April 18 is a very special day, for many reasons.
Brian asked me to marry him 14 years ago today…
Well – actually, he was PLANNING to ask me to marry him, but then he dropped my ring into a pond before I ever got to see it.
I’m not sure how I’ve gone this long without telling our engagement story on the blog, so here goes!
On Friday night, April 18th, 2003 – I was home from my senior year of college for Easter weekend and we had just finished dinner with my family at the local fish camp to celebrate Papa Willie’s birthday. It was a messy, rainy and unusually cold April night. We’d been dating since Christmas and Brian told me all week he had a surprise, but wasn’t sure if he was ready. I know now this was just his nervousness and trying to talk himself into actually going through with the proposal! He had the ring in his pocket all night and every time I would move to one side, he’d change the ring into the other pocket so I wouldn’t accidentally hit it and find out. This is an important detail. Keep that in mind.
Brian decided it was time for the surprise and I was blind folded to make sure I wouldn’t know where we were going. He did however remind me that he was NOT proposing because he wasn’t ready (we’d been talking about getting married for a few months at this point). I sure hope he prayed for forgiveness after telling me that fib!
We drove out to “Lake Marvis” – a large pond Brian’s parents owned in the country where Brian and his high school friends made many memories fishing and camping over the years. I hadn’t been privileged enough to actually go to “Lake Marvis” yet so this was a special treat – but, remember I didn’t know where we were going because I was blind folded. Yeah.
Finally, we arrived at our secret location and I waited in the car for several minutes as he got the surprise ready. Once everything was set, he made me keep the blind fold on and we walked out onto the dock over the pond.
Upon taking the blind fold off, I opened my eyes to a blanket spread over the dock with candles (that wouldn’t stay lit because it was cold and windy, hah), and then he handed me a card.
We stood on the dock facing out towards the pond in the moonlight and as I opened the card Brian stood behind me holding a flashlight so I could actually read what he had written.
It was the sweetest card – one that was totally blank inside and I was impressed to see that he’d filled up not only one, but BOTH sides with his own messy handwriting.
At the end it said, “I love you from the bottom of my heart, now please turn around!”
At this point Brian tells me to wait just a second (remember, he was holding a flashlight for me to read the card). It was at this moment I started to figure out what was happening. He WAS going to propose!!!
In the midst of my own internal giddiness, all I hear from Brian is, “OH NO!!!!!”
Brian proceeds to lay down on the dock and tell me that he’s about to throw up.
I turn around and ask what in the world is wrong and what’s going on???
To which he replies,
“Well, I was about to ask you to marry me, but the ring just fell in the water!”
This could only happen to me, y’all.
I laughed and asked if this was all a joke. It was clearly not a joke. Brian was pretty upset. So upset that he grabbed the blanket and the candles and told me to get in the car. “Let’s go.”
The ring came loose inside the box from Brian moving it from pocket to pocket earlier that night at dinner. As soon as he opened the box, the ring fell straight out and went down into the water through a crack in the dock. It never even hit a single board. Straight. Into. The. Water.
After a few moments, I convinced him there were warm blankets in the back of my car and that he should get in that pond and find my ring!!! So, we turned the car around and headed back to go swimming in the pond. Yes, he got in the pond, the FREEZING pond around 10pm on a cold rainy night. I married such an amazing man!!
Amazing, yes. But, no ring to be found.
Still, Brian is soooo mad at this point.
Come to find out, the ring was custom made and the jeweler was working for months on the design. Brian picked up the ring that very day and didn’t even have insurance added yet. Oooops.
The next thing we needed to do was tell Brian’s parents we were engaged (well, sort of, not really) and that my ring was in the bottom of their pond. #1 – they didn’t know he was asking me to marry him that night and #2 – they drained their pond the year before and it was a HUGE mess. The likelihood of that happening again was slim to none.
Good times, good times.
My parents were aware of Brian’s plan that night and it was time to call them. My mom answered soooo happily, then I got to break the news that my ring was in the bottom of a pond. She started laughing hysterically. My dad on the other hand, felt terrible and was worried about poor Brian.
We made a plan to go out the very next morning and start the search and rescue effort for my ring. We took metal detectors, mesh wire to skim the bottom of the pond, and anything else we could think of to locate my poor dirty ring. The location was directly under the middle of the dock and the murky pond water was about 4 feet deep. Because of the location, you couldn’t just stand over where the ring fell. Of course.
That’s mom holding Joy in the background – she was 2 at the time! Doesn’t Brian look thrilled???
The metal detector did no good. Brian, his dad, and brother built the dock themselves a few years before and there were nails EVERYWHERE under the dock. This story just gets better and better, right?
They ended up taking apart the dock over where we knew the ring fell and would take turns going head first down into the water.
After about 45 minutes of searching my incredible father-in-love came up with the ring!!!!
We went straight to the jeweler to get my brand new ring cleaned – the one Brian purchased the day before! I’m not sure that has ever happened. What a story we had to tell!
Of course this was back in the day before cell phone cameras and digital cameras, so I only have these few images above which were probably taken on a disposable Kodak camera if I were to guess!
I’ve added these memories to a scrapbook, including the card Brian gave me on that cold rainy night at Lake Marvis, and the magazine page torn out with the design of a ring I loved. He had my ring made by taking that page to the jeweler.
Where does the time go?
It doesn’t seem like 14 years at all.
Some days I wish Brian’s parents still owned “Lake Marvis” so we could ride out and visit our special spot. But, they don’t and I’m sure the new owners wouldn’t be too happy with us trespassing on their property.
Instead, we’ll live through these memories and sit tonight to share our story with our kiddos before they go to bed.
That’s one reason I write this blog – so that one day my kids can go back and know a little more about the love we share, the heart of their mom and how very special our family is to me.
Oh, and before I forget – April 18 is also special in our family because we celebrate and remember my Papa Willie Kelly – today would have been his 84th birthday, I believe.
Papa and Joy
Willie and Glennie at the City Pond
Our family must have a love for ponds, right??
Happy engagement-ring-in-the-pond-day, Brain.
I love you and our story is still my favorite ❤
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