Friday, January 30, 2009

Popping the Question

This coming weekend marks the 29th anniversary of when I asked Molly to marry me. And also, coincidentally enough, of when she said yes.

We started dating in the fall of 1979, after Molly’s Gift of the Rubber Ball let me know that she was available and interested. We’d been good friends for several years by then, and it wasn’t long at all before we had a pretty good idea that we liked each other a lot, and that we had enough common ground to think about throwing our lives in together. By January of 1980, I think we both knew that we were going to end up married to each other, which just left me with the question of how to execute the proposal. . .

I made at least one misstep – or at least, so it was perceived by Molly at the time. One evening, she was hanging out with me at the house where I lived (at the time, I was living with a family in the community; it was common, in those days, for single folks to spend some time living with families, especially if the singles were heading toward marriage in the somewhat-near future). We were in the basement, alone together, watching something on TV. Doing nothing in particular, really; just enjoying each other’s company. I had my arm around her, and it was just a very pleasant, comfortable occasion. And Molly decided that this would be just the perfect time, and the perfect scenario, for me to propose to her. Which I, not being privy to those thoughts of hers, failed to do. So she was kinda upset with me for a day or two afterward. We got that situation cleared up, without too much difficulty. And besides, I was developing my plan. . .

We had a regular pattern of going out together on Friday nights, and when I checked with her to confirm that we could get together the coming Friday, as usual, I told her that she should wear something nicer than usual, because I had something special in mind. A couple days later, I asked her if she had decided what she was wearing Friday night; when she said she had, I asked her what color it was (I didn’t explain myself for asking the ‘color’ question; it was so I could get her a matching corsage, but I didn’t explain that to her; I just left the question hanging, for her to wonder about). By this time, we both knew that we wanted to get married, and the proposal itself was almost a formality. So, my ‘telegraphing’ the plan for the evening was something of an ‘inside joke’ between the two of us.

I picked her up at the appointed time, and the women in her house fawned and fussed over us, and made us pose for pictures (so yeah – Molly had ‘no idea’ what was gonna happen that night; but her housemates were all taking pictures. . .) I pinned the corsage to her dress, and she remarked as to how it matched her dress. At which point, she suddenly understood the weird question I’d asked earlier in the week.

We went to a nice, fairly high-end restaurant (at least, fairly high-end for OurTown), called Mountain Jack’s (which, alas, no longer exists). Our waitress, seeing us dressed to the nines on a Friday evening, asked us, “Are we celebrating something tonight?”

To which I replied, “Not yet.”

The waitress, who was a pretty sharp cookie, came right back, saying, “Well, what if she says No?” Which gave me a split-second’s pause, because I really hadn’t considered that possibility, unlikely as I thought it was.

I didn’t wait very long into dinner (I’m not much for small talk, just to fill the time, and besides, the waitress’ comment made me want to get her answer on the sooner side) before I reached across the table, took her hand in mine, looked into her eyes, and asked her if she would marry me. Nothing flowery or elaborate; I didn’t get down on one knee, or even offer her an engagement ring. Just asked her to marry me.

And she said Yes.

And as odd as it might seem, that’s when we had our first kiss. Which was rather more awkward than I’d have preferred – we were on opposite sides of the table, and we both had to sort-of half-stand-up and reach our puckered lips across the table to each other. But hey, it was our first kiss. We’ve gotten better, over the years.

I don’t remember that much about the dinner; we just sorta basked in the glow of this 'new phase' of our courtship. We’d been pointing to this for a while, and now we’d done it – made our promise to each other, that we would make one life of our two, and, God willing, have a family together (if we’d only known. . .)

After dinner, we weren’t ready for the night to be over, but on a Friday night in February in OurTown, we couldn’t come up with many attractive spur-of-the-moment-type options. So we ended up going to a movie. We saw ‘The Electric Horseman’, starring Robert Redford and Jane Fonda (which probably tells you something about the caliber of movies that were out in the winter of 1980), but it didn’t matter all that much; we sat in the back, and mostly worked on our kissing technique. . .

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So that’s the story of how I proposed to Molly. Nothing fancy, but it seems to have been effective. . .

11 comments:

Cocotte said...

Congratulations 29 years late! So glad Molly said YES.

We used to have a Mountain Jacks too and I remember going on a date with Husband there once. Didn't they have those neat salad wheels (like a mini salad bar) brought to your table?

Good times...

lime said...

how sweet a memory is that? thanks for sharing it.

i met mr. lime at a county fair, he proposed to me at a farmer's market. i joked that to bring it full circle we should have married in a barnyard and i should have squatted in the field to have our babies. hehehe

Sailor said...

What a great memory, and I'm glad for you that she said yes- 'cuz otherwise, all the M's and F's, all those little Desmonds and Mollys- they'd not be around to bug ya!

flutterby said...

The Jones' saga at it's genesis, I suppose! Thanks for sharing. I love that your first kiss happened that night. Very sweet.

for a different kind of girl said...

That's an absolutely sweet story! Congratulations on 29 years of marriage. What an example to your children!

I got engaged between courses of Subway sandwiches and Sara Lee cheesecake. Very romantic. I should add that there'd been much kissing prior to that!

Tulipsanticipation said...

Awww, how sweet, congratulations. That's nice that you keep track of your engagement date.

We luckily have a reminder for that since we happened to get engaged on my father-in-law's birthday. He said it was the nicest birthday present ever!

FTN said...

I often look at "first kisses" in movies, and how they are so passionate and often end up evolving quickly into clothes being torn off and some crazy monkey sex.

And often, I'm thinking, "Seriously?" I mean, who has a first kiss like that?

Good to read the story. Funny it was so "telegraphed," and that she pretty much knew it was coming. (And that she was upset you hadn't done it at a specific time earlier!)

I'm also thinking about some of the fashions of 1980, and I bet it would be fantastic if you posted some of those pictures... :-)

Desmond Jones said...

Cocotte - I'm glad she said Yes, too. . .

I don't remember much about Mountain Jack's, except the decor of bear traps and other 'mountain-man' stuff hanging from the rough-plank walls. . .

Lime - Too bad; just think of what you might have given your kids in terms of answering the question, "Were you born in a barn?". . .

Sailor - All the little MF's? What are we talkin' about here?

And listen. . . "they'd not be around to bug ya". . . You really shouldn't tempt me like that. . . ;)

Flutter - You understand that that it was our first kiss with each other, right, and not in an 'absolute' sense?

But hey, you know me, and how well I am described by the word 'sweet'. . .

faDKoG - Again with the 'sweet'. . . Hmmmmph!

And we realize that we're a little bit odd, having never kissed each other until we were engaged. I suppose it does add to the 'sweetness factor'. . .

Tulip - Our engagement is actually kinda easy to remember, 'cuz it's pretty close to our 'half-year anniversary'.

FTN - I know; nobody in the movies is ever awkward when they kiss, or make love. I guess that must be why they're movie stars, and not me. . . ;)

I'm not sure which 'fashions of 1980' you might be thinking of; my hair today is pretty similar (grayer, thinner, and a bit shorter) to when we were married. My tux did have a big, floppy bow tie. But I'm proud to say that I never, ever owned a leisure suit (or was that more of a 70s thing?).

Cocotte said...

FTN is just jealous because he was wearing bibs back in the 1980's instead of parachute pants.

lime said...

LOL, VERY good point there!

Desmond Jones said...

Cocotte - See, I was wearing bibs in the 70s. . . Oh, wait. . . you're not talking about bib overalls, are you? Yeah, FTN was wearing *bibs*; as in, drool-catchers. . .

Lime - ;)