On that particular Valentine’s Day, I bought a dozen red roses and hid them.
Each had a question attached (like, ‘Will you play racquetball with me?’), to which, after she found each , she had to yell a loud ‘Yes!’
She, My Bride-To-Be, was doing quite fine, finding one rose in this corner, another under that bed, until the 12th rose that had the question, naturally, ‘Will You Marry Me?’
She couldn’t find it despite her best efforts, and time was marching on and so we went out for dinner without the 12th rose and, for her, carrying a peculiar feeling.
But all was well because halfway through the meal at this staid establishment called The Horse and Hound, a portly gentleman in a kilt strolled in, yelled and clanged his bell and unrolled his medieval scroll. This fellow, the local Town Crier, also happened to have the 12th rose.
So after My Bride- To-Be said ‘Yes’ (to me, not the Town Crier), in full view of everyone the crier read the official statement that the prince and the princess were now engaged.
That went off all quite fine, and so did the next course in this soufflé of sorts when we were having dessert. On the local radio station the disc jockey, in her professional but fun tone, announced the same, that yes the rumours were true and the royals, the prince and princess, would indeed wed, and everyone – or at least the tens of thousands of listeners in London, Ontario — could now pop open the champagne.
My Bride-To-Be took keen notice of this news and I could tell by the way her eyebrows raised and her chocolate mousse fell off her fork.
Finally, to cap things off, after the meal, when she and I arrived at the theatre to watch the stage play of the evening – it was ‘On Golden Pond’ – there was a crowd of people in the lobby reading the daily newspaper.
These theatre-goers were all quite fixated, each deep into their reading, each holding their newspaper — it was a special edition of the Feb. 14, 2001 St. Thomas Times-Journal — rather straight and high in front of their faces.
‘Why is everyone reading the paper?’ I asked My Bride-To-Be.
What was especially noteworthy is that it appeared that she and I were on the front page of each one.
I said, ‘Babe, isn’t that you?!’
Yes, there we were in full colour in two photos taken when we must have been no older than kindergarten age, smiling innocently under a large banner headline ‘Royal Wedding!’
Finally, to make sure that there was no doubt about any of this, just before the curtain was lifted to begin the play, the announcement was made from the front about the special couple, indeed the Royal Couple, in attendance.
Today, Valentine’s Day, is our engagement anniversary. Today is the anniversary of all this unfolding. It’s a story that both of us still love to share, and one, with any luck, long after we’re senile.
And this, I believe, is how you do it. So that when either of you have your moments, when you want to bolt from the palace because you think it’s easier or lighter and greener somewhere else, anywhere else, you say, ‘Well, we can’t. We’re too far into it. We’re too called. We’re too invested. From Day One we were. We need to remember Day One. Indeed, we’re too ‘royal,’ even us plain people, and there is a kingdom with, our children for one, that we somehow hold together by being together.’
Those of us with good marriages know there’s also more to it, more joy … in this journey together.
But all this aside, it really is a good thing that My Bride said yes on that particular Valentine’s Day. Or those folks with the newspapers held high would still be waiting.