The wedding today in upper Montgomery County of Rebecca Smith and Melville Jackson is, in their eyes, a match made in hog heaven.
Smith is a 24-year-old pig farmer from Olney. Jackson, 31, raises hogs in Lewistown, Mont.
The two were brought together by Smith's older sister Mary Ellen Hendrickson, an elementary schoolteacher in Montana who worried that her little sister would not be able to find a husband, given her line of work. "The smell of pig manure really didn't give way to a romantic setting," Hendrickson said.
Hendrickson sent Smith a news clipping in January 1985, trumpeting Jackson as the winner of Montana's Pork All-American prize. The article was accompanied by a color photo of Jackson cuddling a piglet and a note from Hendrickson saying, "If you run out of marriageable fellows there, here's an idea."
The letter struck a chord with Smith, who had vowed to date only farmers after a previous unhappy romantic encounter with a county policeman.
Smith, who until four weeks ago bred pigs under a contract for cancer research with the National Institutes of Health, wrote Jackson, asking his advice about setting up a pig farm of her own.
"I was really surprised to receive the letter. You don't find too many ladies that like pigs," said Jackson, who sent a 12-page letter in return.
The romance took off last July, when Smith visited her sister in the foothills of the Highwood Mountains. She called Jackson and made an appointment to visit him on his father's 2,100-acre farm.
"We stayed up until 1 o'clock that night just talking about the pig business," Jackson remembered.
In November, Jackson flew to visit Smith and her parents at their Sunnybrook Farm in Olney. "Before Thanksgiving Day he proposed to me," Smith said. "Of course I said yes."
The wedding will be held at a community center that functions as a parish center for St. Peter's Catholic Church. On Tuesday, the couple plans to drive to Montana in her Bronco II to live on the Jackson farm.
The back of the Bronco tells their story. The license plate frame reads, "Farmer wanted, inquire within." Below is a bumper sticker Jackson had made: "Found my farmer -- waiting to be asked."