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Mr. and Mrs. Worshrag, Mostly

Well, it has been an eventful week:

– Our son Worshrag’s fiance Busy Bee underwent emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix late Sunday night.

– Their wedding and reception for 130 guests was cancelled Wednesday, three days before the date.

– After eight days in the hospital, Busy Bee was discharged on Labor Day, and a couple of hours later Worshrag and she became man and wife, mostly.

– And today my wife, not them, is going on their honeymoon.

I’ll explain the “mostly” married inference in a moment.

As for Honey going on their honeymoon instead of them, that’s easy to tell: Worshrag had booked their honeymoon at a Gatlinburg resort which has a strict no-refund policy for cancellations, and Honey really needed a restful vacation after a stressful summer of wedding preparations and being chained to the kitchen, putting up vegetables from my over-productive garden.

“I’ll go with you,” I told her, trying to sound sincere.

But she knew I really didn’t want to go. After our Williamsburg vacation fiasco last year she was so frustrated with me she announced that when the next vacation opportunity came along she was going alone, or with a sister or friend – anyone but me, a confirmed homebody who mopes around when forced to travel for enjoyment, thinking of all the work I could be getting done at home.

So she will spend five days lazing around a mountain resort, talking to her sister, watching movies and reading books. I’ll spend five days at home eating fried baloney sandwiches topped with huge slices of “pink girl,” my favorite garden eating tomato. And we’ll give the cost of the trip to Worshrag and the new Mrs. Worshrag so they can enjoy a proper honeymoon once she is fully recovered.

IN AN ERA in which the concept of marriage is considered optional and old-fashioned by many young couples, Worshrag and Busy Bee are traditionalists. When they mutually realized they needed and loved each other, and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, marriage was the only option.

Worshrag, like most men, probably had not spent 30 seconds in his entire life thinking about what kind of wedding experience he would like to have, should he ever marry (which until recently looked pretty darned unlikely), but Busy Bee most certainly had.

When he spoke those fateful words “Will you marry me?” it set off a chain reaction in this young woman’s lovely head, activating dormant thoughts and plans about what her wedding dress would look like, what her colors would be for the wedding party and hall decorations, who would be her bridesmaids, and the endless decisions to be made to fulfil visions of her wedding day, dreams she had entertained since girlhood.

It was all planned and coordinated and timed to near-perfection, ready to go and only scant days away, so that when it was cancelled, coupled with the physical stress of a painful and life-threatening illness, the emotional impact was brutal.

We wondered if they would give up her dreams and opt for a quick, small ceremony, with perhaps a reception or party later, as we have seen couples do in these COVID times. After going through this ordeal together, how could they go back to being simply engaged? Besides, he would have to be her nurse 24 hours a day during a week or more of recuperation. He was intimately involved in her nursing care in the hospital, certainly more than most married husbands would have been.

But even for a quickie wedding you need a marriage license, and they didn’t have one yet; they were to get their license the day before the wedding at the Columbiana County Courthouse, and had had to make that appointment two weeks in advance.

Worshrag was very protective of Busy Bee, cautioning us parents not to press her now, in the hospital, about what she wanted to do.

But we couldn’t help hinting around, trying to get a feel for what kind of wedding we might have to help arrange.

“I just want to get married,” the poor girl tearfully said at one point.

THE SOLUTION we and her parents eventually proposed to them and they accepted was to have a Christian minister perform the wedding ceremony without benefit of marriage license.

As Honey put it, “they would be married in the eyes of God,” and can have the legal wedding ceremony later so they would then also be “married in the eyes of man.”

We arrived at this strategy through “what if” discussions. It is something none of us had ever heard of before and weren’t sure a minister would do, but as it turns out, it has been done infrequently and usually in desperate circumstances. Brother Holly, a family friend and Weirton minister, told Honey he had married a couple sans license when a soldier was unexpectedly ordered to ship out, with the expectation of following up later with a legal ceremony.

Busy Bee was discharged from the hospital on Labor Day. Worsh brought her home to their apartment, where her mother helped her put on a beautiful white dress. A short time later, her father drove her to the Miller pond and walked her up the dock. Worshrag’s Uncle Terry, who has a mission ministry, officiated, noting that it was his first wedding as well as theirs.

The words of the traditional ceremony were simple and moving. The couple said their vows and exchanged rings. The sun was shining and a cooling wind blew across the water. Members of both families watched and listened from the bank, and cheered as Worshrag kissed his bride.

Plans for the “legal” wedding and a catered reception are for it to be held in the 1849 Miller barn in late October. With decorations in teal and silver, linens on tables, twinkling lights draping the barn beams and the bridal party in full regalia, our old barn will be dressed more beautifully than it ever has been, or, in my opinion, ever will be.

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