6) The Turtle Box

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My girlfriend and I took vacation to Isla Mujeres off the coast of Cancun in Estados Unidos Mexico. I’d planned on asking her to marry me by posing for a picture in front of a statue of sea turtles in the little town on the island. My girlfriend (now fiance’) is a big fan of the tortuga of all shapes and sizes and I thought it’d catch her off guard to ask her underneath the statue.

So here I was, ready to propse to her when we wheeled up to the site in our rented golf cart (Isla is the definition of laid back). The statue was impressive as was the view of the Caribean Sea from that vantage point… that is until you walk up to the statue and notice an incredible amount of construction debris behind it up against the sea wall. Urg. “Ew, that’s gross!” was her exclamation… no, this was the wrong place. Quick. Think of something else. I half took her for a walk on the beach at night but that evening was too still and the bugs were biting. I had to make a move sometime because I’d asked her father for his blessing! I couldn’t come home still a single guy!

Heaven smiled on me and placed the perfect opportunity in my hands. One of our first dates had been to a paint-yer-own pottery shop. She’d planned it in return for my planning some other special evenings… we were growing closer at the time and were just beginning to fall for each other. Fast forward to Mexico and a gentle lady with her daughter offering small Mexican pottery for us to paint adjacent to the beach in Paradise… we couldn’t resist. I couldn’t stop myself from reminding her of that one of our first few dates together. I chose a small box shaped like a turtle for obvious reasons and she chose the same in a smaller size. I purposefully painted mine in a rather unoriginal way to not give away the plot that was brewing in my heart… er… head. As we painted, my hands were shaking. I blamed it on needing some sugar and asked my sweetheart to get us a coupla pioa coladas from the beachside bar at our condo.

While she was away I quickly scribbled “Will you marry me” inside the turtle box. I showed it to the lady who would glaze and fire them for us. She did not understand my severely mangled Spanish (never took lessons) but understood when I showed her the ring. It would be two days wait for the turtles to be finished… she would meet us at that same place by noon on Sunday.

Saturday was spent in awe of the ruins at Tulum as we drove 100K south of Cancun in a rented Nissan Tsuru (Sentra) without a radio. We reflected on our time together both on vacation and as a couple. Tulum was incredible as was Xel Ha where we stopped to enjoy some breathtaking snorkeling for the afternoon. We took in the Germany/Saudi Arabia slaughter, er, futbol game over dinner in Playa Del Carmen… my dear even obliged me and took my picture in front of the VW dealership there. I love her so very much.

Sunday arrived late in the morning having spent several hours waiting for the ferry to Isla having missed the last regular one by ten minutes. We’d made some new friends during the wait but were dead tired. It would be a day on the beach with no other plans whatsoever… at least in her mind. As we grabbed our things and headed for the beach, I secretly stashed her ring in easy reach. I knew the turtles would be ready. I was a little panicked when the lady wasn’t there, but I didn’t let it show. I let my darling remember that we were to pick them up and then realize the lady wasn’t around.

As we walked back towards the beach, there she was… Underneath palms and palapas beside the pool of our condo and the tranquil Playa Norte, my turtle was unwrapped. The lady had finished them each with small details making them more beautiful that I’d thought they might turn out. She handed me mine and I promptly fumbled and almost dropped it! One good catch later, the shell was on top of mine concealing the message inside. My girlfriend was admiring her own turtle box as I turned to share mine with her. She admired it though she said it looked too much like a real turtle… which is when I opened it and revealed to her my question inside. She was speechless. I reached into my pocket and produced the ring. I said to her, “I need an answer. Will you marry me?” She smiled and looked at me saying, “Yes!” as I placed the ring on her finger.

She couldn’t grasp what was going on… she said she turned numb as if she’d been removed from the earth. Going to the beach was the furthest thing from her mind. She needed to go somewhere. She needed to go back to our condo. After many happy tears and finally being able to pick her jaw up off the floor I confessed that I need her. I cannot live without her. She’s a part of me I won’t function without. And I’m thrilled that she feels the same for me though I never needed to ask.

I asked her father face to face for his permission and surprised her with a ring we can both be happy with. It will become her wedding band as we shop together… we both got what we wanted out of the experience; I got to be old-fashioned and gentlemanly like I’d always dreamed and she gets to create the ring she’s always wanted. I think I did pretty good. And I can’t wait to see where our future takes us. In God’s hands is where I place our marriage so I know it will be safe through anything we face.

John Scofield,
Columbia, MD

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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