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Mock wedding sparks friendship, humor

SYBENE -- Friday morning, Bethanne Cooney watched John, her husband of 38 years, marry another woman. And she smiled and laughed through the entire ceremony.

Seniors at the Lawrence County Multi-Purpose Senior Citizens Center participated in a wedding ceremony,

donning outfits for a wedding that was not real.

It was a skit performed to build and strengthen friendships and provide the medicine of laughter.

"This gives them something to think about besides their aches and pains,"

said Darlene Green, site manager.

During the ceremony, Pat Boster played a "pregnant" bride wearing yellow tennis shoes and a lace tablecloth for a veil. She strolled up the aisle to her awaiting groom, Huntington, W.Va., resident John Cooney. In the skit the best man, played by South Point resident Loretta Carey, was just released from a 30-year prison sentence and was still wearing convict stripes. The best man wanted the bride and the matron of honor was trying to convince the groom that he was the father of her baby (a doll).

The brides' parents, who objected to the ceremony, handed her a shotgun as she walked down the aisle.

Boster wrote the ceremony and said performing it as well as rehearsing it with her friends at the center was quite fun.

"It was great. The past two weeks have been absolutely great," she said. "Everyone did a great job."

Both Boster and Cooney said no hard feelings between exist Boster and Bethanne Cooney. In fact, they are all great friends.

"Well, when I told her, she cried and cried," John Cooney said, joking about his wife's reaction. "But, when she realized I was keeping it in the family, she thought it would be alright."

Curtis Lindsey played the ceremony's bishop. As a real-life bishop, he's seen his share of weddings.

"Some of them have been funny, but there's been nothing quite like this," he said with a laugh.

Alease Belcher, a South Point resident and matron of honor, said she had a great time, but if she gets married again, her wedding will not be as complicated as this one.

"After the preacher says, 'I do,' we'll take off and go home," she said.

As she prepared to throw beans, not rice, at the "newlyweds" South Point resident Sylvesta Hollback said she had a wonderful time at the ceremony.

"It was hilarious," she said. "We laughed until we cried. It was like our second childhood."