When Ole and Jennie were going to get married—joke

My paternal grandmother did not tell a lot of jokes, but she liked to tell the funny Norwegian story of “When Ole and Jennie were going to get married”. She told it in a thick Norwegian accent, slowly that so that we could understand. She spoke with a soft exhalation at the beginning of important words, pronouncing Ole almost like a sigh oooOH-lee, and Jennie with a soft sigh yyyYEN-ee. W’s were V’s and J’s were Y’s, so “Ole and Yennie ver going to get married.” The telling was quiet and quite proper as marriage vows should be. The story goes like this:


Ole and Jennie were going to get married, in fact the wedding day had come. The church altar was laid, the flowers were arranged, the food was prepared, the music was ready, and the guests had arrived. Jennie saw that Ole was very nervous, sweating, and fidgeting about, so she was not surprised when he asked to see her in private. “Jennie.” Said Ole, “I have been thinking, and I do not think I want to get married, I have changed my mind.” Jennie thought about the night he asked her to marry him, she thought about the carefully laid alter, the flowers, the food, the music, the guests, and she had a good hard think herself. Then she said, “Ole, everything is ready for our wedding, if you back out now everyone will be mad at you. I tell you what we will do, you go ahead and take the marriage vow, then when it comes to be my turn I will say no and then everyone will be mad at me instead of you.” Ole was so grateful for her generosity, he thanked and thanked her. Then when they stood before the minister, and Ole heard the minister say, “Ole, do you take this woman to be your lawfully wedded wife?” Ole said yes, “Ja, I do.” in a thin, nervous voice. Then the minister asked Jennie, “Jennie, do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?” And, Jennie said “Ja, I do, you bet I do.” in a loud, firm voice. And, Ole tugged at her sleeve, “But, Jennie, you said you would say no!” Jennie replied, “You’re not the only one who has been changing their mind."

Caption: Have You Been Changing Your Mind?

by Annmarie Throckmorton 2018


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