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Wedding Bells Ring in City Hall

Then he surprised the mayor by asking him to perform the ceremony.

"I wasn't nervous," McCollum says a few days after the wedding. "I've done a lot of performances in my day. And I've been to a lot of weddings." He adds, "This is one of those things that really came simple."

As it turned out, Clark and McCollum are both from Martinsville — also hometown to City Manager Calvin Jamison, McCollum's wife and Jamison's wife. As a thank-you gift, Clark and his new wife presented McCollum with an old photograph of the groom's aunt and the mayor's mother. They were, respectively, salutatorian and valedictorian when they graduated from high school in 1954, and went on together to Virginia State University. "A lot of stuff was coming together in that room yesterday," McCollum observes.

McCollum has no plans to build a wedding chapel in a corner of City Hall, but the mayor says he'd gladly marry other couples if he's available when they request his services. "It was a fun thing to do," he says.

— Melissa Scott

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