The Rough and Ready Wedding Chapel

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The Rough and Ready Wedding Chapel

I was serving in the air force when Barb and I were married 54 years ago this month. We rented a mobile home in the Gold Hill Trailer Park that was located in the small town called Rough and Ready, California. Across the highway sat the wedding chapel featured in the photograph. It was small. Built for small weddings. It would accommodate only 12 guests. Barb was fascinated with the place and though she never voiced it I knew she wished she’d known about the chapel before our wedding.

The lady who owned it announced there would be sunrise services at the chapel on Easter Morning, 1963. Barb made plans and I was included. The Strategic Air Command was in the midst of the Cold War. With Operation Chrome Dome, Vietnam,  and other things, duty was not routine. Sixty to eighty hours each week on the flightline had become the norm. Though I would have rather slept in, I agreed to go her. When Easter Morning arrived I was awaken in the predawn hours by the sound of rain pounding on the trailer roof. I knew the chapel was too small for an alternate plan, I rolled over and went back to sleep.

Barb soon became friends with the chape owner who was a widow. And we soon learned that the lady’s late husband had been a professional mining engineer. When someone struck an ore vein, or thought they had, they often hired him to make a trip to the claim to prove its worth. She was part of the team as the backwoods cook. Ingredients, water, and seasonings were carried in two heavy backpacks.

She said one day a miner hired her husband to prove his claim which was located many miles in backcountry of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. It could be reached only by backpacking five days from Rough and Ready..

The first morning on the trail she fixed hotcakes over an open fire. She admitted the fire was a little hot, and the miner’s pancakes were crispy around the edges. When she handed him his plate he tossed his breakfast into the dirt, and told her he didn’t like crispy hotcakes.

“Mister. if he do that again you’re going to get mighty hungry before they got back to Rough and Ready,” she told him.

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