"That's Once!"

Sue Hodge

Canowindra, Australia

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Artist's Description

My Husband recently told the story below at a wedding. He was the speaker – what do you think he said after this to give the newly weds guidance?

I must admit I was worried – but he did well making much of the story to illustrate the need for realistic expectations and hope. Want to know how he did this? You will have to ask him. My response was to paint this – and so its called “That’s Once!”

Have you heard the one about the newly weds?
After the festivities they left for their honeymoon.
This was in the days when the common form of transport was horse and cart.
What is going on within their minds? The groom . . . we won’t focus on what was going on in his mind, but the bride was thinking how perfect it was.
She couldn’t help smiling at her husband with joyful expectations of what the years ahead of them would bring.
As the horse steadily plodded along the cart was creaking as the wheels rolled along the dusty track.
Suddenly the horse stopped, lowered its head and began to eat some lush grass growing on the track. The groom flicked the reins with a “giddy-up!” The horse did not respond.
He climbed down from the cart, and went and addressed the horse. He raises his finger and Firmly says: “that’s once.”
As he climbed backup into the cart his bride was smiling admiringly at him, thinking: “I love a man who knows his mind and is firm and yet patient. He will be so good with children.” The groom takes the reins and with a flick they are on the move again.
Ten minutes later the horse stops for another snack. The groom repeats the ritual, getting down from the cart and addressing the horse, he raises his finger and firmly says: “That’s twice!”
A warm sensation floods the bride’s whole being as she is drawn to this man who exhibits such steadiness, consistency, stability and self control. Again, with a flick of the reins they are off. She slides closer to her man and places her head affectionately upon his shoulder. Just as her mind wonders into daydreams of a little house, with a veranda, a garden, children playing and her man coming through the gate after a hard days work, the horse stops for yet another snack.
Without hesitation, the groom jumps from the cart, but this time goes to the rear of the cart and appears to be getting something, perhaps a whip?
But when he approaches the horse to address it he has a shot gun in his hands. Firmly he says: “That’s three times!”, points the gun and Bang! Shoots the horse dead.
The Bride sits there stunned and can hardly believe what has just happened. As her husband climbs back onto the cart, she exclaims in a tense panicked voice:
“What did you do that for?!
You didn’t have to shoot it!!!
What are we going to do now?”
The groom turns to her, raises his finger and says firmly:
“That’s Once.”

Artwork Comments

  • Linda Ridpath
  • Impressionism
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