First Comes Love

A Year of Weddings in Orchard Hill


 Orchard Hill

White Rose Publishing






Dear Pansy and Misty,

Merry Christmas!  It doesn't seem as if a whole year could  have passed since you two moved away.  As you know, it's been a year for weddings here in Orchard Hill, starting with Riley and Gracie's Valentine's Day wedding and stretching out through the year.

All of Orchard Hill Community Church's engaged couples have tied the knot.  The last wedding was yesterday.  Pastor Isaac finally got to have his own wedding, after performing 11 ceremonies in one year, starting with your double weddings, ladies.  I hope married life continues to treat you well.

In fact, I've been to so many weddings lately, I feel I've become something of an expert on them.  It's amazing how beautiful they all were and yet how different.  Riley and Gracie's wedding was very traditional and of course Riley's relatives filled the church.  One of those relatives - I don't remember exactly how they're related; shirt tail for sure - was Henry Day.  Now Pansy, I know you remember that Henry and I were sweethearts once upon a time - a long, long time ago.  Don't go getting any ideas.  You may have been brave enough to try matrimony a second time, but not me. 

We did have a cup of punch and a nice visit though.  It would be rude to refuse to talk to him after all these years even though I remember that the end of our romance was all his fault.  He still looks good - as good as someone our age can look that is.  He still has that same smile but his hair has gone gray.  Not everyone is fortunate enough to keep their natural hair color as long as I have.
Henry told me he finally decided it was time to retire.  You'll remember that he was an architect down in Chicago.  He's moved back to Orchard Hill to be close to some of his relatives.

The next couple down the aisle was Shaun and Patience Thiesen, although that was a renewal of vows rather than a proper wedding.  They wanted to have the ceremony before Patience had the baby and even though she was seven months pregnant, the bride looked radiant.  Their wedding wasn't fancy, but it sure was nice.

Henry turned up at that wedding, too.  I guess he was friends with Shaun's grandfather or something like that.  This time he asked me to dance, but I said 'no.'  I'm too old for that foolishness.

Then in April, Angel and Jeff exchanged their vows.  It was supposed to be an outdoor wedding, but at the last minute it was moved inside.  You would think that those two would have more sense than to plan an outdoor wedding in April in Wisconsin.  It snowed on their wedding day and Angel said the snow was beautiful so she was happy anyway.  The rest of us were pretty sick of the white stuff but we didn't say anything.

Of course Henry had to show up there as well.  It seems that Jeff's parents are big in the real estate market and Henry had worked with them before.  This time he succeeded in getting me to dance, but only because he pestered me so much.  I only danced with him so he'd leave me alone.

Patience had a beautiful baby girl in May.  They named her Constance.  Shaun is the most attentive new father I've ever seen.  Not like my Carl.  He had many good qualities, but I don't think he ever changed a diaper in his life.  Of course things were different then.

Andrew and Faith got hitched in June, after school was out of course.  Everyone was happy to see our elementary school principal and secretary together at last.  Since it was a second wedding for both of them, they kept it small and informal.  The wedding was held in Andrew's back yard and the weather cooperated for them.

Wouldn't you know it, that Henry Day showed up again.  I never did figure out what his connection was there.  There was no dancing at the reception, so he couldn't pester me about that anyway.  But he did have the nerve to sit next to me for the ceremony.  Can you imagine?  The gossips had a field day with that one.  You know how they are.  I was determined that I wouldn't talk to Henry anymore, not even at coffee hour after church.

David and Sarah got married in July.  David's niece, Charity was adorable as their flower girl.  Sarah plans to adopt her as soon as possible.  Their wedding was a bit big and fancy for my taste.  I don't think Sarah would have planned it that way, but David is determined to spoil her at every opportunity.  I suppose he wants to make up for her sad childhood and I can't think poorly of him for that.  For once Henry was absent.  I was surprised after he'd managed to wrangle invitations to all the other celebrations.  It sure was nice not to have him there talking my ear off.  I didn't miss him at all.

The summer ended with Hope and Oliver's wedding in August.  I was surprised at how well it went.  You know how Joseph feels about Oliver marrying his little sister.  Oliver and Hope love to be outdoors so it was no surprise when they chose to have the ceremony at the park.  Henry was there but he didn't enjoy himself.  He has hay fever so the location didn't agree with him.  I took pity on the poor man and gave him a ride home.  He'd walked to the park, but I really didn't think he'd make it back.  I went in with him and made him some tea.  You'd better not be smiling Pansy.   It was nothing.  Any Christian woman would have done the same.

By this time I was starting to get sick of wedding cake, but one can't refuse to attend these types of events.  It would seem mean spirited.  So I went to Cal and Susan's wedding, too.  Being with Cal sure has sweetened Susan up.  I was a little nervous about Henry because there were a lot of flowers at the wedding.  You know Cal was a landscaper before he moved back and started that nursery on his father's place.  Anyway, I let him sit by me so I could keep an eye on him.  Luckily, he didn't seem to be allergic to anything.  We danced at the reception until my feet were sore.  It turns out I'm not too old for dancing after all.

In October it was Joseph and Harmony's turn to take a trip down the aisle.  I think the carpet's getting a bit threadbare there.  But as you would expect with Harmony, everything was beautifully and tastefully done.  She made her own wedding dress, you know, even though she could afford to buy any dress she wanted.  But I have to admit, no fancy designer could have done a better job.  It was good to see Joseph so happy.  He spent such a long time mourning for his first wife.  His kids seem pleased as punch to have Harmony as a step mama and even the terrible trio behaved.

Henry picked me up and took me to the wedding this time.  It would have been silly to take two cars.  Of course the gossips see it differently, but there's no telling them.

Ian and Lily got married in November.  Believe it or not, they brought their pets to the ceremony - her cat and his dog.  I'm glad Ian decided not to bring the guinea pigs.  It was a regular circus with just the other two.  Of course the pets managed to get away from the people holding their leashes.  Let's just say we skipped the cake.  Because it was all over the floor.  Luckily Henry isn't allergic to animals.

Finally it's December and the end of the marriage-go-round.  I was so happy for Pastor Isaac.  He deserved his own wedding and a bride as beautiful as Joy after doing weddings for everyone else all year.  I didn't think Joy's shyness would allow her to have a big wedding but the sanctuary was full.  Isaac walked her down the aisle himself since she didn't have anyone to give her away and I don't think she felt as anxious that way.  She's really made great strides in conquering her fears this last year.

I'd like to give you more details, but Henry will be here soon.  We're going out to dinner tonight and then dancing at the community center.  All right, I'll admit it.  Sometimes Cupid takes aim at the most unexpected people. 

Happy New Year!

Cora Applebaum
(Don't be surprised if I sign my letter Cora Day next year)