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Smith: Rain doesn't dampen celebration of 250 years of marriage

Saturday's playful showers teased the 11 couples who joined in a charmed and unusual remarriage ceremony on the patio at Russian River Vineyards.

The plan had called for vows to be made beneath a grand oak out amid the vines, but even a short hike through damp soil didn't appeal to some of the partners in heels. And this was an older crowd.

They've been married a total of 251 years and were there to reaffirm their vows. Among the couples was

Terry Kelley, chief of the Sebastopol Area Senior Center, sponsor of the mass marriage renewal, and his wife of 37 years, Sue.

By happy coincidence, Saturday was the 32nd anniversary of the day Peaches Henning and Katherine Kendall committed themselves to each other. The state allowed them to marry in 2008.

At the request of Gene Nelson, pastor of Sebastopol Community Church, Peaches and Katherine and the other couples looked one another in the eyes and declared, “I promise anew to love and sustain you.”

Though the 22 partners already have loved for a total of 348 years — Joe and Patty Gazdowicz discovered each other in the sixth grade — they didn't hesitate to say out loud that they “expect and believe that the best is yet to come.”

ILLICITLY GOOD? Monday is when Petaluma's Three Twins organic ice cream starts to sell a flavor inspired by a Giants pitcher's provocative T-shirt.

It's called Sergio Romo's Mexican Chocolate, and the cartons carry the tagline, “It Only Tastes Illegal.”

The flavor dawned on Three Twins founder Neal Gottlieb when Romo wore to last year's Giants World Series victory parade a shirt emblazoned, “I JUST LOOK ILLEGAL.”

Gottlieb is hoping the flavor will catch on and will inspire more conversation “about what it means to look illegal and immigration policy in the United States.”

He and Romo are partners in the new flavor, which starts to appear Monday at markets that carry the ice cream line and at Three Twins' four scoop shops, none of which are in Sonoma, Mendocino or Lake counties.

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