Right there in the dinner line, waiting for the roast beef with carrots, Sylvia Knox stood with her husband of almost 50 years.
Eddie Knox was, as usual, carrying on about three conversations at once because he is a friend to everybody.
Looking past Eddie, Sylvia saw a name tag - "Jim Gibbs."
But this was Rock Hill, South Carolina. The Jim Gibbs she knew so long ago was in another state.
Never miss a local story.
"There was a minister named Jim Gibbs who married Eddie and me all those years ago," Sylvia said to Janice Welch, the hostess working the check-in at the dining room of the at Park Pointe Retirement Community and Independent Living for seniors.
"He was pastor at our church."
That marriage was a half century and kids and grandkids and long stops in Atlanta and Houston ago - a wedding more than 100 miles away at Crews United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Still, Sylvia, 69, looked again at the tall, stately man, his smile a mile wide waiting patiently in line, arm-in-arm with his own wife.
Gibbs didn't so much smile as beam. He looked like love in loafers.
So Sylvia Knox did what anyone married to Eddie Knox - who never hesitated in his 71 years to ask anybody anything - would do.
"Sir, by chance are you a minister?"
"Yes ma'am," said the guy wearing the "Jim Gibbs" nametag. "Retired."
Gibbs remembers looking at the name tag "Sylvia Knox" and thinking the name "just didn't click."
"Methodist?" Sylvia asked.
"Absolutely," said Gibbs.
And then Sylvia Knox knew for sure that the preacher who had told her to have and to hold, to love without question, was standing two feet behind her.
In a different city and state and five decades later, but there he stood. She started crying right there in line.
Janice Welch the hostess starting to cry, too.
"I couldn't believe it," said Welch. "It seemed like the movies."
Sylvia was 19 again, in her mind and memory, wearing a beautiful gown, marrying a handsome guy who wanted to fly airplanes. And here was the guy who made it official and cared so deeply.
"Well, you married me and this guy right here," said Sylvia, pointing at Eddie, who maybe for the first time in a marriage pushing 50 years was speechless. "I was Sylvia Moore before I married him."
The couples sat together that night - Eddie and Sylvia Knox, Jim and Ernestine Gibbs - and remembered old times.
Sure, Gibbs remembered the Moores from Crews United Methodist. Jim and Ernestine, married 62 years themselves, told the Knoxes all their travels to nine churches since that 1961 marriage Jim Gibbs performed.
They explained how they came to Rock Hill and this retirement community to be close to grown children and grandchildren - a similar path to the one that brought the Knoxes here.
The couples now share meals together often, and laugh about old times. Gibbs, a character if ever there was one, is quick to say that Eddie had been so nervous about getting married that he "nearly passed out."
"Not really," Gibbs said with a wink. "It was love, you could tell."
The minister said he officiated at almost 250 weddings, and the Knox nuptials must have been one of his best.
He now calls the wedding of this young couple all those years ago - and still in love after five decades - his "trophy wedding."
"I must have tied that marriage knot tight," said Gibbs.
That Rev. Jim Gibbs in 2010 at age 86 is the same loving pastor, said Eddie Knox.
"He is just as fine a person as I remember from all those years ago," said Eddie, a retired Delta pilot. "It is stunning that he would end up living in the same city as we do, in the same community."
There sure is now a close friendship. Some might call it coincidence - but not this group.
Eddie and Sylvia and the Rev. Gibbs credited the reunion after 50 years to something else.