Those Night-Shift Talks Were Easy as Pie

A windowless, fluorescent-lit warehouse, in Wenatchee, Wash., where millions upon millions of cherries — Bings, Sweethearts, Raniers, Tietons — are sorted and graded and packaged each summer, was where the romance between Corena Sharp and Mark Olson began.

“It’s big, it’s cold, it’s very fast-paced,” said Ms. Sharp, now 27, who was a seasonal inspector for the Washington agriculture department in 2015, and had just graduated from Western Washington University when the two met. “You’re never sure what time it is.”

Mr. Olson, now 31, was a year-round employee and the night-shift supervisor, so his job entailed stopping in on each warehouse’s inspector.

“She was very intriguing and so easy to talk to,” he said.

When the season was over in July, and she went back over the Cascades to her family’s home in Kenmore, Wash., they texted regularly, and he eventually concocted an excuse — he was going to buy a new truck in her area — to make the two-and-a-half-hour drive over the mountains to visit her.

The two met in a park, and walked around a bit before getting back to his new vehicle, a black Ford F-150. They shared a first kiss on the tailgate and then parted.

Ms. Sharp was headed to Syracuse University the next day to begin a master’s program in international relations.

“I thought it was going to be the last time we ever saw each other,” she said.

Instead, they began texting every day, and soon the texts turned into phone calls, and then the phone calls became video calls. It was over one of those calls that they talked about what was between them.

Credit...David Lewis/Bellagala

“We said, ‘Do we want to put labels on this? Do we want to do this for real?’” she said.

They next saw each other over the holiday break when she had gone home to Washington and ended up having a tonsillectomy.

Mr. Olson, a Minnesota Vikings fan, and the bride’s father, a Seattle Seahawks fan, were on opposite sides of the football game that was on that day. Ms. Sharp was groggy but sentient enough to see that her parents liked him.

“It gave me the warm and fuzzies,” she said. “It sustained me until we got to see each other on spring break.”

She completed her master’s in December 2016 and went directly into the job in D.C. that she now has, as a marketing assistant in the State Department’s recruitment office for foreign service positions.

“That’s when I was, ‘OK. I’m not moving back to Washington state. Do we break up? Or do we move forward?’” Ms. Sharp said. “I didn’t want to do long-distance anymore. We talked about it, and he decided that he would quit his job and move here.”

He did. But he had torn a tendon in his left knee and his physical-therapy schedule kept him from arriving at the 700-square-foot apartment she had in Arlington, Va., so he wasn’t able to move until a number of months later.

“I had already made the big decision to change my life and be with her,” said Mr. Olson, who is now in his second year studying environmental science at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va.

The two had planned a ceremony at the Woodinville Lavender, a wedding venue in Redmond, Wash., and, despite the coronavirus pandemic, they kept their date. With just 12 people attending, the couple were married there on July 25, with Jessica A. Juarez-Wagner, a college friend of the bride’s who was ordained by the Universal Life Church for the event, officiating.

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