WEST JEFFERSON-Police Chief Jeff Rose thought he’d seen it all over the course of his decades long law enforcement career.
But last week a couple of visiting love birds asked Rose for a favor, a favor that turned out to be unlike anything else he’s ever done.
“They called me up said they wanted me to marry them at town hall,” Rose said prior to the impromptu service at West Jefferson Town Hall on July 13. “As in today. Right now. So that’s just what I’m going to do.”
The bride and groom – Indiana-residents Linda Sue Cremer and Dallas Wayne Goodwin – plan to host a more formal marriage ceremony for family and friends at another High Country wedding venue in coming weeks.
But that location is outside the borders of Ashe County and Goodwin said the couple’s marriage license required them to get hitched in Ashe County.
“So here we are,” Goodwin said. “It’s a little sudden, I guess but we decided a couple of weeks ago this is what we wanted to do, so why not just go for it.”
It’s not the first marriage for the retired couple, according to Goodwin, and both have suffered through the gut wrenching pain that comes from the untimely loss of a spouse. Cremer’s husband passed suddenly several years ago and Goodwin lost his wife following an off-and-on 11-year battle against a recurring form of cancer.
“I hurt bad following the loss of my wife, but – you have to understand I believe everything happens for a reason and there’s a lesson we should take from everything that happens to us – she’d suffered for a long, long time and she was tired,” Goodwin said. “So she no longer hurts and for that I am thankful.”
The pair only met in recent months but quickly forged a common bond around their similar life experiences, and made the call to wed just two weeks ago.
So how’d they end up in Ashe County? Goodwin said he’s been making the trek from Indiana West Jefferson over the past three years. It’s a trip he said he’s never failed to enjoy and he asked Cremer to come along.
“That turned out to be a great decision,” Cremer said. “This place is beautiful. It’d be easy to love a place like this.”
As the couple was unfamiliar with the marriage process in North Carolina, Goodwin said the pair did their best to work through the license application but he said he wanted to make sure the process was entirely legal. So they reached out to Rose – a lawman who just happens to be an ordained minister.
“Never thought anybody would ask me to marry them,” Rose said. “So I guess there is a first time for everything.”
In this case, the “altar” turned out to be the lobby of town hall. The relaxed ceremony saw the couple sporting denim and matching patriotic t-shirts. They were also tickled to show off their brand new leather boots – emblazoned with the red, white and blue of the U.S. flag – they’d just recently picked up from Mo’s Boots in West Jefferson.
With West Jefferson town employees looking on, Rose asked the pair if they were sure about going through with the ceremony. He then read from the book of Ephesians before declaring the couple legally wed.
“We’ve both seen and been through a lot,” Goodwin said. “So we’re just going to do our best to enjoy this.”
Reach Adam Orr at 336-489-3058.