I threw the note inside the front door, closed it behind me and headed to the car. I really want to tell them in person but their facial expressions would’ve given away the secret without a word. I was going to ask their granddaughter to marry me that day, once we got to the beach.
It was another of the winter time beach trips we love so much. I picked Tammy up at her grandparents house before anyone else was awake and we hit the road. I was sure I was acting weird and that she suspected something was up, but I just kept trying to act normal.
We checked into the hotel, threw our things on the bed and headed out for a walk on the beach, just as I had planned. Even though it was February, the sun was toasty when unchecked by the breeze. As someone who is usually warm, I must have looked out of character with my thick winter coat slung over my shoulder instead of left behind in the hotel room, but I needed a deep pocket to hide the ring.
About a quarter mile down the beach, with the wind picking up, I put my coat on and stopped in the sand at the foot of some wooden stairs leading up to the boardwalk. I nervously reached into the coat pocket, pulled out the ring box and took the traditional, one-kneed stance.
I don’t remember if I attempted to say anything romantic or even semi-intelligent as a preface, but I certainly do remember what happened next.
“Tammy, will you marry me?”
“Get outta here!”
I admit, I was a little surprised. Thinking this was one of my stupid tricks, she laughed my proposal off.
I tried again- ring box still in hand but still closed. Still on one knee.
“No for real. Will you marry me?”
“Yeah right!,” she laughed it off again.
The ring box wasn’t helping. It looked like a relic from the 70’s and it probably was. I bought both ring and box from Sylvan, a family friend and jeweler who gave me a very nice price break on a ring I could otherwise not have afforded as a college student. The ring box probably looked to her like a toy- no wonder she thought I was joking.
I didn’t realize any of this at the time, so leaving the box closed, I asked yet again.
“Tam, I’m serious! Will you marry me?”
“Aw, come on!” she laughed yet again and started to walk.
Now I was in trouble! I hadn’t thought about how to convince her that I was actually serious. I stood up as she stepped off and turned her around by the shoulder. With the ring box back in my pocket, I put a hand on each side of her face, pulled her in close and looked as deep into her eyes as I could.
“Tammy, for real! I’m serious! Will you marry me?”
This time she finally realized I meant it. I was back down on one knee, still holding the closed, goofy-looking ring box. She opened it, took the ring out, and finally said yes!
That was February 9, 1990 in Rehoboth Beach Delaware. Thirty plus years, 32 anniversaries and 2 kids later, I still haven’t met anybody else who’s received 4 wedding proposals, from the same guy on the same day.