The snow was blowing and it was one week before Christmas. I was heading North alone on 95, back home to see the folks. My girlfriend and I are both from the same town (5 hours from Portland) and she wouldn’t be joining for a few days. I took the opportunity to take her father out for breakfast. He’s 75, a Vietnam veteran, and a real hard-ass. A great guy, but a hard-ass. I was frankly quite nervous. After six years of dating his youngest daughter, we’d rarely spent time alone. Making the hands shake even more was the idea of the diamond ring inside my right jacket pocket.
I’d planned it out precisely. I would unzip the jacket pocket beforehand and seamlessly pull out the ring when the conversation lingered in my general favor. The restaurant waitress seated us and not recognizing me, asked Ted what our relation was. When he said that I was dating his daughter, I piped in and sputtered, “for six years.” To which she replied, “Don’t you think it’s time you put a ring on it?” Little did she know that was the mission of the morning. However, she unexpectedly opened an amazing door for me and it worked. Ted confessed, “This is a big deal for a father. I’ve always liked you, you’re a good man, but I didn’t want to let you know it.” I simply answered back. “I know. Your wife told me that four years ago.” He laughed and we enjoyed our eggs.
Planning an engagement dinner isn’t the easiest thing to accomplish days before Christmas. My goal was to ask Gabrielle to marry me in front of our parents over a nice dinner on the date of our six years. She’d arrived home the night before. As I was driving to the restaurant, Gab looks over to me, pauses, and asks “Did you know today is our sixth year anniversary?” I played forgetful. “Damn, I don’t know how I forgot. I knew it was coming up. ’ll tell you what – I’ll buy you dinner.” Glancing out the window, she muttered a mere, “OK.” I had her right where I wanted her.
Dinner went superbly, the toast went as planned and afterwards I bent down on one knee and asked Ms. Backwoods Plaid to become Mrs. Backwoods Plaid. Hands cupped her face, a few tears fell, and her eyes said everything I wanted to hear, and she said yes. Days later, after the Holidays, we were able to escape for a weeklong trip to a remote cabin and enjoy some quality time together. Here are some photos from our engagement…