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A special wedding – photo gallery included

Soumitro Sen
Staff writer

When they met online, for the first time, she thought she simply found someone who shared something in common with her: the recent death of a spouse.

They found solace in each others’ stories, in each others’ sorrows, in their heart-felt, hushed sympathies. And one day, almost instinctively, two patient listeners became friends. Friendship led to love. Phone conversations, sometimes for as long as four hours a day, ushered a new springtime in their loneliness.

One and a half years later, on Valentine’s Day, they got married in a cozy, country chapel with pale pink walls radiant with candlelight, amidst friends and family. And the peal of wedding bells from the tiny white steeple carried the joyful news of love to the distant green hills and verdant vales.

This is no fairy-tale. Nor synopsis of a Hollywood romance. This is the love story of Maxine Barnett, 77, and Dick Osgood, 80, who married Tuesday at The Wayside Chapel at Rough and Ready.

“About a month ago, we went and got the application for marriage,” Barnett said. “We just kept kind of not knowing what to do, where to go. We decided we’ll go down to the Placer County Recorder’s Office and get married there. Then a friend told us about the … church up here. And it sounded so great. We called our friends and they were all excited and wanted to come, too.”

At 7 p.m., the bride sat in the changing room dressed in a blue velvet coat and pants, ready for the ceremony. Her daughters and granddaughters bustled around the room. The youngest grandchild, 2-year-old Ashlee, was being told repeatedly by her mother to hold her little bouquet of red roses upright.

“We’ve been trying to get the kids together,” said David Osgood, dressed like the groom in a beige jacket, blue jeans, a green and blue check shirt with a bolo tie accentuated by a large, green oval fastening. “Every time we set a date, one of them would say we couldn’t make it or something like that.”

But finally everyone was there.

The chapel ” just a few feet in length and breadth ” was all aglow with warm light from the tall, white candelabra adorning both sides of the white and gold altar.

Bouquets of white roses perched on white, ornate pillars added to the atmosphere of celebration. As Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March played from the shiny, blue boombox in one corner of the room, the bridesmaids entered ” the three grandchildren, followed by the two daughters, then the bride with a broad smile on her face.

As the wedding vows were exchanged punctuated by the kiss ” reminiscent more of a child kissing his teddy bear than ardent lovers ” friends applauded from the white pews.

“It’s terrific,” said Pam Mathers, who presided as minister. “It’s Valentine’s Day and it’s a good day to celebrate love.”

Mathers had been on call since midnight as part of the offer by The Wayside Chapel to host marriages 24 hours on Valentine’s Day. Barnett and Osgood’s marriage was the only one that took place.

“It makes you feel warm inside because you serve people in that way,” said Joan Campbell, owner of the chapel. “The lady who built the chapel in 1959 had exactly this in mind, like the story of these people, to unite couples. That’s a perfect example of the kind of people the chapel was built for.”

Marilyn Wardlow, a friend of Barnett, was one of the guests at the occasion.

“I don’t know what to say, it’s wonderful. I’m teary,” she said, on her way out of the service. “I just think it is so wonderful to find someone when we have lost someone in our lives.”

The newlyweds could not agree more. With their time-worn hands holding onto a timeless love, they stood in front of the chapel receiving greetings repeatedly from the same people who couldn’t greet them enough.

“This is such a miracle,” Barnett said. “It is a marvelous miracle.”

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