90. Marriage

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The next two weeks passed in a flash.

Sarah had taken charge of the wedding plans, as Henry was traveling with the Pioneers on a nine-game stretch across Pennsylvania.

Sarah ran through the checklist in her head.

The minister, guests, food, music ... wait ...

She still needed to purchase gifts for her bridesmaids, Nella and Helen. Sarah couldn't believe she had let that important task slide to the last minute. Sure, planning an entire wedding in a couple weeks had been incredibly hectic. But busy or not, it was no excuse.

And so on the eve of her wedding day, Sarah found herself scouring the shelves of merchandise inside Tomlin's General Store, her wicker shopping basket in hand. She wanted this gift to be something special. Something that would symbolize how grateful she felt for having two friends as dear as them.

At eight o'clock, the store was only occupied by a few early birds, looking to beat the mid-morning rush of shoppers. Quiet voices rose in spurts. The tiny tin bell attached to the top of the front door dinged as customers entered and left the store.

The sales clerk, a young fellow with dimples and tight curls, made his rounds to check on each customer.

"Good morning, Ms. Stewart," the clerk said. "Can I help you with anything?"

"Oh thank you, but I'm just browsing," Sarah said with an expectant grin, excited at the thought of becoming Sarah Louis tomorrow.

A little later, Sarah passed two elderly women, fighting over a cast iron pan ... the last one. The sign next to them read, "BIG SALE!" Both women had a solid grip on the pan, both tugging at it, both refusing to let go. Sarah giggled; the sales clerk would have his hands full with these two.

One by one, Sarah made her way down the aisles, each one packed with sections of merchandise, including clothes, coats, shoes, farm tools, garden supplies, kitchen items, and bathing necessities to name a few.

So many options!

Feeling overwhelmed, Sarah ducked into one of the aisles, as memories of Henry and their wedding plans crept back into her thoughts ...

They had decided to have the ceremony during the league break at the end of June. They would keep the wedding small for personal reasons. Sarah's closest relative was Uncle Albert. Although she remembered a few aunts and uncles living down south in Alabama, Sarah hadn't seen or heard from them since her parents' funeral. She felt bad that she hadn't kept in touch with them.

Still, Sarah felt even worse about Henry's situation. The poor fellow had no living relatives to call family. She knew that bothered him too.

Henry had once said, "When you have no blood relatives in the world, you feel like you're starting to slowly disappear."

All that's going to change, Sarah thought.

She picked up a small mirror by the handle and stared at herself.

We're going to start our new family together, and God willing, raise a houseful of fun-loving, trouble-making kids.

Sarah's reflection smiled back at her.

A short time later, Sarah came across a soft, white cotton robe and tried it on, her imagination transforming it into a wedding gown.

A warmth filled her heart. Sarah was going to wear her mother's pearl white wedding dress. She was just thankful that it fit, even if it was a tad tight around the waist.

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