I proposed to my darling Valerie last night, and she said yes, and frankly I'm far too giddy and wanting to spend more time with her until she leaves tomorrow morning to provide details just yet, so wait another five or six days until I'm home and I'll have a write-up and pictures! Promise!
Kidding. Here's an email I sent to some family tonight:
I bought her ring last Wednesday (like, 11 days ago), and picked it
up from the jeweler the Friday before my vacation started with Dad. I
held on to that ring like the Holy Grail for over a week, waiting for
my darling Valerie to arrive this Friday at 6 p.m. at LaGuardia
(By the way, the trip has been awesome before all this, too, and I'll
have details and lots of pictures when I get back at the end of this
Anyway, as I was saying, Valerie flew in Friday night. Saturday was
our day. Dad told us to go away and he'd do his own thing, since he
knew what I was hoping to accomplish, that being getting engaged to
the woman of my dreams.
After breakfast Val and I took a cab to Central Park and took a
40-minute, four-mile horse-drawn carriage ride. It was very nice,
comfy and we were perfect together as usual, but with all the foot
traffic, rollerbladers and gawkers at the horsies, the "moment"
wasn't right like I'd hoped, and the ring stayed in my pocket all
afternoon, even when we went to the Empire State Building next.
Speaking of, when we went through security there, I was freaking out
that the officials would make me take the ring out. One of them noted
the bulge in my pocket, but didn't say anything, thank goodness.
By the time we got back to the hotel we had to get ready for the evening. By this time I had already picked dinner as the time to propose, but even then, the best laid plans and all that, you know.
Dinner was at 6 at Angus McIndoe, a nice restaurant directly across
the street from the Majestic Theater where Phantom was playing. We
ate on the third floor of the restaurant and enjoyed a big dinner,
but it turns out there were some noisy people all around us and the
tables were close together, so again, the "moment" wasn't right. By
this time I'm wondering if and when it's going to happen at all in
New York City. At first I thought about waiting until we got back to
the hotel and taking her up to the 26th floor where the roof is a
nice cocktail bar and a balcony overlooking the city. But then ...
It turns out we finished eating about 7:15, but the doors to the
theater weren't opened yet. We didn't feel like standing around among
the crowd and in the heat, what with us dressed nicely and all. So
instead I suggested we sit in the little alcove of the restaurant
that abuts the street, where we could sit and talk alone and watch
the theater to see when the doors opened. It turns out, this was the
best decision I ever made.
As we sat there, alone (as I wanted to be when I proposed, nothing
public, just the two of us and our special moment), we sat at a small
intimate table in the corner with a candle lit and wind blowing to
cool us off and playing with Valerie's hair and the way we kept
making googly eyes at each other, I couldn't resist any longer. It
was "the moment."
While we were talking, Valerie mentioned that she had intended to
wear some jewelry with her pretty little black dress that night, but
forgot to put it on. (She doesn't really wear jewelry, so it's
understandable.) I replied, "that's okay, there's only one piece of
jewelry that I'll be wanting you to wear in the future."
About 30 seconds later I realized that was my cue. So I told her,
"You know how I just said I wanted you to wear one piece of jewelry?
What if I told you that I've had it in my pocket the entire day?"
That's when I pulled the box out of my pocket. The look on her face
at this point was an awesome mix of surprise and excitement, and I'll
bet my smile was a mile wide. So I put the ring on the table, looked
at her, and said, "You know how I tell you that when I look into your
eyes I see all the answers, and all I have to do is ask the right
questions? There's only one question that will impact the rest of our
lives, and that is, will you marry me?"
I opened the box, which she was staring at intently by this point,
she looked up and gave me a quiet but emphatic yes, and I placed the
ring on her finger. At this point it all gets fuzzily giddy, but
suffice to say, "the moment" was everything we wanted and more.
(Then there was this big Broadway play or something, and my mind was
in and out for three hours, but it was nice to be there with my
fiancee. We also walked over to Times Square for pictures, and there
were lights and lots of people, but none of them were enjoying the
night like we were.)
So yes, I am engaged to my lovely, darling, One and Only Valerie, and
discussions of dates and details will surely commence soon enough.
I thank y'all for your interest, and hope to talk to each and every
one of you sooner than later, and know that we're immensely happy and
looking forward to sharing our lives with you guys for decades to
come as Mr. and Mrs. Jeff Rushing. (Or Mr. and Mrs. Valerie Howell.
We're hip like that.)