Honeymoon in Hog Heaven
As I lay there in the dark, soon the same throaty sounds penetrated the silence. My God, it sounded as if they were forcing their way into the tent!
by Mark Renz
December 23, 1994. Proposing was one thing. Paying for an expensive wedding when neither of us had any money was another. So we made arrangements for a small ceremony in front of the old commissary on the Babcock ranch where I worked as tour manager. Refereeing was retired circuit judge and ultimate Southern gentleman Elmer Friday, who not only grew up on the ranch, but gave my mother a divorce from my biological father some 30 years earlier.
"I hope your marriage is more successful than your mother’s first one," he joked. I assured him that Mom had been happily married for the 30 years since then to my stepfather Bill Renz.
For our honeymoon – and this was Marisa’s idea, mind you – we bought a tent and sleeping bags, and camped in Telegraph Cypress Swamp on Babcock Ranch property.
I don't recall when we fell asleep but it wasn't long before strange sounds broke the silence. They were all around our tent--low, ominous grunting that could only come from feral hogs. Although I couldn't see them, I imagined their weight at over 200 pounds with sharp, six-inch tusks that can easily slice through a person's skin.
Instinctively, I slapped the tent floor and bellowed, "Get outta here!"
After I yelled, I heard nothing except the pounding of my heart. For 10 minutes, it was perfectly quiet, without so much as a cloven hoof crushing a dried leaf. My new bride had slept through all the commotion and was oblivious to the potential danger. As I lay there in the dark, soon the same throaty sounds penetrated the silence. My God, it sounded as if they were forcing their way into the tent!
We had no gun with us and I didn’t think it was wise to try wrestling half a dozen crazed swine anytime, let alone on my honeymoon. So I tried to become the aggressor again by yelling and slapping my hands on the tent floor.
Marisa somehow slept through the whole affair. After things quieted down, I gradually fell back asleep. But I had no sooner drifted off again when the sounds started back up, only this time it sounded as if the hogs had finally made it into our tent.
As I turned to warn Marisa, the real source of the noises became evident. My lovely bride was snoring peacefully...snuggled up against my ear.