Monday, July 4, 2016

July 4, 1974: My Day in History

Happy anniversary, America. The day is special for me, too. 42 years ago a chain of events took place that culminated with a barbecue that was supposed to celebrate Independence Day before we added our own special honor to the mix. Diane and I had known each other for four years, as friends. But that summer we discovered that we really liked each other, and like became love as the month of June progressed. We began talking about plans, in a loose way: how many kids do you want, what kind of career are you seeking, would you adopt a child, where would you want to live, will we ever go on an ocean voyage, that sort of thing. It seemed natural to each of us that our lives would meld together, so on July 1 Diane proposed to me. I said I had to think about it. On July 2, clinging to traditionalism, I proposed to her. She said yes. I said we ought to keep it secret for now, until we could figure out a way to let everyone know. My motive was more complicated than I let on: I didn't have a ring. How do you propose without a ring? So on July 3 I met with Diane's best friend, Terri, so she could help me find the right ring for Di. Terri knew that Di had entered a ring design contest some time before, and that the ring she had designed was for her the perfect engagement ring. So that's what we went to find. We went to Goldsmith's Jewelers in Del Monte Center and looked at every engagement ring they had, but I didn't like any of them and Terri saw nothing close to Diane's design. We described Diane's design as best we could to the salesman, and he said that he had nothing like that in an engagement ring but it sounded like a coctail ring they had. We looked. It was exactly right, perfect in every way. Clinging to non-traditionalism, I bought the ring. That night I was not supposed to meet up with Diane. She spent the evening with Terri and her husband John. I showed up around nine pm and proposed again, formally, with the ring. Diane was delighted. We told her folks. We told my mother. Everyone decided to turn the 4th of July barbecue into an engagement party. It was official. We went back to Goldsmith's to try to find a wedding set that would compliment the cocktail-engagement ring. To the salesman's, but not to our, surprise, he discovered that the ring was actually meant as an engagement ring, with a wedding band that matched it and fit into its contours, and that there was a man's band that also matched the pattern. Though Diane never earned any kudos for her design, the design lived and lives on her finger. I took it as a sign. The fact that I found the right ring in the first store, under pressure, and that it was part of a matched set proved to me that Diane and I were like swans. The marriage was meant to be and it would last a lifetime, or two.

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