Senior citizen couple rings in new year with wedding

The Gail Reyes Senior Center in Barnwell closed out 2008 with a first - the marriage of two Barnwell County residents who started the rest of their lives together with the new year.

Jimmy L. Coger, 78, and Sharon Maxwell, 66, tied the knot Dec. 31 surrounded by family, friends, and residents after a five-month courtship.

Notary Mary Ellen Black presided over the ceremony as the two took their vows.

"It was a nice way to end the year and begin the new one," said Patricia Edenfield, Coger's daughter.

"This is the most excitement we have had here in a long time," said Shelby Smoak, a volunteer for the Gail Reyes Center.

Shelby was straightening the center's tables and arranging everything to look good for the wedding shortly before it began.

It was at the Gail Reye Senior Center where the two lovebirds first met and fittingly - chose to take their vows.

Sharon had been going to the center for years when one day late last summer she found herself sitting at a table with a newcomer - Jimmy.

The two talked, and the next night they went to a friend's house for supper, and so began a whirlwind romance.

"We had so much in common - it was unreal," said Sharon.

"We're just real happy together," said Jimmy.

Both had visited many of the same places in the United States; both were frugal; both their previous spouses had died from cancer - they even shared the same doctor - Sharon Wise of Barnwell.

It was Wise who suggested to Jimmy that he start visiting Gail Reyes for the services it offers.

Sharon's daughters, Judy Carroll and Hope Maxwell and their four children were present for the wedding.

"If they're happy - I'm happy," said Carroll.

And both Sharon and Jimmy looked positively radiant as they exchanged vows.

Jimmy was dressed in a dark pinstriped suit and Sharon a chic red dress.

Sharon's dress had a keepsake of Jimmy's mother on it -a small gold horse shoe-shaped stick pin with a blue forget-me-not.

"All the brides in the family wear it at weddings," said Edenfield.

Strangely enough, Jimmy's son - Thom Coger -had just married his wife, Lori, on Dec. 27.

Both were in attendance bringing the newlywed numbers to a total of four.

And as for the honeymoon?

"We're winging it; we don't even have rings," laughed Sharon after the wedding.

For some people, just being together is enough of a honeymoon.