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Tanta Corrie was back.  The house was full of people, family members and friends.

There was laughter and the clinking of glasses and the squeals of the little ones as they ran through the house.  The screen door at the back of the house slammed shut repeatedly until someone thought to prop it open with a pair of boots they found on the back porch.

Melanie missed her Aunt terribly when she had gone to the big city for three whole weeks.  But now there was something different about her.  She looked pale and radiant at the same time.  Melanie wasn’t certain yet whether that was good or bad.

Tanta Corrie caught her peaking around the kitchen door.  She smiled and crooked a finger at her.  Melanie didn’t hesitate any longer but ran into the living room, almost colliding with her mother, and then she was in her Aunt’s arms.  She could smell her again, the sweet lavender scent that reminded her of springtime in the meadow.

“Oh, Tanta Corrie,” she said.  “I missed you so much.”  Melanie buried her face against her aunt’s shoulder.

“I missed you too, sweetheart,” Tanta Corrie whispered for her ears alone.  She had just turned fifty years old and had never married.  When her parents died many years ago, her sister, Susan, recently married, had insisted that she stay on the farm with them and simply be part of the family for as long as she liked.  No one expected it to last twenty five years.  But they were one big, happy family and Tanta Corrie seemed content.

“Well, now that Melanie is here,” Tanta Corrie said, “I have an announcement to make.”

The room hushed.  Melanie turned around and looked out at everybody who seemed to be staring at her.  She was facing the crowd while Tanta Corrie hugged her from behind.  After a few more “hushes” and “quiets” from the impromptu audience, Corrie was ready to talk.

“I’m getting married,” she said simply.

The room was silent.  Melanie’s eyes grew wide and her heart was beating loudly in her ears.

“The wedding will be held here in Greenville, in the church.”

Finally, after a long moment, her mother spoke up.

“That’s wonderful Corrie, really.  It’s just taking us by surprise, that’s all.”  Murmurs of agreement and apology came from everyone in the room.

“That’s all right,” Tanta Corrie said.  “I’m a bit surprised too.”

“Who is he?” Elena said.  She was sixteen and boys fascinated her.  “When do we get to meet him?”  Others nodded and the questions started to fly around the room.

“All in good time,” Tanta Corrie said, raising her hands for silence.  She was laughing.  “Each one of you will meet him one day.  He told me that he hopes to meet the whole family soon and all of my friends as well.”  Tanta Corrie paused.  “I hope all of you will welcome him into your homes and lives.”

What a strange way to talk.

She was only ten years old but she could already tell when adults were talking in their special code language.  Truth to tell, Melanie had no idea what they were talking about most of the time, only that they were doing it and it drove her crazy.  Tanta Corrie was doing it now but nobody else seemed to realize it.  Now that was a real mystery.

Melanie turned to face her.

“Are you going away, Tanta Corrie?” she whispered.

“Yes, sweetie,” she said.  “When you get married, like I am, you must go away.”

That didn’t make any sense either.

Melanie felt a soft kiss on the top of her head but she moved away suddenly and tried to run.  Before she could get away, Tanta Corrie grabbed her and hugged her tightly for a moment and then let her go.

*****

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The Wedding by Bert A. Amsing.  Used with permission.
Excerpt from Jesus was an Alien (and Other Stories of Faith) by Bert A. Amsing
Copyright © 2012 by vanKregten Publishers. All rights reserved.
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