November 1987: Orlando Florida.
A young couple, having dated for about a year, planned to be engaged at some point during the month of November. She wanted to be surprised. He didn’t. He wanted certainty, “Don’t ask the question unless you already know the answer”, he would later teach his sons.
She desired six months to plan a wedding. He calculated six months to the desired May wedding date and declared, “One day in November you’ll be surprised with a ring.” Each morning she arose with anticipation. “Would today be the day?” She was keenly aware of details around her… at every turn, she looked for an indication of the impending surprise.
As the days of the month passed the tension grew. Each day someone asked. Friends looked at her hand for evidence the day had arrived. She didn’t know it at the time, but the waiting was much like the anticipation of the baby’s due date. Waiting… not her favorite… oh but the anticipation! The expectation of a JOYFUL surprise? Yes, she delighted in this kind of waiting.
So, as the weekend approached in the middle of the month, there was a usual Friday night date night planned. Co-workers wondered and giggled with delight. This had to be IT! He was taking her to the Bubble Room in Orlando. This was THE place where engagements happened in 1987. The ring would be in the Bubble Room cake brought out at the end of the meal. And he would be on his knee while she tried to figure out how to wear a diamond covered in cake and icing???
They did go to the Bubble Room that Friday night. She wasn’t able to fully enjoy her meal because of the butterflies in her stomach and then there was no cake and no ring and no knee in the middle of the restaurant. This wasn’t it. Had he played a cruel joke on his beloved? Surely not…
He being the mischievous type would not follow the pattern of many others before him. The Bubble Room was too obvious. He, not being one for a mess, would not allow the diamond he purchased to be stuck in the middle of food. And what if they lost the ring? No, this was not his style, but teasing was very much his style.
So, how could he make it up to her? He offered to drive them to New Smyrna Beach for a moonlit stroll on the beach. Walking in the sand, with waves playing on their feet and a warm November breeze flying across their faces while they walk-talked, yes that’s the way to put a comforting end to a stressful and disappointing evening.
And then, under the full moon on New Smyrna Beach, he stopped and took her hand. In the privacy of the two and before God Himself, he placed the ring on her finger. He asked for a lifetime already sure of her answer! And she did not disappoint.
YES! She said, “Yes!” Thirty years later, we are realizing we had no idea the impact of our yes. We had no way of comprehending the path ahead. We just knew we would travel together. And here we are remembering…30 years ago… November 1987.
Eyes on Jesus… you’re Shining, Suntanned Feet Man!