Dearest Emi and Ava,
And hindsight being 20-20, I can tell you that my original idea was horrible.
I’m pretty sure that if I would have gone through with it, she probably WOULD NOT have said yes.
But I will tell you about my flawed plan (which still makes me laugh to this day – it made your mom roll her eyes at me when it was brought up).
Back then I was a state trooper (Arkansas State Police) and your mom worked for a title company in Maumelle, AR.
Your mom and I both knew pretty quickly that we wanted to be together and wanted a future together. In 2001, we started talking about getting married.
And then one day, I mustered up the the courage to go see Papa at his work place and ask him if I could marry your mom. You may recall from Memories of Mom #39 that Papa also worked at the fire department with me and had threatened all of the firefighters NOT to date his daughter. Papa knew we were dating at this point, but this was a bigger step.
I remember my hands being all sweaty as I went to ask him. He looked at me with that long quiet Papa look, gave me a little guff (I’m pretty sure he said, “She could do worse.”), and then gave me his permission. It was hugely important to me and I was so relieved to have it.
So, with ring in hand and a few people notified and asked – I put my horrible plan in motion.
Your mom and I frequently went to lunch together. And there was this stop sign right by her work that she ALWAYS ran. I used to tell her that she was going to get a ticket one day, but her response always was, “everyone does it.”
Your mom and I were set to go to lunch that day. So, I asked one of my trooper buddies to sit up and watch the stop sign.
I told him to pull her over as soon as she ran it.
Then after he got her driver’s license he was to ask her to come back to his patrol car and put her in the back while he “checked things out”.
Now, your mom was a big chicken when it came to the police. She did not like getting pulled over. And I knew she would be hysterical.
My plan (that in my infinite wisdom I thought was brilliant) was that she would call me (which I knew she would) and I would show up like her price coming to save her, open the back door of the patrol car to let her out, get down on one knee and propose.
Now…we’ll stop the story here to provide some commentary from your mom, because that isn’t how things worked out.
She told me later (once I had fessed up), that she would have KILLED ME! “Why would you take me on a roller coaster ride like that?” “I would have said NO!” “That is so mean!”
Again – hindsight, she was right. Bad idea.
Luckily, God had a different idea.
[Back to the story]
Everything was ready. My trooper friend was set up, your mom was just leaving work, I was nearby with the ring in my pocket.
All of the sudden I got a call from my trooper friend. I heard sirens in the background and knew it wasn’t good. My first concern was that April was leading him on some kind of pursuit.
Then he told me that he wasn’t going to be able to help me because he was being called to a car accident on the interstate.
WHAT WAS I GOING TO DO?
I ended up meeting April at the deli at the nearby Harvest Foods (grocery store).
I was at a loss. I had told everyone I was going to propose. I had a ring burning a hole in my pocket. And no plan B.
After lunch, we were in the grocery store at the magazine rack.
Since we had talked about getting married, she did what most women do and picked up a bridal magazine.
Then I got a bright idea!
I picked up a different magazine, slid her ring inside, handed it to her and said, “There’s something really interesting in this one.”
She opened it up, her eyes got big, and by the time she looked back at me I was already down on one knee and proposed right there in the middle of a grocery store.
I remember her hands shaking as I slid the ring on.
People around us were wondering what the heck just happened. 🙂
Her saying YES was one of the best things that ever happened to me. That and God saying, “Your proposal plan is horrible, I can’t let you do that, I’m going to intervene.”
Fast forward to this weekend.
I drove through Maumelle on Saturday and remember where I was sitting waiting for her to get pulled over. I saw the stop sign that she always ran. And the grocery store is now a storage place.
It brought back great memories of a horrible plan, some quick thinking, and your mom loving me enough to say YES, even in the middle of a grocery store. And the rest is history.
This is one of my all time favorite memories of your mother. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do telling it. And I hope that when you are proposed to one day, it is spectacular – and not in a grocery store or out of the back of a police car. 😉
I love you!