December is a busy month for marriage proposals. I am one of those statistics. 28 years later it still seems fresh and exciting.
We met on New Year’s Day that same year. She was the younger sister of my older brother’s girlfriend. (See Love Creates Beauty) Our letters and phone calls helped our relationship grow without the pressing distraction of physical love. To be sure, we wanted contact, but exercised restraint during the brief days we had in person. We would wait until we got married.
I had proposed to her before leaving on a six-month deployment. No ring at first, only a promise to keep writing and a commitment to each other in this relationship.
Six months away had been difficult. The Navy helped by keeping me busy and granting extended time at sea. Port visits seemed limited in frequency and duration. For me, these brief stops were spent shopping. Perfume oils, rugs, hand crafted items, and jewelry were the sought for items. I was fortunate to have few bills and a steady paycheck. This allowed maximum purchasing power in each port. I acquired special diamond rings for our engagement and even had our wedding rings made to order from 22 carat yellow gold.
Back in Connecticut, we had taken the day to visit my grandparents. It was the first time I had taken her to meet them and we spent a pleasant afternoon with them. My grandfather later wrote me a letter affirming my chosen love. He said, “In the sand pebble beach of life, you found a treasured gem.”
We drove home listening to Barry Manilow’s “London” on the radio and stupidly driving on the opposite side of the country road during it.
It had been a while since we ate and I decided to take us to dinner. The engagement ring was in my pocket at all times this visit. I chose an Italian restaurant with checkered tablecloths, a candle on the table, and the setting sun glowing through the windows as the right place and time.
She seemed a bit concerned as I fumbled to get the ring box out of my pocket. “Are you okay?” she asked.
“Yes. Fine.” I replied and slid the box across the table. “Will you marry me?”
Tears welled up in her eyes as she opened the box and saw the glittering treasure inside. “Yes. Of course.” she responded.
She took the ring and slid it on her finger. “It’s beautiful.”
Our server approached with our meal. “Thank you for choosing Pizza Hut. Here’s your order. Is there anything else I can get for you?”
My future bride couldn’t eat. Her excitement was too great. I didn’t share her difficulty. After carrying the stress of when and how to present the ring and ask the big question, I was relieved and hungry. I ate my share and we took the rest to her home in a box.
Her parents were making adjustments to their Christmas tree. We entered the living room and her mother turned to greet us. Her daughter showed her the ring on her hand and smiled. Her mother quickly put down the cracked ornament on the nearby bookcase and rushed over to inspect the treasure. Smiles, hugs, and handshakes were exchanged before we exited to drive to my parent’s house to share the news.
For our final trio prompt of the year, write about any topic you wish, but make sure your post features a bookcase, something cracked, and a song you love.