Finalist Number 2: My Mother Always Says

My Mother Always Says…

…that everything happens for a reason. So, in the middle of a tumultuous divorce in January ’92, as I arrived home to a pile of ashes on Sargent Beach, Texas, I wondered how this would play out to her standard doctrine. All that was most cherished and dear to me, a fine ornate iron bed I bought 20 years ago from Benny Luckenbach, pictures of my kids, old dishes from my great grandma, etc. was now ashes or melted. (Luckily, my sister had insisted on confiscating my gun collection, with the divorce drama going on) It took a week to locate another rental, this time I settled in Surfside. Given the recent loss, this time it seemed a good idea to get renter’s insurance. Over the phone I got coverage from a local agent, and felt like a clean new start with a new tv, futon, and microwave oven just in time for the Super Bowl. It had been a long week, staying at my mother’s. By mid summer, the deal was done on the divorce, and I carried on, with weekend visitations with my two young daughters. By September, I was told by a girl at work that her agent sent a message to me via her, about my coverage; turns out we were both her accounts. I asked if she looked as good as she had sounded on the phone, and was quickly informed that was the case, and that she was also single. I then decided it was time for me to hand deliver my monthly payment, and was needless to say speechless when I did so. Suddenly, I was a 41 year old teenager, alive again! We later had good exchanges on the phone, and eventually I finally asked her out… Well, suffice it to say I was elated when she accepted, but thought I blew it when we went out and, to get a feel for her age I popped off that I recall being in the 5th grade at school when John F. Kennedy was shot and we all went out by the flagpole and prayed, where were you? She said she was born the year after that…I could have died right there…but she laughed, and we continued to see each other…and my 6 year old and 18 month old daughters played well with her 5 year old daughter…Everything seemed to be so perfect with Regina, life was really good again! That pile of ashes from my rented burned out beach-house led to me getting insurance on the next one, and meeting Regina!! Mother’s prophecy did play out with that total loss. As our hearts melded more and more, I had my 6 year old help me pick out a pave wedding band for Regina, and I wrote the following to surprise her with:

“Enamored” is the term I think,
for what we seem to be.
I know this thing is wonderful
between my you and me…
It seems this thing is much beyond
my sense of self control,
This way I think and feel for you
from deep within my soul…
I know to have you close beside,
and in my arms is sweet…
My love you are my heart’s desire,
my love for you complete.
So let’s enjoy this love we share
and savor life so sweet,
And worry not what ‘morrow brings
’till we, the tomorrow meet…
If then we find we’re still this way,
so smitten with our love…
Then us as family evermore,
is what I’m thinking of!!

As it was Easter, I put this and the ring into a small plastic Easter egg, then that egg into a larger one, and those into a larger one, etc. and my oldest daughter placed it high in a hanging plant as I held her up. I assured Bogie the Easter Bunny needed help with the diamond ring, but he will be along later to hide more eggs for you girls, his limit is chocolate…and Easter morning after the girls found all the eggs that E.B. left for them, Bogie told Regina to look in the hanging plant. When she opened the egg, and finally got to the smallest egg, she beamed when she found the ring…and waterworks followed when she read the poem. It looked like a favorable reception, so I dropped to my knee and the girls cheered when I proposed and Regina made me the happiest man alive with her answer. Ok, so maybe there was a little pressure with the girls as witness, but hey-I knew I needed all the help I could get! We set the date for July, Regina got the printed napkins, matchbooks, invitations were sent out, 3 matching dresses for the kids that were same color as her wedding dress for the procession, reserved the Ima Hogg plantation mansion in West Columbia for the ceremony-EVERYTHING…

Then in June, she had a seizure. It had happened in the middle of the night and scared her and her daughter badly; when she told me about it the next day I urged her to see her doctor…as a matter of procedure, he had her undergo an MRI. Two days later she called me, very upset. I left work in the Dow plant to meet her at her parent’s home in nearby Lake Jackson, and learned her doctor told her she had a massive brain tumor, and she needed to see a specialist right away. We made arrangements to meet with a brain surgeon at Methodist Hospital in Houston, bringing the MRI’s with us…He advised us to have it removed immediately, and showed us the mass was the size of a large bar of soap in her left frontal lobe, but appeared to be operable. He recommended proceeding with surgery asap- she asked about our pending wedding the next month, but he said to not worry about that, to delay this surgery longer for the ceremony would be life threatening. IF she survived the surgery, there could be loss of speech or blindness or partial paralysis-deal with the wedding later. How could this happen to a beautiful 29 year old girl? Needless to say, we were in shock. He said we’d hear from his office for the scheduled surgery date. As we drove back to her parent’s, I suggested we elope IMMEDIATELY. I convinced her we’d blow off the wedding, and just cruise the Texas hill country that we both love, and get away from it all. We stopped off at the courthouse in Angleton, got a marriage license, packed and took off. I showed her my great grandparent’s old abandoned house in Sabinal, my high hill country stompin grounds through Leakey, Hunt, Luckenbach, etc…stopped by my home town of Cameron, Texas a few days later and did a quick ceremony at the Magnolia House. I called an old family friend, Mrs. Edna von Rosenberg ahead of time and she arranged for her Reverend Don Hogg to perform the service, while she served as the entire wedding party…best man, bridesmaid, ring bearer, everything! (we just went to her 100th birthday party this October). I have pictures since I placed my Nikon camera on a tripod and used the timer…

I must say, although this was not my first time to make the vow, I had forgotten until I was told to repeat the passage “till death do we part..” How I kept my composure as I said those words I’ll never know. My guts were ripping apart, yet happy at the same time.Mr. and Mrs. Bo Durr returned to the coast the next day, with a message awaiting us…her surgery was scheduled to be in 3 days. Three of the longest days of my life surpassed in length only by the 12 hours it took for her surgery. I last saw her in pre-op as they prepared to shave half her head for surgery. Finally, when they wheeled her out of surgery, Dr. Jerry Bob told me it went well. To prove it, he asked my semi-conscious Regina what her name was. Though wed for just 3 days, she was able to say REGINA DURR!!!

After enduring the intensive radiation treatments 3 times a day for 6 weeks, and chemotherapy, she made the transition of having thick auburn hair to mid back, to being bald as a golf ball, to now once again having her hair back. Her badge of honor is her scarves she wears to cover the 25% bald spot on the left front-those 3 titanium plates do not allow hair growth. But my darling bride is the best mother and homemaker on the planet. We are still as blissfully in love and trusting as we were 16 years ago when we wed. At this time I would like to nominate my bride as the recipient of this ring contest. I do believe it was our strong love and the Good Lord was willing, that got us through all of this, and for her to receive $25,000 in jewelry would finally be a reason she could wear!

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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