6) Bahama Mama

 

With the Egyptians it began and so the tradition continues to stand,
The man places a beautiful ring on the fourth finger of her hand,
This finger contains the vena amoris ("vein of love") running directly to her heart,
So she will feel his love forever and they will never part.
The Christians had another myth that they believed the most,
Counting from the thumb… in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.
Although the traditions may vary, one tree stands strong in the forest,
It is the love in a man’s heart that feeds the vena amoris.
Let’s talk about the present, enough about the past,
We share feelings together that time cannot outlast.
Of the many feelings we share, four begin with C’s,
Not carat, cut, clarity or color… although I am familiar with these,
When I think of us, commitment is the quality that comes to mind,
We are committed to our family, our friends and to being kind,
We are committed to our faith, especially in one another,
And we are committed to the truth and most of all to each other,
Caring is another quality that keeps us right on track,
We care for those who don’t care for us or who may not return it back,
Compassion fuels our drive to care and lend a hand to those in need,
It is deep in our hearts and been present long before we could read,
Consideration makes four, although there is planty more,
From cooking something sweet to eat or just opening the door.
Because we know it is the simple things that can begin to mount,
We are considerate of those little things and that is why we make them count.
Love allows all four to work in concert with each other,
Love is what we share and that I have shared with no other.
So I hold in my hand the ring as I drop to just one knee,
I will love you forever, Will you marry me?

Since marriage is the union of two souls, we decided to describe our engagement experience from both of our perspectives. Our journey began with Devin’s incredible knack for research—when he was ready to learn more about diamonds, he went to the library and borrowed two books, one of which was "How to Buy a Diamond" (1st edition), written by Fred Cuellar. After reading Fred’s book, he only needed to read part of the second book before he realized how much better Fred’s book was and that it as all he needed to research and find the perfect diamond. In order to express his appreciation and to seek advice, Devin called the Help Line and spoke with Grayland Noah. Grayland thanked him for the compliments regarding the book and quickly asked for his address so that he could mail him a complementary copy of the newest edition. After thoroughly reading the new book, Devin got busy writing a thank you letter to Grayland thanking him for the book and expressing his thoughts on the superior writing style and content of The Diamond Guy’s book. Shortly thereafter, Devin received a surprising phone call. Grayland called to share with us that Fred was so impressed by the letter that he wanted to personally cut the diamond for us that would be bonded for life! After three months of working closely with Grayland, the final result was a stunning engagement ring with a beautifully cut round diamond and accent stones set in a custom designed platinum band with matching wedding band.

So, let’s get to the good stuff…

We took a four-day trip to Grand Bahama Island on June 13th. Due to the security upgrades at the airport, I attempted to contact security to prevent any of the plans from being revealed. I was unsuccessful both by phone and by e-mail. So, when we reached the airport, once Linda was out of sight, I casually made my way to the security area and relayed my future engagement plans. The security officer recommended that I slip the ring inside our carry on bag and allow it to be screened by x-ray. Everything went off without a hitch, excuse the pun, until we reached the boarding line at the terminal. Just my luck, the security officers chose Linda and I to be randomly searched. Luckily, each of us had our own security officer, so when the security officer asked me, "Do you have anything metal on your person", Linda was too busy answering the other security officer’s questions to hear my answer of "Yes, I have metal in my wallet." As they searched my sandals my eyes stayed fixed on my wallet (which contained the engagement ring) located about 15 feet away from me in a small plastic bucket. The random search was comlete and Linda was none the wiser. Everything worked out and we boarded the plane and we were off to the Bahamas.

Once we arrived in the Bahamas, my plan was to rent a sailboat for an evening cruise and propose at sunset. Sounds simple enough, unfortunately, after several calls we discovered there was only one sailboat in the Bahamas for rent and it required 12 or more people for it to depart on a cruise. During all of those phone calls, one person told me of a Captain A.J. who specializes in exotic adventures. Well, I decided that was going to be my connection. The weather had been incredibly rainy and it wasn’t until the day before we were supposed to depart that the weather finally broke. Keep in mind I connected with Captain A.J. secretly each day to discuss the weather and the possibilities. When the weather finally broke, all I told Linda was that we would be going on a boat ride and she should bring her swimsuit.

As our meeting time with Captain A.J. neared, I excused myself to the restroom to clean and prepare the ring for its final destination. We were off to meet Captain A.J. via taxi to the local marina. Halfway through the taxi ride I remembered that I had forgotten to bring the camera. I mentioned it to the taxi driver and to Linda and they both agreed that due to the distance already traveled that it would be a better financial decision to buy a disposable camera at the marina. Well, I was the only one of the group that knew how important a camera with a timer was going to be so I chose to return to the hotel to retrieve the camera. Believe me, I am so glad I did!

Prior to leaving the hotel room, Devin suggested we get dressed up for the day. I knew we were going on a boat ride, but I did not know where to or what else we were going to do that day. De
vin asked me to pack my bathing suit since we might be going for a swim. He did a great job reassuring me that it was going to be a great day—it was exciting not knowing where we were headed. We packed our bags and we were off. We went to the front of the hotel to catch a taxi. It was hot out and Devin wanted to make sure that we were comfortable on our way to the marina so he had the doorman call us a taxi. It felt really nice to be driven around all dressed up—Devin was taking care of everything.

Captain A.J. met us at the marina and led us to his 26-foot long speedboat with dual outboard 150 hp engines. On the side of the boat was painted Exotic Adventures. As we departed from the marina, Captain A.J. played tropical island music. It was exciting to know that Captain A.J. is a 9th generation Bahamian. As we picked up speed, I could tell Linda was curious yet excited, although she she had no idea of our destination The day turned out to be perfect with blue skies and white clouds and the typical blue green Caribbean water. About 30 minutes into the trip we all noticed a small secluded island ahead. Captain A.J., knowing the importance of surprise, steered the boat just left of the island to avoid any conclusions that Linda might come to. As we came closer to the island, Captain A.J. turned to me and said, "Will this do?" I laughed and smiled and said, "This will be perfect." Linda overheard our conversation and said, "Is this where we are going? Is this where we are going?", getting more excited each time she repeated it. I nodded and smiled and she said, "It’s so beautiful."
The scenery was so beautiful! We had sunshine, blue sky, and green Caribbean water along with the sound of the tropical island music. I wondered where we were off to and was touched that Devin had put so much thought and caring into this day. I had the feeling that it was a day I would never forget!
Captain A.J. backed the boat into the blue green water as Linda went below to change. Meanwhile, Captain AlJ. Said to me, "Everything you asked for is in the bag, it is all there… you just might have to look for it." Isaid, "thank you so much, this is perfect." He told me, "When Linda is ready, I am just going to give you the bag and take off." Captain A.J. told me that he would be way off the island but in sight in case we needed anything.

As we approached the island, I was a little confused, but so excited! Devin suggested that I go below deck to change into my bathing suit and while I did I could hear him and Captain A.J. scurrying around on the deck. When I came up, we were bright, white sandy beach. Devin changed into his suit and as we hopped into the water he pulled a cooler out from behind the bench on board and carried it with him as we walked onto the beach. Captain A.J. started the engine and began to steer the boat away leaving Devin and I alone on the island. It was perfect.

Linda was ready and I told her we were going ashore to our own deserted island. I stepped out of the boat into about 3-4 feet of water, grabbed the cooler, and helped Linda into the water. As we walked to shore, we noticed the sun glistening off of the white sand, which had been formed into a small peninsula. I set up our picnic area with our blanket and cooler. On top of the cooler, I carefully positioned the camera with the timer set to snap shots each minute. Holding Linda’s hand I reached into my bag and grabbed the poem I had written and the beautiful engagement ring I had custom designed. With the ring box under one arm, I led Linda to the edge of the peninsula where the tiny waves were just inches from our feet and I read her the poem enclosed. At the end of the poem, I slowly dropped to one knee and asked Linda, "Will you marry me?" With tears of joy in her eyes she said yes and I placed the engagement ring on her finger and slowly led her to her knees as we kissed and hugged.

Later, we discovered that we were fortunate enough that the camera snapped a shot at the exact moment I was placing the ring on her finger. After we hugged and kissed we slowly walked a few feet away to our picnic site to open up our chilled bottle of wine and I cut some fresh fruit and we toasted to our engagement. After our picnic, we enjoyed lying in the gentle surf on one side of the peninsula and wading in the small chest high area located on the other side of the peninsula. So, on one side we could sit and feel the gentle waves roll across our legs and on the other side we could stand arm in arm in chest deep clear water looking out onto the ocean from our personal secluded island.

Devin asked me to stand at the water’s edge as he began to set the camera up—I thought he was setting the timer so that we could get a picture of us in front of the water—little did I know that he was setting the timer to take pictures while he was proposing! Devin then went into the bag that we had brought and pulled out a scrolled paper and a small box. He tried to hide the box behind his back, but then and there I knew what was coming and my heart started pounding! He stood in front of me at the water’s edge and untied the ribbon on the scrolled paper. He began reading me a beautiful poem that he had written for me and the tears began flowing from my eyes. He spoke of the things we share—commitment, caring, compassion and consideration—telling me that I am the only woman he has ever loved. Then, getting down on his knees before me, he told me that he would love me forever and asked if I would marry him. I had never felt so complete. Tears were flowing freely and as he opened the box, I was stunned—an incredibly beautiful and perfect diamond ring sparkling immensely in the sunlight. It was so much more than I had ever dreamed, but then again, so was Devin.

I threw my arms around him saying "Yes!" to his heartfelt proposal then joined him on my knees in the sand. As Devin placed the ring on my finger, I could not believe how incredibly stunning it was and how much it sparkled in the sunlight. I had never before seen a ring of such beauty and elegance. I told him I loved him and it felt like we were the only ones on earth. I had never felt so happy and in love as I did at that moment—it was perfect.

Some time later, Captain A.J. returned to pick us up and he quickly congratulated us on our engagement. On the boat ride ba
ck, Captain A.J. topped off our engagement by playing just about every romantic song in the book. One song in particular that reminds me of that day is titled "Could not ask for more" which summed up our entire day and we hope our future to come.

Devin and Linda Sweeney ,
Richmond, VA

The founder and president of Diamond Cutters International, is one of the worlds top diamond experts, as well as a three-time Guinness Book record holder in jewelry design.
Fred The Diamond Guy
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