Monday, October 11, 2010


I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel as though romance died, along with chivalry, a long while ago. Or, if it’s not dead, it must be, at least, seriously diseased. Maybe it’s that thirty years of marriage thing that depletes romance. But maybe it’s not that at all because I remember my husband’s marriage proposal. We were sitting in the car outside the house he shared with his two male roommates. He said, “Hey, you wanna get married,” and I said something like, “Hell yeah.” (Note: It has been said with some validity that I’m the least romantic person in the galaxy…a truth that seems a little at odds with my romance writing career.)

That being said, I was a little surprised when my eldest son mentioned he wanted to think of some really great way to propose to his girlfriend. In the end, he took her to Egypt, where he convinced some unsuspecting stranger to film them in front of a sphinx while he asked for her hand in marriage. EGYPT! Decidedly better than a car parked in front of someone’s run-down bachelor pad.

I was even more surprised when my daughter’s boyfriend, Bob, called me at six in the morning about two weeks ago. “I bought a ring! You have to see it, and then I need help finding the perfect place to propose,” he said. I didn’t bother to mention that pledging one’s troth in a car parked by the curb was a tried and true method. Instead, we spent the following day driving around state parks searching for the ideal spot for my little enviro-friendly daughter to vow the rest of her life.

We ended up in a little area called Interstate Park on the Wisconsin/Minnesota border. It had a miraculously Yosemitesque feel to it. There was a beautiful little boulder-strewn canyon which Bob and I agreed was perfect. After some tramping and debating it was decided that in ten days time, on a Saturday afternoon, I would decorate one of those big, flat boulders in a fairy-like manner, light a couple dozen candles, leave a bottle of wine and chocolate covered strawberries and wait for Bob to lure his unsuspecting bride-to-be into his lair.

I spent the next ten days, drying wildflowers, gathering spectacularly colorful leaves, and collecting pretty rocks like some demented raven. On the afore-mentioned afternoon, I dutifully arrived at the appointed canyon and decorated the boulder.

To everyone’s surprise, I neither set the woods nor my hair on fire. A few people peeked into the canyon, but no one entered. Perhaps because it looked a bit as though I was setting up a druid altar. Basically people just rushed their children off to safety. Regardless, at 6:30 pm, just before dusk, Bob called me from some outhouse in which he was hiding from my daughter. I told him all was ready and climbed up the boulders to keep an eye on the candles from above. At 6:47, the soon to be happy couple came traipsing into the mouth of the canyon. At first glimpse of them, I left, creeping over mosses and away like an escaping convict.

Daughter called me an hour later, sounding giddy and thanking me a hundred thousand times.

She now wears a row of diamonds on her left hand and laughs a lot. I think it’s a time they’ll remember forever. I know I will (partly because the mosquitoes were particularly ravenous during my wait on the cliff above the canyon). But then, I remember the proposal in my husband’s car.

So how about you? How was your proposal? Exciting? Romantic. Wonderful. Ridiculous? Or are you still dreaming of that time to come? And is the proposal important, or is it just an inconsequential step toward marriage?

Do share.

Sorry, my pc hates me tonight and won't load my pics.


Carolyn Rosewood said...

My husband and I met in nursing school. Officially (ring and all) he proposed to me after we made love one evening. He had the ring hidden under the bed. Maybe not the most elaborate set-up, but it certainly left a lasting impression. :)

We're celebrating our twenty-second wedding anniversary this Friday so I'd say overall he did something right. :)

lois greiman said...

Your husband did well, Carolyn.

I had a friend whose guy got permission to set up a display at the Science Museum. It was kind of an elaborate story board that showed the history of the galaxy. Very beautifully done. Somewhere toward the end, it showed the two of them meeting. When Tracy realized what it was, he proposed. But they got divorced a few years ago. Sigh. All that effort. :(

Keri Ford said...

my proposal was sweet and simple. not a lot of fanfare. we were home alone. I walked in his bedroom. He wasn't there, but there was a dozen roses on his nightstand. I turned around, and there he was on one knee.

my husband was really shy and he confessed to me later that he was terrified I was going to say no. Being we'd been discussing marriage for some three months...I'm still not sure why he was concerned!

Leanne said...

Mine was in the car like you, Lois. My son-in-law did a lot more work though. He made the proposal into a scavenger hunt where she ended up on the third floor. He was waiting with roses and a ring. Awwww.

ArkansasCyndi said...

You won't believe my husband is the romantic one of our family given "the proposal" but I swear, he is..

We'd been dating for 18 months. No spring chickens, we'd both been married before. (me-divorce, him-widow) I wanted to get married. He didn't. We were talking on the phone and make the comment, "You know, if you want to get married, you should be dating guys who want to get married." It made complete sense to me, so I said, "You're right. That's what I'm going to do."

We hung up. Seven days later he called and said, "Okay. You win. We'll get married."

And we did. 3 weeks later.

That was 26 years ago (on Nov. 17)

One cool thing is that we choose our wedding date based on convenience. That day, my Grandma Hobby told me that Nov. 17, 1984 was her and Grandpa Hobby's 55 wedding anniversary! I had no idea. I had chosen my grandparents' wedding day to get married! It was the last trip my grandpa made before he was confined to bed until his death in 1985. I loved sharing that day with her until she died. Thanks for making me remember them this morning. I have a very big smile right now!

Terry Odell said...

I was in his basement office in the UCLA biology business. I had upcoming exams, and we were chatting about our possible future, where he said something like, "I was thinking of asking you to marry me after the quarter was over," and I said something like, "Will things be different then?" and he was noncommittal so I said I had to get back to my apartment to study. He walked me to my car, then got down on a knee and said, "Will you marry me?"

Not particularly romantic, but it's been over 41 years since that date (which was Groundhog Day, and we still celebrate that holiday, so I guess there is a tad of 'romantic streak' in us)

Terry's Place
Romance with a Twist--of Mystery

Michele Hauf said...

I still think the faery plan would have rocked!

lois greiman said...

Keri,I think it takes a lot of nerve for men to propose. I could never take the rejection. (I've had enough of that in the literary field.) So... yay for men. :)

Helen Brenna said...

Oh, Lois, how sweet that you got to help make this so special for your daughter!

My dh proposed in Hawaii. My co-workers joked that he had to get me off on an island for me to say yes, but I loved it!

Leanne said...

PS, Lois, you are an awesome mom and mom-in-law (to-be) to set up the druid sacrifice area for your daughter's proposal!!!<3

lois greiman said...

Hauf, thanks for offering to hoist into the air so I could fly around as a faery and light the candles. But it worked okay without me risking my life and crushing the altar when you drop me. :)

Kathleen Eagle said...

Awww, Lois, the fairy nook in the woods. I love it!

We had sort of the curbside proposal scene, but ours was on top of a haystack--square bales stacked as tall as a house. I don't remember his exact first words, but they weren't "Will you...?" I was more like, "I want to marry you," I think partly because everything was so iffy at the time. I had another year of college, and he knew he was going to get drafted soon. I do remember word for word what he said as a follow-up: "It might be hard at first. It might always be hard."


KylieBrant said...

Lois, I was trying to guess who wrote the post and I was wrong--I guessed Michelle :) Too funny. My boys all did it up big with one carat diamonds (!) and these big fancy plans for the surprise proposal. My big day went something like dh saying "So I guess we should get married." And me responding, "Guess so."

I think I might have you beat in the unromantic part though!

lois greiman said...

Congratulations Kathy!! Happy anniversary!

krisgils33 said...

hubby and I met in college. we moved in together after 3 months of dating. bought our first house a year later. then got engaged, then got married (after 3 yrs of living together). since it was kind of backwards, it wasn't all that romantic, but okay by me. terribly mushy stuff makes me uncomfortable in real life, and I'd rather read about it (which seems kind of weird, but it is what it is).

lois greiman said...

Kylie, I always try to guess who wrote the posts, too. Hauf was a good guess.

Maybe you and I could have an unromantic contest of some sort.

Christie Ridgway said...

Love your story, Lois! Congrats to the happy couple. I think there is a trend to get parents involved. We have friends who conspired with the groom-to-be to go away with the young people and both sets of parents. As the parents watched from a balcony, he walked the unsuspecting young lady to a bluff overlooking the ocean and popped the question. They couldn't hear, but they could see her reaction.

I don't think the proposal is the be-all, but my proposal story was similar to yours. Spontaneous, right after we won a co-ed softball game. Dh turned to me and popped the question. I said yes and had my mom on the phone w/in minutes so he couldn't change his mind!

catslady said...

We had already picked out the ring so not a great surprise. We were at his grandmother's house with no one around and it was my birthday but he did get on his knee when he asked. I was 18 and he was 20 and it's been 41 years.

My son-in-law sent my daughter on a scavenger hunt. First note was on the pillow and she had to find things like - look for the CD that has our song in it - and eventually she ended up in the park where they had their first date.

SusanMallery said...

Lois, thank you so much for sharing that story! I have tears in my eyes, and it was the perfect motivator to write just one more scene in my current book. Your daughter is lucky to have found such a romantic man, and you're a lucky mother-in-law-to-be that she found a man who wanted to include you in the moment. So sweet!

Linda C said...

Ok, I can't resist. My husband proposed over the phone to me! I was speechless because he called me at work. My boss wanted to know if someone died.LOL. That night I made him take me out to dinner to proposed properly. November 6th we celebrate number 29. Not the most romantic way to ask for a girl's hand but it gets lots of laughs

Linda C