark’s hair
one last time.
“I will. I’ll even stay here longer until school is ready to
start if you want me too.”
“We can talk about that later with your aunt and uncle. Right
now, we better start for the sanctuary and secure our front
Aubrey stayed back where Lucas could not see her during the
service. It was hot and Reverend Jamison did his best to move
things along. The congregation was led by the choir in singing
some uplifting hymns, ones that would set the mood for what was
to come. Lucas looked out over the people and felt nervous just
a bit. He did his best not to let the anticipation get the
better of him. Still he felt that tingle down his spine as he
contemplated the hours to come. He sang loud as they belted out
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. Emma and Ann came forward from
the choir to perform a special rendition of “Leaning on the
Everlasting Arms”. This was a rather new hymn that Emma found
out about while reading one of her theatrical journals. Their
voices rang together so sweetly that is was hard for even Lucas
to keep a dry eye. Jamison came to the pulpit next to deliver
his sermon. He took a moment to survey the faces and gave a nod
“On this great and Holy day, I want to say something both
meaningful and brief. It would be wrong of me to lecture long on
such a hot day and I know that we are looking forward to the
coming ceremony. Today we are going to witness a rebirth, a
joining of two long suffering souls. From what started out with
great loss we can now regain union. From what was once
loneliness there can now be delight. Such is the power of our
Lord and Savior. He not only will preserve our souls for all
eternity, he shall also show us the light in the brief time we
have upon his earth. We all know the story of Job and the great
faith it requires to endure the tests put upon us. Today we are
going to witness the passing of the test and the restoration of
the glory. I will refer you to Psalms forty, verse one:”
1: I waited patiently for the Lord and he inclined unto me, and
heard my cry.
“A soul can pray for an answer but they must wait patiently for
the reply. We may have a preconceived notion of what we desire
that answer to be, however, in his wisdom God shall give his
chosen direction, not ours. Verse two goes on to say:”
2: He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry
clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.
“You may not know it at the moment and perhaps you will, but you
are to be delivered from your torment and set upon a firm
foundation from which to go on. Finally, verse three:”
3. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our
God: Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord.
“This is the beauty of knowing and understanding the answer.
Your heart will feel uplifted from your plight and praising God
is to be the result. We delight in the doing of his will.
Blessed is he who knows the truth, sees the light, and finds the
way. Even more blessed is the teaching of others. Many shall
see, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord. If you do anything
else on this wonderful day, take a lesson from what you witness.
The fear is there to make sure you know the consequences of not
learning. Trust in God’s way and the blessings shall come. I
frequently preach about forgiveness and it is surely Christ’s
way. Vengeance also belongs to our Lord. We are to be carriers
of a message and teachers of his Gospel. Allow the Lord what is
his in return. Now we can rest easy in the knowledge of what is
to come. Thank all of you for being here and to those outside I
bid to thee that it is the room in our hearts that must be
sufficient more so than the space we have in our humble church.”
The Reverend led the congregation in prayer and returned the
floor to the choir. He sat down to the side of the podium and
bowed his head before joining in the song. Lucas was deeply
touched by the sermon. His respect for Jamison continued to
grow. Throughout his lessons in life the power of forgiveness
was the recurring theme. In the face of his current troubles he
knew he must trust what was being set before him. The nerves
began to settle and he came to the realization that everything
was happening for a reason and that he must keep faith.
The service lasted a little over an hour. Jamison touched the
right nerves and set the table for Micah to perform the greatest
duty of his life. If ever two souls had lifted each other over
the years, it was Micah and Lucas. The congregation was glad to
have a break and get outside where the air was at least moving
slightly. Lemonade and other refreshments were ready at tables
outside. Ushers began seating the invitees a half hour before
noon. Many chose to wait until the time drew near. Aubrey and
Lou were aided into their gowns by Ann, Emma, and Vanessa. They
kept cool by fanning the air over several buckets of ice. This
made the room bearable at least. The same thing was going on in
the groom’s quarters. Sam, Lucas, Micah, and Mark sipped cold
water, remaining silent for the most part.
The conversation went strong outside as the time drew near.
Friends were reuniting from all over the southwest. Many from
North Fork’s past had returned for just this occasion. They were
going to make for a very long procession of greetings after the
ceremony. An usher made the announcement that it was almost time
to get started. The piano and organ were playing as the
sanctuary began to fill in. Last minute preparations were
underway as the gowns were fretted over. Finally the back door
to the men’s dressing room opened and Lucas led his entourage to
the front of the podium. First beside him was the Best Man, Sam
Bard, with the ring around his pinky, followed by Micah, Mark,
and Dillon. Reverend Jamison stood at the podium waiting for the
Bride to emerge. Suddenly Lucas realized that Bat was no where
to be seen. Emma was quietly sitting in her choir robe by
herself a few rows back. When the Bride’s procession started to
come out of the room and the Wedding March began, Aubrey was
clinging to the arm of Bartholomew Masterson! He was dressed in
the finest black tux and shinning derby. Lou took her place
alongside Aubrey as they arrived in front of the podium. Others
followed to form the rest of the procession. The Reverend had
but to give a brief greeting and prayer before Micah was to be
on the spot for real!
“Ladies and Gentlemen, Welcome to this long awaited and most
joyous occasion. Today we are to witness the union of two loving
souls, North Fork’s favorite son, Lucas McCain, and the
beautiful and cherished Aubrey Canton of Santa Fe. Before us
stands in all humility these two most precious of God’s children
ready to begin life anew. Please join me in prayer as we enter
into this ceremony with reverence.”
“Heavenly Father, we ask of you this day for the guidance we
require to see that Lucas and Aubrey are set upon their path
together in peace and harmony. May their days be long and
fruitful in the obedience of your word. We give thanks this day
for the opportunity to conduct this most honorable of unions. In
your eyes we bring before you a man and woman who have captured
our hearts as well as our unending loyalty. We thank you for all
that they have meant to us and for all they will become. Give
them the strength and blessings they will need to fulfill your
will. May they have the happiness they seek as they rejoice in
your most holy of commitments. We ask these things in Christ’s
Silence followed a group Amen as the Reverend allowed a moment
for the congregation to relax. Before we conduct the ceremony,
we are blessed to have with us a very special sister from our
choir. Emma Walters is going to perform for us a most beautiful
“Thank you reverend. It has been our extreme pleasure to enjoy a
wonderful time in North Fork. You all have made us feel as
family. Bat and I will never forget the hospitality and love we
have received. I am grateful for the opportunity to return a
small portion of that love now in a song I wrote for just this
occasion. It’s titled. “Love is a Life Long Challenge”. Piano,
if you please.
We come into this world because of Love, two in rapture do
We grow up from childhood taught to Love, it’s what we come to
In times of trouble there is but one cure, honest and secure.
We cling to the promise of our Love, hearts beating true and
Love is a life long challenge, it’s the strength in all we do.
Love is a life long challenge, and I send all of mine to you.
We come together before the Lord, our souls to join as one.
We begin a new life’s journey, with God’s will it shall be done.
Along our road of Love we’ll dream, for a destination we shall
We’ll follow the path with unending faith, a lesson for us to
Love is a life long challenge, our focus throughout the years.
Love is a life long challenge, may our hearts never need to
Until our final days my dear, I promise to be true.
Until our final gaze be near, to the perfection I see in you.
Oh give me the time and the patience, to see all that we become.
Oh show me the wondrous reward, when on earth we shall be done.
Love is a life long challenge, in God’s plan there’s a battle to
Love is a life long challenge, ‘til we come home to his glorious
“Thank you Sister Emma! That was so joyful. I will now surrender
the podium to the master of this ceremony, our good Marshal,
Micah turned from the line in front and made his way slowly to
the elevated Podium.
He gazed over the people and then down to Lucas and Aubrey. He
wanted to smile but he maintained a dignified look as he
performed his duty.
“First of all, I want to thank God for the opportunity to be
here and to provide to my best friends something they have so
graciously asked from me. They told me that I am the one most
qualified to be standing in this spot. I won’t argue that
assessment. I would ask the same from Lucas if given a chance!
Thank you Reverend Jamison for being understanding of this
request and for your prayer to commence our wedding. To begin
with, I will ask who gives this woman, Aubrey Canton, to be
“I do Your Honor!” Bat quickly replied. “I give to you an angel
to be cherished.” Bat removed his derby and stepped back to have
a seat in the front row of the Bride’s side of the room. Not
many knew ahead of time that Bat was going to perform this duty
and it was getting a great deal of attention from everyone. Lou
took her place next to Aubrey.
“And to the Groom I will ask if he will step forward and join
hands with the Bride.”
Lucas moved into place as Sam joined him. Micah nodded and the
rest of the procession took their seats.
“Before us here today are Lucas McCain and Aubrey Canton. We are
to join them in Holy Matrimony in the house of God. I am but a
humble servant of the law and am not here to be fancy. I will
speak my mind though. Lucas is my best friend. I’ve said it
often over the last week or so, but more important we have
proven our friendship every day for almost ten years. There is
no finer man among us and I am grateful to him for this
opportunity to proclaim it. In my brief time getting to know
Aubrey I know that Lucas and her have made a wise decision to
wed. But wisdom is not the only thing one must have in this most
important part of life. There must be love. Some of us present
witnessed the very moment these two met. Lucas has described it
as love at first sight many times. Rest assured that I know this
to be true. We have also learned this to be a long standing and
eternal love as she has come to be with us. Thank God for this
union. Thank him for guiding these two ships at sea through the
fog of loneliness to embark on a most rare of journeys. Love is
not ours to cure loneliness, it is God’s gift to lift us from
it. It can always come back if we let it. For all of your life
from here on, it will be your challenge to rise above the faults
of this earthly existence and to endure whatever attempts to get
in your way. I can assure you that your friends and family will
be here to aid you in that quest. But I know that both of you
are strong in your conviction for each other. It is more likely
that the rest of us will be supported by your love. But our two
way street has a well worn path my friends. And now we shall
begin the joining of two hearts into one.”
Micah drew a deep breath and leaned his weight against the
podium for a moment. His hip was aching and Lucas knew that this
was not an easy thing for him. Lucas looked back at Mark and
nodded towards the chairs. Mark got up and brought one of the
chairs to Micah so he could lean on it.
“Now this is the kind of support I was talking about!” A brief
moment of laughter ensued as Micah regained his composure. “I’m
not going to ask the traditional questions for there is no
doubt. Not one of us present would have a reason to protest this
union. We have asked God to bless these two with everything he’s
got under the sun. We all know what must be done. Lucas McCain,
do you have in your possession a ring?”
“Yes Sir,” Sam fidgeted for a moment and then delivered the
“Do you promise to love honor and cherish, to hold in your heart
above all others Aubrey, this angel that God has revealed unto
“I do!” The smile that came over the face of Lucas McCain shined
like the beating sun as he placed the ring on her finger. “I
promise to live the rest of my life alongside and not in front.
I promise our path together will be as one.”
“And do you, Aubrey Canton, have a ring in your possession?”
“Yes sir, I do.” Aubrey felt the warmth of Lou’s hand as the
band came into her grasp.
“Do you promise to love, honor, and cherish, to hold in your
heart above all others Lucas, this angel that God has revealed
“I do!” Aubrey looked longingly into the eyes of The Rifleman. I
promise to live the rest of my life by you, never to look back
or to the side. I know our path will be paved with love and the
rest of our lives we shall fit like gloves.” They remained in a
gaze until Micah continued.
“I now pronounce you man and wife, Lucas McCain, you may kiss
the Bride!” While in their embrace, everyone joined in a cheer
and the hats began to fly. Tears had been falling all along but
the floodgates opened as the rejoicing began. “Ladies and
Gentlemen, I give to you Lucas and Aubrey McCain. What God has
joined together, may we forever honor, keep them well. This
family has become complete!
The piano and organ came to life as the procession began to move
along bringing an even louder roar as the newlyweds emerged from
the church. Rice and flowers rained as they slowly came down the
steps. The emotions ran high as the well wishers came along to
shake hands and hug the bride. It wasn’t long before a group of
men could be seen carrying an elderly man down the steps in a
wheelchair. Judge Hanavan was able to attend and insisted on
taking the same path as everyone else.
“Lucas! This is a most wonderful day! You’ve grown right up as
tall as any tree.”
“Why thank you Judge. I’m very happy to see that you could come.
I trust the way into town wasn’t too rough for you.”
“Not at all. I know I haven’t been making it into North Fork so
often these days, but my heart is always in my favorite town.
I’ll never forget that first day you came here or the way you
set things straight. Imagine if Big Jim Lewis had survived to
run this town longer.”
“I don’t think he would have lasted in any event. Then again, it
could have been me that got killed that day!”
“Never! You were always meant to be. No matter where you go
Lucas, God will watch over you. Just look at all of these
blessings he has bestowed upon you.”
“You’re so very right sir. And thank you for having faith in me
as well. Every day I look over the ranch and remember what you
did for us. Thank you Judge. ”
“You’re very welcome Lucas. I wish it could have been more. I
wish you could have gotten along better with that Oat Jackford
too. I should have warned you about him.”
“That’s alright, you had no way of knowing what was going on
there. It was a rough start though. But once he found out that I
meant business he came around. We have a nicer house because of
it too. I want you to meet my wife, Aubrey McCain.”
“That has such a pretty ring to it. God Bless you my dear. You
hornroped quite a steer in this one cowgirl!” Hanavan leaned
forward and Aubrey hugged him.
“It’s great to meet you Judge. Lucas has told me a great deal.
Please do be sure to chat with us more later on.”
“We have so much to catch up on Lucas. I shouldn’t take any more
of your time now though. We have us a real fine town and some
extraordinary people. It couldn’t get any better. I’ll see you
at the reception.”
“I’m glad you have the energy to get out there Judge. We’ll talk
some more! It means a great deal for you to be here.” The Judge
and his men moved on to talk to more of his friends.
“More and more the friends and family filed by. Aubrey held a
bouquet of marigolds as a symbol of Margaret’s memory. It took a
great deal of time for everyone to get there turn at shaking
hands and hugging the couple. The many family members formed a
line after Lucas and Aubrey to further allow the guests a chance
to meet everyone. Now that most people were out of the church
and into the sun, it became necessary to move things along so
the pictures could be taken and then the newlyweds could be sent
on their way to lead the procession on to the ranch. The crowd
formed a huge half circle as Lucas and Aubrey posed for the
photographers. They tried to work fast, insisting on taking two
of the crucial shots. Lucas had one picture taken with his top
hat on and one without. He didn’t want to be remembered for the
thing, but he thought at least one should be fine. The next
order of affairs was to assemble the wedding procession group
and then a group photo of the family. The last picture was with
everyone that wanted to join in. For that the camera had to be
moved back and still not everyone could fit in the field of
view. The best thing to do was to form two groups and do it
twice. Close friends remained for both photos. That way
everybody could be seen with men such as Bat Masterson and Simon
Battle! By this time it was getting close to an hour that
everyone had been standing out in the sun. Sam Bard got up on
the steps of the church and called for attention.
“You are all invited to our ranch to take part in the
celebration. The reception will be at our lodge on the McCain
property. Simply follow the crowd if you are not sure how to get
there. We will have some men stay behind with a wagon to make
sure everyone is taken care of. And now, I would like to present
our Honored Newlyweds with a special gift.” Sam relaxed for a
minute as a stunning four passenger carriage was brought forth
drawn by two black horses. The wheels and suspension were sturdy
to accommodate the rough roads of the area. The retractable
canopy was made from heavy sealed canvas and the seating was
custom upholstered in leather. Nils worked with Sam to order
this piece of art from St. Louis and to get it outfitted
properly. The horses were of the finest quarter horse stock from
the Bard Ranch. Sam and Vanessa took the front seats and
escorted Lucas and Aubrey to take the lead in route to the
ranch. A trailer of cans and various noise making objects were
tied to the back axel just before they took off. After a short
distance they stopped and removed the obnoxious device. The
fifteen miles of road seemed so much easier on the bones in this
well made carriage. After years of riding in a stiff buckboard
Lucas was pleasantly relieved of his pain. Mark came along close
behind on Blue Boy and leading Razor. They knew every rut and
“I’m not going to ever get used to this smooth of a ride Aubrey,
but I promise you that I will try. I think that buckboard is
going to get a bit lonesome before too long!” Lucas smiled and
kissed his bride. They held hands very firm and rarely broke
their gaze into each other’s eyes.
“I’ll tell you one thing Lucas, Micah will be glad when you give
him rides from now on.” Sam chuckled as he reached over and took
“That depends on how often I let them use it!” Aubrey elbowed
Lucas. “I’ll have plenty of shopping to do and you know I’ll
need the room for packages.”
“We’ll have us a fleet of carriages before long, and a better
road to go along. I’m going to start a crew for road repair once
we get over all of this party stuff. I’m not sure how much more
of this we can take.” Lucas sat back with his arm around Aubrey.
“Are you ready to watch some grass grow my dear?”
“Right along with the herds and the horses my husband.” Aubrey
nestled deeper into the grasp and the leather seat. “Ah, this is
the life. Almost reminds me of Dallas.”
“I reckon we’ll get back there one day. But we have quite a few
miles to travel up and down this road first.”
“I feel so much at home here Lucas. We are one with our world my
“I’m just happy to be one with you!” Lucas heaved a sigh and
turned for another kiss.
Sam and Vanessa knew what was going on behind them. Soon they
would be in similar bliss.
The Rifleman's Serenade — Reception
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch