This is the stuff of fairy tales

When a company president opts to attend the wedding of an employee’s son instead of keeping an attendance record for Texas A&M University football games intact, loyalty is redefined. ‘That’s what happened to Rod Dockery who, on Sept. 27, was in Ardmore, OK, instead of’College Station, where he had seen EVERY Aggie game since 1969’. He could have chosen the game instead.’Possible excuses screamed out, ‘Choose me, choose me!’After all, the wedding was out of state’a previous commitment of long standing’ suddenly taken ill’at home with a sick child, ad infinitum’.Rod turned deaf ears.’He gave away his football tickets headed for Ardmore, where the faint odor of renegade Texas legislators remained’. Dockery and wife, Kim, sat toward the back of First Presbyterian Church.’The marriage ceremony of Josh Purrtel* and Taylor McCutcheon started at 6 o’clock, not long after the Aggies lost their grip in the third quarter against Pitt.’Friends gazed at Dockery as he settled into his pew, feeling sure they might see an earpiece wired to a pocket radio.’Lo!’There was none’. * * * * * Moments later, though, several dozen friends of Caleb and Linda Purrtel* stared straight at Rod, who unwittingly’or so he claimed’became a participant in the ceremony.’The minister spoke to both sets of parents, asking them if they support their children in holy matrimony.’The Purrtels*, and new in-laws John and Jenny McCutcheon of Ardmore, remembered what to do from rehearsal a day earlier.’We do’ flowed flawlessly from all four mouths’. Dockery, thinking about the Aggie game if not, THOUGHT the minister asked the CONGREGATION to support Josh and Taylor.’His thundering ‘We do’ was like unto a fifth wheel, a distant echo several yards away from the quartet whose ‘We do’s’ with Blue Angel precision.’Most of the audience turned in unison toward Dockery, who was ‘Hickory-Dickory’ in their books.’They heard EXACTLY what the preacher asked; Why didn’t he’ Later at the reception, Mrs. Dockery reminded the newly weds that if they needed a refrigerator, car payment or just about anything else, old Rod no doubt would want to help out!’After all, his ‘We do’ was just as loud as the parents’! * * * * * It was a beautiful wedding.’My wife said so.’She’s a veteran planner of weddings for our three daughters.’Take it to the bank. Josh and Taylor are only children, so there was planning to the nines.’In fact, both moms played major roles, with Linda driving to Ardmore a week before the wedding to help with last-minute details, including finding a ‘just right’ get-away car’. At an intersection near the church, she used her mobile phone to call Glenn Hyde back home in Ennis; he would locate an old Model A with a rumble seat.’At mid- sentence, she saw the car of Josh’s dreams alongside.’She and Jenny screamed with delight, reaching a crescendo when they also spotted a policeman.’Follow that car,’ Jenny yelled at the officer.’He did, and roadside arrangements were made to borrow the 75-year-old vehicle for a few minutes following the reception, and this was an ‘add-on’ that didn’t cost money! * * * * * Rod swears that he was not a ceremonial participant on purpose.’Still, those who know him well know of his antics as an Aggie cheerleader in the ’65 season.’He pulled off weekly pranks’with the help of his friends’that rank bold-face treatment in Ripley’s ‘believe it’ book’. He successfully orchestrated ‘borrowing’ mascots from every Southwest Conference school.’But we took them straight to our vet school for safe-keeping,’ he purred.’He and his co-pranksters were abducted the Baylor, singing happy tunes on the way back to College Station.’The bear seemed content in the bag seat, swigging down two cases of Dr. Pepper’the official soft drink of BU.’Alas, when the bear couldn’t find a third case, he tore up his half of the 1950’s Buick in protest! Another time, a Texas Ranger showed up in Aggieland, vowing that when he left, he would have UT’s beloved Bevo and/or Dockery in tow.’Rod helped ‘steer the steer’ into the trailer with lots of ‘yes-sirs’ during the load-up’. * * * * * Oh, one last thing.’The asterisk beside the Purrtel* name means that it is purposely misspelled.’This is to protect Linda Purrtel* who, almost 40 years ago, quaked at the mention of Ardmore.’Hubby Caleb (in the phone book under ‘Pirtle’)’came down with vapors and smothering spells.’A young FORT WORTH STAR-TELEGRAM feature writer at the time, he was dispatched to Ardmore to cover cock fights (fights were legal, but betting wasn’t).’He wrote it up brilliantly.’It was so well done that the Associated Press picked it up’.’Some of Ardmore’s finest citizens were at that chicken melee; they were less than amused at Purrtel’s* story.’I got tacky, threatening calls, so we got an unlisted number,’ Caleb admitted.’I thought I’d heard the last of Ardmore; what are the odds my son would fall in love with a girl from there”” * * * * * The newlyweds are honeymooning in the Bahamas, and they’ll begin married life with splendid employment credentials’he’s a CPA and she’s a graduate of the University of Oklahoma Law School.’They’ll live in the Metroplex. * * * * * Dr. Newbury, longtime Howard Payne University president, is an author/speaker/ columnist near Fort Worth, a few miles south of senility.’He points with pride to Josh Purrtel,* a model student/athlete.’He was as good at schoolin’ as he was playing hindcatcher in baseball, and he was a mighty good hindcatcher’. Dr. Newbury can be reached at 817-447- 3872 or by e-mail at

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