Thursday, August 1, 2013

August 1st

August 1, 2013



August 1st…I vividly  remember  another August 1, 21 years ago.   I ended up  Facebooking about it today.  I woke up, feeling a bit melancholy because of the significance of the date.  I hadn’t planned to say anything about it, outside of my journaling (which usually makes its way to my blog).  I didn’t have any real thoughts about the day, other than just remembering.  I thought I might share the story in my journaling.  But as the day wore on, my thoughts became more crystallized and I suddenly realized just what it was I wanted to say about August 1.  Here is what I wrote on my Facebook wall:



21 years ago tonight, a certain young man pressed a diamond into a piece of taffy, offered it to me, and promised me forever. The self-pitying part of me wants to comment that our forever ended 8 weeks ago. But that's not really true. When I catch a glimpse of Paul in one of his sons - that's forever. When I observe how far the girls have come and know it's because they finally experienced the love of a daddy - that's forever. When I smile at a sweet memory - that's forever. And when I sense a heightened longing for Heaven, to see my Jesus and to be reunited with my husband - well, that's forever, too.


As I typed that earlier, I realized just how true this is.  I had several sympathy cards given to me that expressed the sentiment that “love never dies.”  That kind of went over my head at the time, but this is the same idea.  The love that Paul had for me and for his children will always remain.  The forever he promised me that night will last.  No, it’s not the forever we dreamed of as two naïve 21 year olds – that was supposed to last until we were 95 at least.  But all that that promise of forever was comprised of – the love, commitment, the honor – it’s still there and will remain there.


It was a hot, sticky Midwestern summer night.  Paul had been really insistent that we get together that weekend (we lived 4 hrs apart) and oddly, my brother seemed to think it was a really good idea for me to head out to western Iowa too.  Well, of course, he knew!  I was hopeful that I would be an engaged woman before the weekend ended, but as the night wore on I began to have some serious doubts as no diamond appeared.  I had told Paul months or maybe even years earlier that I would not marry him unless he bought a car (he had this beater monster truck that he was inordinately proud of.  What caused him pride provided only mortification for me).  He had purchased a little Cavalier in July.  It occurred to me that all his money may have been spent on that and I’d have to wait for the ring.  So I gave up hoping that night and gave myself several little mental pep talks about how when the time was right it would be right and I just needed to be patient and so on.  We had been walking around the Heartland of America Park in downtown Omaha for several hours.  We began heading back to the car and I was ready to go.  I just wanted to get off my sore feet and to wash the humidity off my skin and get some sleep.  Paul pulled a piece of taffy candy out of his pocket, unwrapped it, and began to eat it.  I looked at him, expectantly, through narrowed eyes.  He knew better than to eat sweets in front of me and not offer any!  He grinned, reached into his pocket, and pulled out another piece and handed it to me.  I unwrapped it.  Something glinted.  Embedded in the back of the candy was a diamond ring.


I asked him later, “What if I had eaten it?  What if I had chipped a tooth on that thing?”  He said that thought had crossed his mind.

I was excited.  We kissed – long and passionately, right there in public.  It was our moment.  Paul said, “I assume this is a yes?”


 It was.


We married and I began to let the fact bug me that Paul had never actually asked me to marry him.   Why did I do that?  But I wanted to hear the words.  Apparently I mentioned that to him.  Once or twice.  So, three years later we happened to be in the same park again, this time with a baby.  We were walking along and Paul casually asked me, “So was this the spot?”  Huh?  It took me a moment, but I realized he was standing under the same streetlight where he had pulled that candy out of his pocket.  Suddenly, he dropped to his knee and very dramatically and very thoroughly proposed to me the “right” way.  I laughed, but felt a certain sense of satisfaction at the same time.


Twenty-one years ago tonight…


If I had known how abruptly and how soon it would end, would my answer have been any different?  Nope.  There is no pain I have to endure that would ever make me regret for even a moment the joy that marrying that man brought me.


The night of our engagement Paul told me later that he picked this date – August 1 – so that it would be easy for him to remember it in the future.  Every single year I remembered the significance of the date.  Do you think Paul remembered it – ever? 


No, he didn’t!


But that’s ok.  It’s embedded in my heart.  No matter what else happens in my life, no matter where I go and where I end up, I don’t think an August 1st will ever roll around where I don’t pause and smile at the memory of a little diamond ring pressed into the back of a green piece of taffy.















































1 comment:

  1. Oh, thank you for sharing this part of your love story. It is precious! HUGS