So proposals are beautiful things. I watched a video of one this morning and was moved by it. I love to hear people’s proposal stories. The first time I met Mrs. Jenkins it was not “love at first sight.” She was on the porch with her sister at Old Main on the Freed-Hardeman campus. She had on an Auburn shirt and I hollered across the quad “Roll Tide.” She turned to her sister and asked “who is that jerk.” But it didn’t take long. We both “wound up” worshipping at the Refuge church where the guy she was dating was preaching and my roommate was their other college aged preacher. Near the end of my first year of college I was looking for a job and the church where her dad preached was looking for an intern. I didn’t have a car and she was going home for the weekend so I rode with her.
By the time the weekend was over I was in love…but she didn’t know it. For years she didn’t like this part of the story but it is still true. I told my roommate I wanted to marry her. He really didn’t think it was going to happen since we were both dating someone else – but I did. I had a plan and it worked. And I married well. I knew it then. I knew it when my Uncle Dan said: “You are not ready to marry someone until you can look them in the eye and say ‘I want to spend the rest of my life helping you go to heaven and you helping me.” I knew she was that person. I knew it then and I know it now.
I was poor. Broke. No hope of much of a future money wise. But I was in love and wanted to get married and had no doubt that she “was the one.” So I bought a ring in mid-December of 1981. I’m ashamed to admit it but I think it was 1/16th of a carrot. I don’t think a miniature rabbit could have found it.
And I planned my proposal. Dad had always taken important people up in the Vulcan, a local landmark in Birmingham. So, two days after Christmas, after dark, overlooking the beautiful lights of “The Magic City” I took Melanie up to propose to her. I was so very nervous. I pledged my love to her with words more meaningful today than then. And she said yes (frankly it should have shown how special she is that she didn’t laugh at the ring AND my fancifully worded muse). Well, actually, that’s not fully the story. Actually I was so nervous on the Vulcan’s outdoor landing that I couldn’t find any words. She got ready to go before I found those words. So the proposal actually happened in the elevator heading back down. Yeah the other story sounds better – but not much.
I love proposal stories.
But I think you see what I mean, the marriage has been so much better than the proposal. I hear of people often with great proposal stories but much more beautiful than the memory of the Vulcan is the 30 years that have followed. I love proposal stories but more than that I love stories of commitment to a covenant.
What’s your story?
- And a post-script: 20 years later, I sunk that ring away from her to upgrade the stone. I bout her a lovely 2 carrot diamond. Here’s how wonderful my girl is – she was a little upset. She loved the ring I gave her!