Please let this one accept… prayed Berta.
Three priests had already turned her down. This was the last church within a twenty mile radius of her home town. This is what I get for living in the sticks...
Father Keats answered the door and showed her to his office.
After the pleasantries, Berta got straight to the point. “Bubba and I have written our own vows.” She handed him the paper and wrung her hands in her lap while he read it.
Father eyed her carefully, but didn’t say anything.
So far, so good. “We’d also like to hold the ceremony at 112 Newtown Road, in Lancaster.”
Father Keats knew the address well. “Isn’t that a rather… somber location for a wedding?”
“It’s where we met,” Berta explained.
“Bubba’s a police sergeant and I’m… I work there.” Don’t lose him now… “It’s also where we had lots of long talks; where he first asked me out; where we first held hands; where I first saw him cry; where…”
Father Keats just looked at her.
“I know it’s unusual, but it’s ‘our place’, ya know? There’s a good size room on the first floor… I already have Mr. Brock’s okay, and um, the price is right, ya know? He even gave me the employee discount. Of course we won’t need the other services…”
“And what’s ‘your song’?” asked Father Keats, “A requiem?”
Berta almost burst into tears. Where will I try next? Then she noticed the gleam in Father’s eye. “Actually, our song is um… It’s about an armadillo.”
“So you’ll do it then?”
“This should prove to be an interesting wedding. At least you’re not asking me to climb atop Mount Spire.”
“Oh, thank you Father!”
The guests were seated. They all managed to find their way despite some confusion about the location. They all knew either Bubba or Berta. They understood only too well their… uniqueness. Everyone was quite happy that they’d found each other, especially their parents.
“This place gives me the creeps,” said Bubba’s mother.
“Maybe they’re hoping you’ll keel over from the shock,” snarled her ex-husband.
“Hush!” said Berta’s mom who was dressed in head to toe white.
As the instrumental armadillo song boomed out of the cd player, Berta sashayed down the short aisle in a multi-hued gown with a flowing train of ruffles like waves undulating on the shore. She was accompanied by the prancing Cleopatra, her snow white miniature poodle who wore a jeweled tiara for the occasion. Although rather unusual, they were a stunning pair.
Sergeant Bubba wiped a tear from his eye as he watched Berta approach him at the front of the room. He wore his dress uniform (minus the gun.) Antony, the ‘best dog,’ stood erect at Bubba’s side.
Father Keats began. “Although this is the first wedding I’ve said here, after talking with both Berta and Bubba over the past few months, I have to say, I give this marriage much better odds than most. Their love for each other, and for God, is obvious to all who meet them…”
Thankfully, no one objected to the union -- the location, their outfits, the attendants, and the music, yes, but not to the actual wedding.
As Bubba put the ring on Berta’s finger he said, “You have the right to remain silent -- or talk my ear off. Anything you say can’t and won’t be used against you in our home of everlasting love and forgiveness. You have the right to have family, friends, and outside interests during our lives. If you cannot afford the time, I will do your chores for you. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you most of the hours of my life. I love you, Bertie.”
Berta gently wiped a tear from Bubba’s cheek. She fumbled with his ring and said, “You have the right to remain silent after a hard day. May everything we say and do be for His glory in all the land. We have the honor of having our God present always. If we cannot afford to tithe, we will find a way to give nonetheless. I promise to love, honor, and cherish you all the days of my life.” She squeezed Bubba's hand.
After the brief ceremony Bubba carried his bride outside with dogs and people yipping behind.
As the guests streamed out of the funeral home, not an eye was dry -- but out of happiness.
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