With This Paw, I Thee Wed
The Marriage of Cropsie & Limood

The clock was approaching 10:45 on the night of Tuesday, the 25th of January 2011. A bouquet of roses - wine-colored and white - stood tall against a white curtain behind the custom-built, hamster-sized wedding chapel in a Denver suburb. From a radio in the next room came the voice of Sheryl Crow singing "Life springs eternal on a gaudy neon street, not that I care at all... Dealing blackjack 'til one or two, such a muddy line between what you want... and what you have to do... So I'm leaving Las Vegas today ... Leaving Las Vegas and I won't be back..." (Note: the rodent view of what's romantic is not necessarily the same as a human's.)

The moment had arrived. The hamsters in attendance looked on in awe as the groom, Limood, leaned toward his bride to whisper "I do." The bashful Cropsie raised her head, her black eyes sparkling as her new husband stole a little kiss. And they backed off to a plastic hamster house made in the shape of a little wedding cake with a cherry on top.

Like most hamsters, the couple decided to wait a night or two for their honeymoon. The female is only receptive to a baby-making session when she's in heat - which comes around every four days. That means that the honeymoon odds are just one in four

on the wedding day, 50-50 the next day and, if nothing happens then, the odds of a mating are up to 75 per cent by day three. Limood has said he wants a large family - a litter of 14 or 15, he hopes. Cropsie is not so sure. A smaller family - maybe nine or ten - would suit her just fine.

The marriage follows an engagement of about one week (which is quite a respectable period of time for a young hamster couple). Cropsie, a native of Cincinnati, Ohio, came to the HFP campaign headquarters on January 6th.

The celebration was attended by the whole western United States HFP community. Pestis, the mother of the groom, looked on proudly as the couple prepared for the happy occasion. Bonno, his father, nervously played on a hamster wheel in the common exercise area while waiting for the couple to take their vows.

Even the bride herself paced nervously around the playpen, getting up on an egg carton and trying to look over the top.

It seemed that everyone in the family had a part to play. Limood's Uncle Gabe, now growing old and weak, has spent much of his time since Cropsie's arrival teaching her to take over as geek-ham so that he can retire. She's a "quick learner," Gabe said of his beautiful "new niece."

Gabe, widowed last fall, was deeply touched when Cropsie promised to name her first-born daughter after Gabe's beloved wife, Sharkie.

D'Arcy, Limood's grandmother, couldn't be happier at the prospect of becoming a great-grandmother. As the couple spoke the words that will unite them forever in holy furlock, she glanced up toward the heavens as if to share the moment with her late husband, the legendary Spencer.

Beetle, now a cousin by marriage to Cropsie, loves to tease her about the "freckles" on her fur. She doesn't mind at all.

Young Cosmo has a special interest in the happy events of this night. Limood and Cropsie have both agreed that they will be delighted to accept him as their son-in-law in the event he can persuade one of the daughters the couple hopes to have to take him as her husband.

There can be no doubt at all, however, that Fuzzy-Sozo, brother of Limood, was a hero in a very special way. Even before Cropsie caught her plane to Colorado, both brothers were competing for her paw in marriage. Cropsie, who felt she was the luckiest hamster on earth with the two most beautiful creatures in the world desiring her, was uneasy about the situation. In choosing one, she would reject the other - something she couldn't bear to do.

Cropsie's dilemma grew more desperate by the day as she agonized over which hamster to marry. Fuzzy-Sozo, seeing how troubled she was, recognized that she would be happier not having to make the painful choice at all. He withdrew, citing his preoccupation with his law practice as a reason he wouldn't have as much time as

Limood to spend with her and a litter of children. "It wouldn't be fair to her," Sozo explained. "And I want her happiness more than I do my own."

Fuzzy-Sozo was proud to serve as his brother's "best ham" at the wedding. He seemed truly happy when he saw how tenderly his brother embraced the new bride. But one couldn't help but notice the wistful look that occasionally came over his face as he peered across the top of his cage.

Neither Limood nor Cropsie failed to appreciate Fuzzy-Sozo's heroism, and both pray that in time he will find a wife who will love him as he deserves.

The newlyweds plan to try tomorrow night for the honeymoon - and will keep trying until they are successful. Limood may have been disappointed that the grand event didn't happen tonight. But after thinking it over, he realized that the couple had been lucky. This means they'll have another night together... and maybe another and another. "Not bad, eh?" Limood asks with a wink.

The newlyweds request that everyone pray their marriage will bring nothing but good health, long life, happiness ... and many children.

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