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February 20, 2008



Your husband is just a doll!

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When the United Methodist Church in Grove City, Ohio, offered a special "marriage recommitment" ceremony, four of Sheila Smith's friends signed up to participate. And then they asked her to serve as their matron of honor, with the promise of dinner afterward at a local restaurant. Of course, she agreed. In all, 19 couples would stand before the Rev. Tom Wilson on Valentine's Day evening, some of whom had taken their vows more than 30 years ago. Oh, plus Sheila, although she'd be unaccompanied because her husband, Bob, was out of state on business. This, the four friends decided, was hardly fair; she, too, deserved a partner on such an occasion. So they came up with a solution. Secretly bringing Bob back from his trip? Not exactly. In his place when Sheila arrived was a life-size inflatable man, dressed in trousers, shirt, and tie, with an enlarged photograph of Bob taped over its face. Suddenly, she wasn't flying solo anymore as she approached the altar, lugging the doll and hoping the air inside didn't escape. It didn't, although she may have felt a little silly as the clergyman said: "Your first marriage was born of young love and excitement. But ... your love is different now. And tonight you are saying, 'I'd do it all over again.' " Yes, Blow-up Bob went along to dinner, too. Later, when the real one heard about it all over the phone, he laughed so hard that conversation was pointless.

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