Monday, February 7, 2011

Last Night, Six and a Half Years Ago

Today I drove past the restaurant where I got engaged to my amazing wife, which has since closed. It made me a little sad, but better them than us, right? Anyway, that made me think of the email I sent out the next day, which I'll share here.

From: Jamie Oswald
Sent: Thursday, April 29, 2004 2:30 PM
Subject: Last Night
 
After much fanfare and bally-hoo, I got engaged last night.  No date is set, probably sometime around next May.
 
As a disclaimer, it may get cutesy below, so if you aren’t into that sort of thing, you should stop reading…now.
 
To start out, I should say that Becca is romantic, and I am not.  Our entire relationship is basically like that video for “Opposites Attract” with Paula Abdul and the animated cat.  Knowing this, we had been talking about getting married for a while, and I, knowing that I would have a great propensity for screwing up all things romantic, made her promise me that if I asked and it wasn’t perfect, then she should tell me, and I would ask again.  I figure it isn’t that big of a deal for me (I just want to be engaged to her) and I really want her to have the kind of memory of this event that she wants.  Plus, I figure, if I screw it up once or twice, it will be that much better a story for the grandkids.  I can’t really explain anymore what I did next; all I know is that it seemed like a brilliant idea at the time.
 
Let’s break momentarily and let me give all of you who may one day consider proposing on a golf course a couple of words of advice.

  • Unless you’re dating Annika Sorenstam, don’t propose on a golf course.  Ever.

  • If you are standing behind her at the tee with the ring, and she shanks it, you should abort the mission and go to secondary protocol.

  • If you can’t spit anything out that sounds even remotely sweet, pretend like you have something in your eye and try again later.

  • If you go ahead and propose anyway, and she says “Yeah” and then asks for another ball, go ahead and drown yourself in the nearest water hazard.

  • Finally, don’t ever propose on a golf course.  It may be unique, but sweating and cussing for 2 hours beforehand isn’t nearly as romantic as it may at first seem.
     


To make a long story considerably shorter, we immediately talked about my indecent proposal and decided that wasn’t the right way, so, true to her word, Becca kept her promise (and I had made her promise), and I took the ring back.  I am still very, very happy about that decision.  Grandkids’ story: check.
 
Now, having to propose twice presents one especially interesting logistical obstacles.  It is impossible to surprise her.  She knows it is coming, she is antsy, she has seen the ring, and she wants it.  So, you have to balance out holding her off and coming up with a way to get to a romantic spot without her thinking it is for a proposal.  This is where my mother came in.  She gave birth to me on a very convenient date 27 years ago yesterday.  Thanks, Mom!  So, I had an excuse to have her out, and have reservations, and get a private room at said restaurant.  I also asked her three different times what we were doing on the 29th, which is the day after my birthday, which was nice, because she did not see anything coming on the 28th.  So, after working with her family, the restaurant, and my jeweler for 3 days on it, it was finally go time.
 
We went to dinner at Rich and Charlie’s, an Italian restaurant out by where she lives.  We walked in, I said I had reservations and it was my birthday, so they led us into the back room.  At this point, all I had to do was keep it together until the show started.  The waiter came in and got us some drinks, and I proceeded to “not be able to decide” what I wanted for what seemed like an eternity.  Finally, he brought in a vase with nothing but greens in it and set it on the table.  Becca thought it was weird, but assumed that they had just forgotten our center piece.  I had her right where I wanted her.  A minute or two later, he came back in with a ring box and a red rose.  He knelt down and gave her the box.  Right now, reading her face, I can tell she’s thinking, “He’s having the waiter propose to me, I should have just said yes on the golf course.”  Inside the ring box was no ring, however, just a note.  A minute later, another server came in with a box and a flower and another note.  Then another server, and another server, all with little notes like “I adore you,” “You amaze me,” or “I love your butt.”  After 6 servers came in, her brother’s girlfriend Valerie came in with a box and a flower.  Then Becca’s Mom’s husband Ed came in.  Then her brother Zak.  Then her brother Sam. And finally her mom.  Her mom came in with two roses and gave me the white one.  After Becca had opened this last box, I got down on one knee, gave her the last rose, which had a note on it asking the big question, and I let her open the ring box with the actual ring.  She said yes.  Or possibly “yep” (there is some confusion), but the second time around definitely took.  We all had dinner together and had a great time.
 
Anyway, I just want to say that I’m really glad that we didn’t just stop with the golf course.  This is a much better memory, and story, and I love her to death and just want for us to make each other happy for the rest of our lives.  I know I’ve been kind of rough on those of you were already married or engaged, but now that I have found that perfect someone for myself I completely understand.
 
And, if you think I’m a big girl now because I got all sappy, at least I warned you at the top.
 
Love you, Jamie

So there you have it. A bit of nostalgia, a bit of romance, and a bit of me being too lazy to create new content.

93 comments:

  1. Sniff. Sniff. Good advice, great story.

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  2. Love your humor. Really funny and great story for the grandkids check, Mark.

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  3. Glad you enjoyed it. Hopefully they will, too.

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  4. Anything to make you cry. You always know that. :)

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  5. Funny and sappy...good combination!

    But I've got to disagree with your 'no new content' wording. This was new to me!! It's funny how life changing moments resonate years down the road.

    Not saying that you're old or anything!

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  6. Great post! You will always be a big girl to me (no matter how many disclaimers) :-)

    Cheers!

    gabo

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  7. Jesus H. Christ man! You rule.

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  8. Great post! So Cute! Congrats on making FP! :)

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  9. OK...as a sometimes-bitter woman who doesn't necessarily believe in the L-word any more, I have one thing to say: You rock.

    Seriously. I sometimes write on my blog about my post-divorce life, lamenting if I'll ever trust again, or not throw up in my mouth at the recounting of a sappy tale. But your story made me smile -- not vomit. Thank you!

    Best of luck as you continue the journey. Stay open, stay honest and honor the commitment. And now I'll descend from my soap box...

    :)

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  10. Thanks so much!

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  11. Well planned; that was quite a production. Very well written, and very entertaining.

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  12. Great post, very funny. I proposed to my wife wine tasting. We were at the second winery of the day and I was the one tasting; she was driving. When I went down on one knee, she says her first thought was this is going to be a long day, we're only at our second winery. She didn't voice this then.

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  13. Love this story. And I appreciate that you know you aren't the best with the romance that you gave her the opportunity for a redo. Here's to dozens of more years of happiness together!

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  14. Stop flirting with me in here, lest I have to start contributing to your blog.

    Seriously, though thanks. Tomorrow is actually our 6th anniversary!

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  15. Glad you enjoyed it!

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  16. Definitely would have been a do-over for me.

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  17. Thanks. I'm very glad you can earn points for known your limitations!

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  18. Love it ... saw your blog on fresh pressed and just HAD to read the whole story.

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  19. That print page does help with the page views. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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  20. I'm pretty picky, I think the do-over method is brilliant... I'm currently trying to figure out how to subtly put this post in front of my boyfriend.

    (And wiping tears from my eyes, of course.)

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  21. One thing I've learned from almost 6 years of marriage... it doesn't matter what YOU think is a good idea. :)

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  22. I'm guessing your man will be the first of many to never forgive me for having written this up.

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  23. Well Mr. Oswald
    It sounds to me like you did a heck of alot better job at the proposal thing than I did over 34 years ago. But I did get a chance (which I took full advantage of) to re-propose to her on a stage in front of 1400 people and thereby was redeemed. She got a new ring set and everything, it was really cool.
    Blessings to you and your bride with many more years of discovery together.

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  24. Darn it. I tend to be on the unromantic side of the boat, so I read this almost as an anthropological piece. Then I got to the notes part and, wouldn't you know it? I got something in both my eyes.

    Fortunately, the “I love your butt.” note kept me from getting too uncomfortably into the romance zone. ;)

    This was beautiful, and I thank you for the chance to read it!

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  25. Some stories just beg to be told .. and this is one of them! Interesting, funny, sentimental & lovely - all in one. Loved it - and I love your "do-over" idea. Smart, smart man!

    Congrats on the anniversary :)

    Cheers! MJ

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  26. You should see the butt. It'd make you cry, too (but in a good way).

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  27. That wins. Hands down.

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  28. Thanks. For all of that. ;)

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  29. wow - i feel like you disclaimer needs to include a "warning - you might cry" comment. Here I am, sitting at work, finishing up my lunch and browsing wordpress blogs when I come across this.

    Honestly, the title caught my eye because it reminded (for some strange reason) of the song 1 year six months ago by yellowcard. one of my favorite yellowcard songs. oldie but goodie.

    In any case. here i am now, filled with sappiness and a little bit of tears. How special that you have this email! I wish I had such an email the day after I got engaged. My husband proposed to me on Thanksgiving in front of my family. He had everyone go around and say what they were thankful for and then, when it got to me, he got down on one knee and said he would be thankful if I married him. right there at thanksgiving dinner. I cried. I'm such a sap.

    good work!

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  30. Great way to come back. Nice work.
    So glad you didn't stop at the golf course too. Haha.
    Best wishes. =)

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  31. Good on him. Make it easier to remember to be thankful for you, I'm sure.

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  32. I'm an excellent rebounder.

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  33. "Better them than us" made me smile and then keep reading. And then I was a big girl and got kinda choked up when I kept reading.

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  34. You are too kind.

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  35. Glad the "hook" worked. Thanks for commenting!

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  36. Lovely post. Enjoyed reading it.

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  37. love the reasons not to propose on a golf course. That should be posted in all golfers' magazines! Congratulations on FP!

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  38. Come on back anytime!

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  39. If it's not in the official PGA rulebook, it should be!

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  40. Thanks to everyone for reading today. Jamie has a way with words and women and sappy stories.

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  41. I must say, It's a very good story. The first try, I agree with what you said, but the second one I think for not a romantic-man to come up with that,hmmmm....... You have to reconsidered yourself again.
    I hope you will find it in yourself many more sweet and romantic-man along the way of your marriage. Best of luck.

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  42. Wow... thanks for the wonderful reminder that we need to care enough to plan, execute and cherish our wonderful life moments. I tend to be too casual (alot) and not value (should I dare say, even avoid) traditions and celebrations and "mile-markers" in life. I think it has to do with the rebel in me:) But in the end, you're right... it always makes people feel special and the event becomes a lovely spot in your story of life that grounds and anchors your life in a touching, life-affirming way. Thank you, thank you for sharing your loving impulse carried through in such a beautiful way!

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  43. That is an awesome story. Nay, it is an EPIC story. Particularly the part about the golf course. :D I'm kind of a romantic myself but not so much for all the marriage stuff... I'd have been done with it on the golf course, except that you'd never catch me playing golf. Proposed to in the riding arena or on the archery range or something of that nature, though? Heck yeah. Train my dog to bring me the ring without swallowing it? You'd get a yes AND I'd be super-impressed on top of it. :D

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  44. You may be starting a trend.....I am going to have my husband read this post and take notes....
    I hope the surprises didn't end with the engagement.....

    Great post!

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  45. I was thinking ...you could've mastered the golf course proposal if you wore a GREEN jacket....


    spread the humor:charlywalker.wordpress.com

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  46. After being lured by the title, I almost didn't read on past the disclaimer because I'm not too much of a romantic.

    I am glad I continued. Lovely post. I like your style and I'll be sure to check in from time to time.

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  47. Aww Jamie.. You're so romantic! your story's just amazing and if somebody had tried that on me.. I'd have cried at the actual proposal! *not because it took 10 people to get to the climax of the proposal*
    Happy anniversary! :)

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  48. Funny, but sweet. I actually find it nicely romantic (and I hate romance most of the time)!

    Good luck, and hope you find more and more of your sappy side as you go along! :)

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  49. My wonderful husband had been warned (by family friends) NOT to propose in the airport. So, after a long flight up to Providence, his luggage got lost and we sat in the airport cafe, drinking bad coffee and trying VERY HARD not to talk about the HUGE box which we both knew* contained my ring - and our future. :) We ended up finally making it into downtown Boston (Trinity Church by John Hancock) for the official proposal. At which point, he completely forgot to ask me to actually *marry* him. We didn't realize it until later that night when we were having dinner with my family, talking about the date and admiring the ring. 15 years later it's still a great story, and an even greater marriage.

    *He had to ask me to find out my ring size, so I knew it was coming. That, and the fact that we were so obviously compatible that EVERYONE in our circle of friends knew we would be married asap.

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  50. Great Advice..
    Love The Story... :P

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  51. That's a sweet engagement story!

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  52. I just stumbled into your blog (it was one shown at Wordpress.com) and really enjoyed reading this post.

    Hats off to you for coming up with a pretty darn cool way to make amends for the golf-course.

    You write pretty well -- maybe I'll come back for some more reading a little later on.

    Cheers from Australia!

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  53. This post made me tear right up. My husband and I just celebrated our 11th anniversary. Your do-over proposal was brilliant and simply beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

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  54. This is really sweet. I told my husband, long before he was actually my husband, that he had better not propose to me in a public setting. For me it's embarrassing, like having Happy Birthday sung to you at Applebee's! He heeded my warning and proposed to me in front of our dishwasher! True story!

    Great post and congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

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  55. Very nice!
    Congrats on your engagement.

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  56. Yeah, my dad proposed to my mom twice . . . as the story has been rehashed over the years. The first time he vomited on her directly afterwards, in a drunken stupor. He didn't remember he had proposed . . . so did it all proper the second time.

    Love the story! Happy 6th anniversary!!

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  57. I should add, they celebrated 48 years of married bliss this year . . . =0)

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  58. I met my wife at an oil change place and didn't get her info
    2 months later I saw her at the super market I didn't make the same mistake twice. Yeah I like your blog very nice !!!

    Check out todays blog. http://thor27.wordpress.com/ The Reason Sarah Palin will get my vote for President of the United States.

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  59. This was pretty nice and I am happy for you guys — the golf course would have been a nicer touch while asking for the other ball you said it with a smile and a slightly un-plain (i.e. robust/smiley attitude) look and a wink. I think that would have read that as "you're my partner and I can't be a key sportsman without you ^_^"

    I like the restaurant idea too.

    You know what is appreciated was that you tried to make Becca happy. Many women and men lack this nowadays as they act callously so it was very well done.

    In the future, you two will remember that (or should) and always "try" to make each other happy ^_^

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  60. Loads of fun and a carrier pigeon for hope. Just wondering: do you have an older, single uncle? I'm a good lookin' oldie who needs a good lookin' guy. Romantic proclivities are entirely optional if he's good at laughing.

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  61. That just made my day! I read it out loud to my boyfriend! Maybe he'll take some tips from you!

    Congratulations to the both of you! I hope your marriage has been a happy one.

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  62. I wish my husband had been thoughtful enough to do something like this (the re-proposal option). Although his first proposal was the sweetest for straight out of high school. And the second "real" one after college was unintentionally ruined by my father who was dying to have my husband as his son-in-law.
    Loved your story. Wish you both the best.

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  63. It would've been a lot nicer with pictures.. Nevertheless, it was a great read.. :)

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  64. Happy Anniversary! What a great story! Wishing you years of happiness and lots of grandkids to share your story with.

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  65. Awesome story! I love that you still managed to surprise her... I was not surprised, as we picked out rings together, and honestly, I didn't know how bummed out that would make me later! Silly, I suppose, but still... but, we've managed to make it 27 years so far, so I guess it didn't really matter in the end! I hope you have a fabulous and long marriage!

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  66. Love your story and the details you planned to sweep your wife off her feet. Unfortunately love gets taken for granted after a while but you seem to doing just amazing! Beautiful!

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  67. You had me at 'Better them then us'. That is true, keep going strong J.O.

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  68. Ha! I love that you re-proposed....I was pregnant with our oldest son when we decided to get married. My husband and I typically put the cart before the horse, so to speak....anywhooo, he was so romantic..........

    "Jess, I guess since you're pregnant we should probably get married. You dad scares me, and he threatened to cut my jewels off if I didn't marry you. So should we get married?"

    Ahhhh the romance!

    Jessica.

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  69. Really, thanks to everyone. All of your wonderful comments earned me some good points on my anniversary.

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  70. Mikalee,

    As someone who follows your blog, your sweet note here was refreshing. I too am a bit bitter re-coocooned and re-butterflied, post divorce Mommy, but I still believe in the "L" word, and I don't mean lesbian! Love, true love baby!

    I found his post that little glimmer that keeps me hoping I can have wonderful again. I wish that for you too. Hang in there girlie!

    GLG

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  71. Jessica's proposal set the bar kind a high!
    Nice post Jamie.
    Very romantic.
    My husband set it out like a business deal. Laid out the positives we both brought to the table and suggested a merger.
    "On your knee boy!"
    He did.
    We did.
    6 kids and 31 years later he still keeps life hummin'.

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  72. funny! I love creative proposal stories!

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  73. WOW... I am not a particularly sappy person myself, but I just got choked up. Wonderful story, thanks for sharing!

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  74. We just had our engagement party last night ... such a wonderful time!
    Thanks you for sharing your lovely story. My fiancee asked me a grand total of three times. Long story - but also a good one for the grand kids!
    Hope your married life is happy!
    Cheers,
    Lisa

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  75. I sooo wish my husband had tried again.
    After a long day looking at houses, and tearful discussion about whatever made him think I was anything like his ex-wife. I am stuck with "OK. Let's do it then." as a memory. Not a romantic kind of guy.

    Nine years later he has proven to be a great husband and wonderful father. Still not romantic though.

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  76. Great story! :) What a sweet proposal!

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  77. How much fun it that!!! My husband and I also had a double try at the proposal. It is also a great story for the grandkids....we almost LOST the engagement ring before we left the house! Lovely story and I dig the slogan of your blog! Have a great week and congrats on Freshly Pressed! :) AmberLena

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  78. Cool story. I can see my wife in the same situation not having the patience to sit through all that build-up to the actual question.

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  79. It is not too late, he can try again now,,,,romance, candlelight and a do over

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  80. AWESOME story! I had a tear in my eye, with all those flowers and notes. Good job! That is a single woman's dream, At least mine anyway! There is hope for me yet...lol. And I think I just got my inspiration for my next blog under the "Lady In Waiting" column. Thanks! Happy 6th anniversary!

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  81. Wow… thanks for the wonderful reminder that we need to care enough to plan, execute and cherish our wonderful life moments. I tend to be too casual (alot) and not value (should I dare say, even avoid) traditions and celebrations and “mile-markers” in life. I think it has to do with the rebel in me:) But in the end, you’re right… it always makes people feel special and the event becomes a lovely spot in your story of life that grounds and anchors your life in a touching, life-affirming way. Thank you, thank you for sharing your loving impulse carried through in such a beautiful way!

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  82. I just stumbled into your blog (it was one shown at WordPress.com) and really enjoyed reading this post.

    Hats off to you for coming up with a pretty darn cool way to make amends for the golf-course.

    You write pretty well — maybe I’ll come back for some more reading a little later on.

    Cheers from Australia!

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