A Christmas Wedding

by Mary

It was Saturday night at the parsonage on the northern edge of frozen Minnesota one December years ago. The usual round of baths was in progress, each bather enjoying the delicious warmth of the bath, when there was a knock on the door.

A man and a woman stood at the door. They requested to be married. They were well past middle age and already had a family of children. But the man explained that his wife was troubled because they had never been married by a minister, so they wanted that done now. Though they had been living together for a long time, we suspected that they had never been married. Anyway, he requested that the pastor perform a marriage ceremony and so assuage her troubled conscience.

They wished their wedding to be kept a secret, so they had brought no witnesses. These had now to be supplied from the population of the manse. After me (the preacher's wife), the next oldest available witness was ten-year-old Jimmy who was rushed out of the bathtub and dressed up in his best. I hastily changed into a clean dress, smoothed my hair, and we were ready to go!

We took our positions in the living room, providentially festive with Christmas tree lights, the bridal couple in the center and Jimmy and I on either side of them. My preacher-husband had his handbook open and had just begun the ceremony when little brother, who earlier had been bathed, pajama'd and put to bed, decided that he was going to be in on this, too. Big brother wasn't going to get ahead of him if he could help it!

Without warning, the little guy appeared on the scene, barefooted, in pajamas, and took a place in all of his three-year-old dignity alongside Jimmy. Jimmy discretely nudged and poked, but to no avail. Nothing could swerve little brother from his purpose. He kept his station. Trying to see what was going on and to look into the faces of the strangers, he stretched himself up on his little bare toes and leaned forward so far that we expected him to tip over.

Despite the distraction, the mission was accomplished. The couple was happily married. After they left and were allowed time to get clear of hearing range, the preacher's pent-up emotions exploded. Following father's lead, the manse rang with merry laughter. Little brother was hugged and kissed and fondly bedded down in his crib, not to serve as a "best man" again until he was over six feet tall!

Mary was Penrod's mother. He sends us her manuscripts when he has none of his own.

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