Story and photos by Sloan Martin, WBTA.
At 67 years old, Cherry Pease is now Cherry Farr.
She and 78-year-old Edmund “Sonny," who met as Washington Towers residents, got married Friday afternoon on the same Care-a-Van bus they got engaged on.
Cherry said a few days before her wedding that this is a second-chance for her; a way to have the wedding – and marriage – she’s always wanted.
“I think things will be different this time because my last marriage, to be honest, I married for money that he didn’t have,” she said. “This time I am marrying for love, so I think it’s really going to be wonderful.”
Surrounded by close family members, about 15 people wearing pink carnation boutonnieres witnessed the union of Cherry and Edmond.
Cherry tells the story of their first meeting like a college student who doesn’t have a car on campus yet would. A couple of years ago, she started to give him rides to Wal-Mart and Tops so Sonny wouldn’t have to walk so far in the winter.
“I asked him if he wanted a ride because no one else would ask him in the building. And we went. And that’s apparently when he said he fell in love with me, with my eyes,” she described. “But I asked him later on, maybe a couple months later if he wanted to come up and play (the gaming system) Wii. He runs up the three flights of stairs – that’s how quickly he wanted to get up to play Wii (with me).”
Both are widows. Sonny’s late wife passed away in August of 2012, Cherry says, and Cherry’s late husband died in September of last year.
In November, Sonny proposed.
That was after the couple had gotten involved with the Care-a-Van Ministries. Founder and Director Paul Ohlson runs the local public outreach initiative to share the Gospel and was there for the engagement.
“It was a cold morning and he walked out to the jewelry store and picked up the ring,” Ohlson said. “He brought it onto the bus and knelt down and asked if she would marry him and of course she said ‘Yes.’ ”
“We couldn’t afford a very expensive ring,” Cherry said. “It’s sterling silver which doesn’t bother me at all, but it’s blue diamonds and that’s one of my favorites and he’s got blue eyes so they kind of match.”
Cherry says Care-a-Van Ministries has been a “good foundation for our lives.” They spent many weekends volunteering together which is why they decided to get married on the bus itself.
The bus is cozy and inviting. White tulle and potted plants with fresh flowers hang from the silver overhead poles which hands once grasped for balance in the bus’s former life. Seats with tables in between line the bus. Each table has a Bible, creamer and candies in a pretty dish for the Care-a-Van’s outreach coffee and movie sessions.
Guests crammed in for the intimate session. Sonny’s grandson, Jordan Farr, read aloud from 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8 between wiping away tears. Pastor Tim Young was the officiant. Sonny, who was peppy and spunky posing for cameras prior to the ceremony, was tender and reserved, almost nervous. They did not recite their own vows, but exchanged rings and kissed twice -- to make sure they did it right.
Ohlson says weddings on the bus don’t ever happen. It was because Cherry and Sonny were so devoted to both the ministry and each other that he was supportive of the wedding venue.
“Everybody needs somebody,” he said. “Edmund, he’s getting up there in age and he knows it and he jokes about it, he’s good with it. He just doesn’t want to be alone. Just to be able to connect and encourage someone to follow through with the dream that they had but also bringing in Biblical principles to their relationship and encouraging them to put the Lord first.
“Even this late in life they can make it work and they can be happy.”
After the ceremony they celebrated with a Chinese buffet for the whole party. It was almost like when they first met, transporting around Batavia. Only this time they were married and it was their special Care-a-Van bus that shuttled them.