Today is a special day for The BCPF and me. It was four years ago today that I asked her to marry me. That was the best decision I have ever made. Ever. EVER!
Dear Reader, if you’re not into the sappy, then I’d recommend just skipping to my closing, signature and quote and I’ll see you tomorrow. There will be a three second pause… Okay. Let’s back up even further. We “started” dating on July 21, 2010. My birthday is in November; the 20th. That was my FORTIETH birthday and she arranged for friends of ours to meet and just organized a wonderful time. I had known for a while that this was absolutely the best thing for me and I loved her immensely. That was a Saturday. So, on Monday, I legitimately just so happened to be at the mall. I was doing something for Ma Mère, I think. I just so happened to stop by Marks & Morgan Jewelers (before they closed that store; they’re owned by Kay). I fell in love with a specific ring and couldn’t pass it up. That was in November, 2010, remember. Fast forward to July 31, 2011.
I was finishing up my stint as a college student (yes, very late) and knew that my gift to myself was a trip to Walt Disney World. It’s my favorite place in the world and I hadn’t been in almost 5 years at that point (way too long for me). Also, growing up, I had always been somewhat jealous of the folks that I saw in the boats on World Showcase Lagoon during Illuminations: Reflections of Earth, the fireworks extravaganza at Epcot. By golly! I’m doing that, too. It just so happened that it was a great place to get engaged.
I’ll admit, outright, that when I’m on vacation, I don’t care about looks, etc. because I’m not going to see any of these people again and I’m not entering myself into the fair. So, at least at Disney World, I wear a fanny pack. I need all my stuff with me and I don’t need it coming out of my pockets on rides and such. I wear big shirts so usually, you can’t see it. If you don’t like it, well stuff it! ANYWHAT! I had the ring in the fanny pack at the airport and was afraid they’d rat me out going through security, but the worst I got was a wink from the female machine attendant. I don’t know if that was because she liked my fanny pack or because she could see what was in it.
We got to MCO (that’s Orlando) and get on the DME (Disney’s Magical Express) and The BCPF had to wipe tears from my eyes because, yes, I really was crying. I feel that strongly about that place. They take us to Disney’s Wilderness Lodge where they quickly showed us to our room. We had our passes and made our way to Magic Kingdom first, because I always like to start my visit with a hot dog from Casey’s on Main Street USA. We sat and talked about the Ibis (birds with thin, straw-like beaks) that were wandering about the eating area.
We then went to Swiss Family Treehouse inspired by the film Swiss Family Robinson. No line, just walk through and look. We then went to Jungle Cruise, no real line, maybe a five minute wait. That was great, too! Pirates of the Caribbean was next and front row of the boat. Hall of Presidents, no wait. Haunted Mansion, minimum wait. It’s a Small World, front row of the boat (so we didn’t have to deal with the idiots that take flash pics on the ride), Peter Pan’s Flight, minimum wait. Got on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority’s People Mover and relaxed. Stitch, minimum wait.
It was time to head over to Epcot, where we had dinner reservations at 5:40, or so I thought. We get to Epcot via the monorail and of course, we stop at Spaceship Earth and again, minimum wait. We then wandered about Future World and onto World Showcase (my personal favorite spot in “the World”) and to Mexico Pavilion to ride Grand Fiesta Tour with the Three Caballeros (I still like the old name “El Rio del Tiempo” better) and again, in the front row of the boat. On to Maelstrom (RIP Maelstrom, (sad face)) where, yep, you guessed it, another front row seating. What’s going on here!? To China to watch the Circle-Vision 360 film “Reflections of China.” I looked at our watch and saw that it was about 5:10. We didn’t have time to stop for much more so we needed to get to the Italy Pavilion to eat at Tutto Italia and we made it at 5:20. Turns out our reservations were at 5:25 and not 5:40, so we just made it. I’ll honestly say that that meal was the only less-than-stellar part of the day. It was just “okay” and we’ve not been back since. I miss Alfredo’s that used to be there. Afterwards we had just a bit of time before our 8:00 dock time for the boats for Illuminations. So, we made a run to Canada Pavilion because the Circle-Vision 360 film, “O Canada” had recently been changed and I have a place in my heart for the old one, so I had to critique it. I cried, but it was of joy. They did a great job of it.
So, then it was time to get to Disney’s Yacht Club where we were meeting the boat. You get there from where we were via the International Gateway located between the France and UK Pavilions. We make it over there and… there’s no one there. WHAT!? I get my phone out to call the 800 number on the signage. Literally, and I mean literally as I was about to hit the send button, a door on the back of the Yacht Club opens up and a line of five boat captains and one clerk come marching out onto the dock, each pulling a rolling cooler. A boat captain by the name of “Captain Ron,” who looks and sounds like Uncle Fester from Addams Family, asks, “Who’s from North Carolina!?” I raised my hand and said that we were. He directed me to go over and pay the clerk in the kiosk. As I did, she winked at me and said have a good sailing. Caveat: they all knew what was going on, because I called ahead to plan it.
After waiting a bit for the weather to decide what it was going to do, we got the all-clear and boarded our boats. Captain Ron steered us around Bay Lake giving us a history of how it came about and how long it took to fill (it was man made). He stopped in front of Disney’s Hollywood Studios and told us some facts about that (I knew most of them… hey! I’m a Disney specialist). He would pause intermittently at some “picturesque” locations. I would just hold my girl tight and do nothing. We eventually made it around to the World Showcase Lagoon and we tethered to the four other boats in preparation for the fireworks spectacular. I sat regularly in the boat bench seat and The BCPF sat with her feet in the seat leaning up against me, my right arm around her. We sat and talked about stuff, what I really can’t remember and I don’t think she could either, now. The show starts and I unzip my fanny pack (see you’d already forgotten about the fanny pack) and took the ring and box out, set it on the bench cushion, opened the box and straightened it up to look just right.
Part way through the showcase, The BCPF asked if I’d like to move to the other side. We stood up and I passed the ring box behind my back to the other hand and placed it beside me as we resumed the position on that opposite side. After about three minutes, Captain Ron came over and said, “You know… the view is really better from the other side.” Thanks a lot Captain Ron. So, we repeated the process and I again, maneuvered the ring behind my back and once more, resumed into position. The BCPF turned her head to me and said, “You know, this day has been perfect,” and my reply was, “it certainly has.” Just the show was ending and the announcer came on and said, “On behalf of Walt Disney World…” I told her, “Today has been perfect. There’s only one thing I can think of to make it more perfect,” and proceeded to stand up. I got on one knee and asked, “will you marry me?” She stared at me, and yes I could still see her eyes in the dark from the flames of the cauldrons lining the lake, and she reluctantly asked, more than answered, “yeah?” Maybe five seconds of silence before she asked if I was serious. I looked down at the ring and back at her and I said, sheepishly, “I got a ring.” To which she replied, “yes!!” Captain Ron announced that I had proposed. One of the boats was full of two older women and three daughters so the women all had to know what happened. I stood up and at the top of my voice yelled, to anyone within earshot: “SHE SAID YES!!!” Applaud. Applaud. Captain Ron offered to take us not back to the dock but to Hollywood Studios because it was right where the bus station was to take us back to our resort – it was shorter.
On the trip back I told her about the few people that knew about it, how long I’d had the ring (remember November 22 until July 31) without her knowing. How I’d called her brother and asked him permission, how I’d had to chase her mother down and ask her on the phone; both of which said they couldn’t guarantee she’d say yes and how I’d gone to the grave of her father and older brother and promised them that I’d take care of her. A few other people knew and it somewhat threw her for a loop. Mind you, she still hadn’t seen the ring; it was dark. We stopped under a light but she couldn’t really tell. It wasn’t until we got on the bus and those bright lights could she see it.
We got “Just Engaged” buttons from the hotel gift shop and wore them the whole week. People gave us free stuff like a dessert in one location, and other things and would call to us from across the promenade just to congratulate us. It was a great week and it has been a great life the whole time. Life has given us ups and downs but she and I have never had a problem. We’ve really only had one or two real arguments. Life’s short don’t waste it “being right.” Okay, this went on a lot longer than I had expected and I apologize, but it’s very important to me. I believe she even considers the engagement ring the “greatest gift she’s ever gotten.” If I’m misquoting, I’m sorry. But, happy engagement anniversary, baby!
Until tomorrow, same blog channel…
“My mother says I didn’t open my eyes for eight days after I was born, but when I did, the first thing I saw was an engagement ring. I was hooked.” – Elizabeth Taylor