Saturday, April 2, 2011

A proposal: Give yourself something to remember

A little more than a decade ago, I drove up to Greensboro on a Thursday night to have dinner with my girlfriend. We were planning a fishing trip that weekend, so I brought an old green tackle box we shared. I told her I had a new lure to show her.

She opened the box. There, among the hooks and rubber worms, was a diamond engagement ring.

We’ll pause while the men out there nod admiringly.

You can guess the rest. My wife-to-be gasped, I grinned, and we had ourselves one of the best kinds of currency – a fun story to remember.

The Observer’s Elizabeth Leland told you another one of those this past week – about Patrick Allen and Josalyn Lowrance of Charlotte. Not long ago, Patrick decided to propose to Josalyn, and when he told her parents and friends, they wished wistfully that they could see her reaction.

That got Patrick thinking. He hired a photographer for a tricky assignment: shoot the proposal without Josalyn realizing what was happening. The photos are terrific. The smiles catch the light like jewels. The story made it on the Observer’s front page.


Heather Bryson hears these kinds of stories occasionally. She’s a partner and wedding planner at Carolina Wedding Design, so she’ll have a hand in some of the ceremonies we’ll see spilling out of Charlotte’s churches in the coming months.

She tells her clients often to slow down, to remember to be in love. And this: “Don’t look back and say I don’t remember a thing.”

She says she’s heard amazing proposal stories and funny proposal stories. One client took his fiancĂ©e-to-be to New York, where he had flown in her friends for the big moment. Another convinced the sellers of the house they were going to buy together to let him propose in the living room they would soon share.

Not bad. But it’s no tackle box…

It is, however, a reminder about memories – that we should give ourselves as many as we can, big and small ones, gasps and grins. Life will deliver plenty that aren’t so easy, of course. Not only the harshest challenges – the job that’s taken away, the bad diagnosis – but all the usuals that overfill our days and make us wonder if our lives don’t really belong to us.

And in that crunch, we can sometimes lose the better moments – no, not lose, but tuck too far away. At least until a story like Patrick and Josalyn comes along and reminds us about living room proposals and tackle boxes.

Actually, the lure/ring wasn’t the best part of that story. After I heard “yes” that night, we went out to a nice dinner, and I promptly was overcome with nausea from a bad meal I’d had earlier that day. It was food poisoning, but my wife still raises an eyebrow and wonders if it was remorse. Of course not, I say, each time we remember.


Anonymous said...

Awww, sweet proposal story Peter, and nice article!

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed this. Thanks so much!

Anonymous said...

Having lost my husband of 36 years a few months ago, these are the things I like to remember about our life, not the bills, not the money, where is the job going to come from,fixing the car, paying for the braces, but the moments that make me smile!!!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful attitude, Peter. To me, a great human interest article is one where I have at least one "Awww" in the middle and a chuckle at the end. I know Josalyn and Patrick will be extremely happy forever, as I know you and your bride are. Thanks for the kind words and inspiring attitude.

Anonymous said...

Funny article and goes to show different strokes. If I had proposed with a ring in a tackle box, I can guarantee 100% a "maybe" as an answer....and the "yes" would come if I started over and proposed in a different setting, with less of a "redneck" method. Interestingly, if my wife were to have proposed to me, and had some photographer hiding in the woods taking pictures of it without my knowledge....I would think it creepy, and would always think back to "our private moment" not really being "our private moment" at all.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Anonymous 12:03 from 4/3 - just because you wouldn't propose a certain way doesn't give you the right to judge someone else's proposal in a harsh manner. Do yourself a favor and take the stick out. Life's too short.