Exactly 16 years and one day ago, my then boyfriend proposed to me.
And as we stand at the cusp of yet another heart-and-candy filled Valentine's Day, I thought it might be fun to share our engagement story with the world - and asked some of my nearest and dearest to do the same. I've used some love song lyrics by which to subtitle each tale.
Love Connection No. 1: "Like Walking in the Rain and the Snow When There's ... An Ax Murderer Behind Us"
Kerry and I had plans to go snowmobiling with friends over Valentine's Day weekend, though a snowstorm pushed our arrival back to 1 a.m. I just wanted to sleep, but Kerry insisted we all go for a ride. As the gals suited up and the guys readied the sleds, our conversation quickly led to scary stories about how the cabin (near Allegheny National Forest) was really in the middle of nowhere and anyone could walk in and hack us to bits then sneak silently away into the night.
Little did I know this was my friend Shelly's ploy to get my mind off anything romantic, which it did quite handily. So, when we all headed out for "hot lap" around the cabin, I was terrified. By the time Kerry led me to the spot where a campfire had been built, I'd noticed all our friends were gone and was certain we were walking into the trap of an ax murderer. As he extended his grandmother's engagement ring to me, I remember thinking, "Is this guy really going to want to marry someone so dense?" But he's stuck now!
Love Connection No. 2: "Saturday in the Park, I Think It Was the Day of the Garage Sale"
For my big sis Gina and her hubby Kevin, it was a walk in the park, literally. And after he popped the question overlooking the romantic vista of Mill Creek's rose garden on a clear June day they headed straight to tell my mom, who happened to be hosting a garage sale at my grandmother's house.
"Garage sales are places I most detest," she recalled with a laugh. No worries, the honeymoon destination was some place she much preferred: a Caribbean cruise.
Love Connection No. 3: "I'm Gonna Keep on Lovin' You 'Cause Your Father Said I Have To"
My friend Lynne Fiest of Southington's husband Dave suddenly stood up and proposed at Mosquito Lake in Cortland while they were watching boats drift by on summer day. Since they were just out of high school, he'd already gone to ask her father for her hand.
"My dad's response was, 'Once you marry her, she's yours to keep!'" Lynne laughed. Thirty years later, Lynne's papa seems to be in the clear.
Love Connection No. 4: "How Deep is Your Love ... and Where the Heck's the Ring?"
My little friend Jessica Bloss of Beloit was positive her honey was going to propose on her birthday. Instead, his brother popped the question to his girlfriend on Jess's big day.
No worries, though, as a stroll along Myrtle Beach was all it took for Jess to get her ring - even though a TSA agent did what she couldn't - found her ring hidden in Zach's camera case!
She was surprised in the end - but not nearly as shocked as an acquaintance of hers whose beau had a pal don a scuba suit and wait at the bottom of a pond for the duo to go fishing so he could put her ring on the end of a pole. Gives the term "good catch" a whole new layer.
Love Connection No. 5: "Little Diddy 'Bout Jamie and Dave"
My pal Jamie Davidson, who grew up in Alliance but now lives in Texas, recalls how her high school sweetheart asked her to marry her in a very John Cougar Mellencamp "Jack & Diane" / "Small Town" way.
"We both 18 and working at 'Dog Daze' (a fast food hot dog shop) so it took Dave's full pay check of two weeks to buy a ring. We went together to Canton to pick it out and I wore it out of the store," she recalled wistfully.
"Twenty-six years later, we have made several upgrades to the ring," she laughed, noting that they are still very much in love today. "Ring size doesn't really matter ... being in love is the true test over time," she said.
Amen! Happy Valentine's Day, all!
Kimerer is a Tribune Chronicle columnist. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.