At 26, my biological clock was ticking, but I had not really met someone who interested me. That is until I went to a grocery store, doing shopping for my mom, and happened to notice a tall, quiet guy in the produce department. I found out soon he was the store’s Produce Manager, but what immediately took me about him was that he was so gentle with all of the vegetables as he lined them up. He seemed to be earnest about doing a particularly careful job.
Well since I am shy too (though I really wanted to meet him) it took me three weeks to plot some way to do it. I discovered through a friend of a friend that this guy, Craig, was the foster father of an adolescent, and that gave me the "talking point" I needed to meet him without it seeming like I was ONLY trying to strike up a romance.
So one day I arranged to be in the produce department as he was putting away some broccoli, and I said something nice about his vegetable display, then asked him what it was like to be a foster parent. He was happy to talk about how he became a foster, parent, etc. and the conversation was getting interesting when he was paged to take a phone call.
I was left standing in front of the box of broccoli, not knowing what to do — I did not want to just leave, we had been in the middle of a conversation. But neither did I want to be standing there for several minutes waiting for him to finish his phone call. So in what seemed like the boldest thing I did in my life, I put my name and phone number on a tiny piece of paper and put it in the box, tucked under a sprig of broccoli.
Then I went home. And waited. And waited. After two weeks of waiting I was SURE I had entirely embarrassed myself, and probably him as well, and figured nothing would come of it. But the third week he called me, and asked me out to dinner.
At the dinner we just could not stop talking about everything. We were different in so many ways, but seemed to have the same view of life and everything. After dinner he said, "I wish we could keep talking, I do not want to take you home yet." I agreed with him. Then he suggested, "How about we go to the beach?"
Well, that sounded okay. A quick hour and a half drive there and back, that would give us more time to talk.
Boy did it! I did not realize his clutch or some truck gizmo was going out and after we got about 30 miles toward the beach his car started slowing down. I think we were going somewhere between 25 and 35 miles an hour, if that fast. It was the oddest sort of comedy as we basically crawled to the beach. We had a surprisingly long time to get to know each other, not just by talking, but seeing how each other dealt with a type of crisis.
By the time we finally got to Newport, we were both bushed, and I got the idea to see if we could stay at my mother’s small trailer that she owned with two other older gals as a weekend spot to stay on trips to the beach. I knew where she kept the extra key, but when I got there, found the other two gals were there, and as it was so late, they went to the back of the trailer to sleep and Craig and I pulled out the hide abed in the front room and slept, fully clothed for at least a couple of hours before we had to get up and think about what to do with the truck.
The next morning, both of us sleepy over breakfast, he said, "It would be horrible if we ended up getting married after all this, would not it?"
I said, "You’re right — completely horrible." Of course I was smiling, and teasing.
But it was not. Three months later we were married, eventually buying our own grocery store and raising the coolest daughter and two sons, through which we have four grandchildren today.
It may not be everyone’s idea of a romantic proposal, but it was romantic enough to me!
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