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A hot date -- 8/8/08 -- rings wedding bells

August 08, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

WASHINGTON COUNTY -- When Sarah Haney and Stephen Koons were contemplating getting married, the bridegroom-to-be suggested having the ceremony on 8/8/08.

"I thought it would be kind of cool," Koons said. And he admitted that in years to come, their anniversary date would also be easy to remember.

Haney, 21, initially had wanted the ceremony to be later in the fall. "But it's grown on me," she said two days before the nuptials.

So, the couple will tie the knot at Zion Lutheran Church in Williamsport -- the church where Koons, 24, was baptized as a child and Haney, more recently, as an adult.

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The fact that the number "8" has an almost mystical quality to one-fifth of the world's population was a bonus for the couple, who were unaware of its significance among the Chinese around the world.

It's no coincidence that the Olympics in China begin on 8/8/08, according to a Chinese couple living in Washington County.

"The date was chosen because of the eights," said Qing Chang, co-owner of Windy Hill Restaurant near Clear Spring. A native of southern China, Chang and his wife relocated to Washington County three years ago.

"It's lucky ... means you are going to become rich," Chang said.

Chang, who said he will be watching the Olympics, noted that the opening ceremony will begin on the eighth hour, eighth minute and eighth second of this day.

"My wife is making her chicken fried rice today for the 8/8/08 occasion," Chang said.

The last time a date had this many eights was 20 years ago, in 8/8/88, or on Aug. 8, 1988. It won't happen again for 80 years, until Aug. 8, 2088 rolls around.

The significance of the numbers for bettors frequenting several Maryland lottery outlets in Washington County seemed to be lost, according to clerks at a number of Sheetz Convenience stores.

"We sell mostly scratch-offs here," which do not involve choosing numbers, said one employee of the Hancock Sheetz.

An employee of the Sheetz on the Dual Highway in Hagerstown couldn't recall any betting phenomena based on dates such as 8/8/08 in the past.

At the Washington County Courthouse where civil marriages are performed, unique dates such as 8/8/08 sometimes attract couples.

Sheila Brown, a court clerk since 1987, said she knows people have come in on odd dates to get married but she couldn't remember any specific instances.

"I checked to see if there might be more than the average number of weddings (today) and there don't seem to be, but we'll see," said Dennis Weaver, clerk of the Washington County Circuit Court.

Still Haney and Koons aren't the only couple getting married on 8/8/08 in the more traditional church setting.

On the other side of Washington County at St. Peter's (Beard's) Lutheran Church on Old Forge Road, Rae Tritle and Rodney Stevenson are also tying the knot today.

"I found out that the number 8 is good luck in China," Tritle said. And when she discovered 8/8/08 fell on a Friday, it was perfect.

The couple's children and grandchildren each have a role in the ceremony to which 125 guests have been invited.

"We also looked at the date as a good way to remember our anniversary," Tritle said. "We are older now after all."

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