Mrs. Jerguson’s call to the church early that morning was quite unexpected. She said she was taking Pastor Jerguson to the hospital. Seems he had woken up with a pain in his lower right side that now had him doubled up on the floor. They suspected appendicitis. Joyce Kelly, the church secretary, told her not to worry. She had everything under control.Joyce called Irma and told her to come on in and she would help her organize the ceremony. At their scheduled time Irma and Frank sat before Joyce and worked everything out: what music would be played, when the mothers would be seated, where everyone would stand, how they would light the unity candle. It was going to be beautiful.
Irma asked about Pastor Jerguson. “Do you think Pastor J is going to make it?”Irma shrugged and said, “If not, we’ll have someone take his place. After all the pastor is the least important person in the ceremony.”
Later that day, Mrs. Jerguson called the church and told Joyce it was, indeed, appendicitis and Pastor Jerguson would be having surgery that evening. As soon as Joyce hung up the phone she called Goober. Goober was thrilled when Irma told him he would need to perform the wedding for Irma and Frank.Joyce had handled the rehearsal and told Goober where he was to stand and what he was to do. In his pastoral mode he simply smiled and nodded to everything she said. “Now, Goober, the unity candle will be right behind you, so watch out you don’t back up into it.”
The auditorium was beautiful. The flowers, the candles and all the fancy dresses made the place quite festive. Goober wore his blue suit he had been given when he graduated from high school. Had he not grown those couple of inches had added those extra pounds it probably would have fit a lot better. He couldn’t sit down and had to suck his gut in to keep the pants fastened. But all in all he looked the part and kept smiling and nodding at everyone.Joyce had given him a copy of the last wedding ceremony Pastor Jerguosn had done and all Goober would have to do was read the message and do the vows. Which was going along just fine until the vows came up. Seems Joyce forgot to change the names. As Goober read away, he ended up marrying Sally Jo and Elbert instead of Irma and Frank. Now, you would think Irma and Frank would have noticed but the distraction with the fire had grabbed most everyone’s attention by then.
Directly behind Goober was the unity candle stand. Above it was an archway covered with delicate lace and ribbon. It was assumed the blaze started when Goober stepped back and caught the tailend of his coat on fire. The flames ignited the double-knit and shot up his back and jumped over to the lace and ribbon. The sprinklers above the platform and choir loft opened up and quickly doused the fire and drenched the wedding party which stood in shock as a smoldering Goober said calmly, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”