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The forgotten marriage license




As we travel along the road of uncertainty, the road of life, with its many curves and ups and downs, we may see things in a totally different light each day. What troubles us one day may not seem so alarming the next. Or maybe it may all depend upon our own frame of mind. Something of this nature confronted me one day as I was making my rounds doing pest control.

There was a place on my route where the upper rooms were at road level, while the lower part was below road level. It had been an apartment at one time, but it had since been turned into a poker room with a number of tables and chairs in it.

I had serviced it many times before without much more than a glance at the objects hanging on the back wall. On this particular visit I was not in any hurry. I stopped to observe all the objects adorning this wall, and all at once my eyes gazed upon a marriage license. I wondered what in the world was a marriage license doing in a place like that. Who would have put it there, and why?

Then the realization hit me. It hadn’t been just put there, even though I hadn’t noticed it on my previous visits. It had been left behind by the ones it belonged to. The one thing which should have been taken was simply left hanging on the wall as if it no longer meant anything.

About that time my mind started running wild. Many different scenes ran through my mind. Had all the whiskey and beer – as evidenced by the containers left behind – been the breakup of a marriage? Was that the reason the marriage license was left behind?

Then I imagined little feet running back and forth across the floor, the sound of children laughing and playing. I could almost hear the awful sounds of a couple fighting in a drunken rage, and one passed out of the floor with the other shuttling the kids out the door to safety, never to return.

Had this poker room started out as a little friendly game in the living room and ballooned out of proportion? If so, how much grocery and clothing money had been lost there? How many household items had been pawned to raise enough for “just one more game”? Gambling can become habitual like many other vices because of the weakness of the participants.

I hardly think I will ever know the solution to this mystery which happened over 35 years ago. Even though it occurred long ago, it still bothers me when I remember it. One of my pet peeves is going into a tobacco outlet which has a pawnshop, which a lot of them do, and seeing a child’s bicycle or other toys which have been pawned with no intention of ever retrieving them. Another one is passing an alcoholic beverage outlet with a sign which reads “All major credit cards accepted.”


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