As our relationship progressed, I realized that I might not be going back to Spain to stay for an extended time anytime soon, so I made plans to go over Christmas break. This was the catalyst to us having yet another DTR - this one including the "m" word: mahwag.
We officially decided without officially making it official that we were going to get married...sometime in August sounded good and we'd discuss the particulars when I got back from my trip.
It kind of blew my Hollywood marriage-talk/proposal image out of the water. It always seemed the girl was completely taken by surprise by the marriage proposal - as if getting married was something she hopes for but is not quite sure he thinks so too...until he pops the question.
But this conversation happened in the normal course of our time together...no surprises, no gasps of joy or fireworks or fanfare.
Now, mind you, this was not the official proposal. This was just the conversation that would eventually lead up to a proposal. But anyway...
I went to Spain for 3 weeks. This was pre-email, so Lee would fax me letters to a friend's business over there, and we would talk on the phone every couple of days. I told all of my friends about him and of our upcoming unofficial wedding date.
When I told a couple that had been spiritual leaders in my life, they handed me a $100 bill that someone had given them as a gift. They trusted me and my discernment and wanted to show their support. It was like Spanish kiss from God on this choice which would, at least for a time, keep me far away from my beloved heartland.
Upon returning from Spain, Lee and I went ring shopping. Someone had suggested we could find something reasonably priced at Gold and Silver Exchange. So that's where we went. I'll never forget the owner and his employee helping us look over rings. They told us: "We see a lot of people come in here, looking to get engaged. And we can usually tell if they're going to make it or not. You're going to make it. We're sure of it."
Nice to get a stranger's vote of confidence. Seriously. Another kiss from the Lord.
Knowing we had the rings, I kept reminding Lee that he would need to propose...and make it special. I must've nagged a bit because after reminding him probably for the 100th time, he turned to me and said: "What I'm going to do is just hand it to you on your back porch some day. That will be good enough."
My heart sunk. I just did not think he was capable of making it as special as I thought it needed to be. That whole Hollywood image and all.
One Sunday afternoon, February 13th to be exact, 1 year minus 1 day from the day he gave me that balloon, Lee was driving me home from church and asked if I'd like to take a walk in the park after while. I didn't have anything going that afternoon, so I agreed, and we arranged for him to pick me up in a couple of hours.
We went to River Legacy, one of our favorite places to take walks, and headed down the long trail. We talked about this and about that. I gave him a Spanish lesson which he dutifully engaged in. He took me on a side trip off the trail to explore and then back on the main trail again.
As we neared the end of the trail, I saw what looked like a group of musicians standing around with their instruments. I was turning to point it out to Lee when the musicians started to play. I turned back to the instruments and began to focus on the crowd behind the musicians, recognizing the faces of our friends from the campus ministry house, our parents, my sister, other friends...
And then there was Lee, down on one knee, ring in hand. He says:
"Well, here we are. Will you marry me?"
Shocked (not by the question but by the elaborate proposal I had just witnessed) I said, "Yes!" We hugged and kissed and faced the crowd of onlookers who were cheering and clapping.
You got to know I was feeling a bit sheepish after worrying it might not be special...
Lee had written out "Kiss the Girl" from Little Mermaid for a trombone quartet and asked his buddies to meet with him to practice (this is what he was doing between the time he dropped me off at home and picking me up to go for a walk) and then to come play for us at the park - walking a mile+ just to get to the spot. He arranged for our friends and families to come (also making the mile+ hike), orchestrating the timing of our walk so that it would all be in place by the time we got to the end of the trail.
And that little "off trail" jaunt? Just ahead of us, he could see the musicians hurrying with their cases, and he needed to do something quickly to distract my attention. :-)
For some reason or other, all of Lee's attempts to arrange for "hi-tech" equipment to capture the event on film went haywire - dead batteries I think were largely the culprit. Thankfully, Lee's mom had a disposable camera with her. Low tech and all, she captured the moment for us.
So while Lee may have seemed clueless when it came to planning a romantic proposal, he was anything but.
next: "wedding talk"
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