With Jeff, for the first time, forever became the most comfortable place I ever knew. I easily banished the future.  I stopped looking beyond and stopped looking forward in favor of our wonderful right now.

There were two times in our shared life when I can say I was truly clueless.  There might have been a few others, but if there were, I’m still clueless about them.

I really can’t explain what bug bit me in July of 2000. I pretty much went from zero to 110, from status quo to let’s rock this boat.

I started hinting that I’d really like to be engaged. Not so much for relationship security, as a logical progression, at least in my mind.

I might have asked at least once a day for a few weeks. “Can we be engaged?”

And Jeff would smile and either say, “I’ll think about it…” or answer, “Eventually.”

I’d laugh and say, “Think faster!” or “When’s eventually?”

Not being engaged wasn’t breaking my heart.  We were ‘we,’, and that was that.

Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t give up. I continued sneaking in my request as odd times when he might just be caught off guard; in the morning, in the evening, commuting, at home, grocery shopping.

Like that Friday night in July. Jeff was laid out on the living room floor, head on a pillow, asking of I’d roll over his cramping calves with a heavy wooden pin.

After 20 loving minutes of trundling, I threw my wild pitch. “Are you sure we can’t get engaged?”

To which, Jeff languidly replied, “If you keep doing what you’re doing, I’ll do anything you want.”

“Really?” I asked.

He took a long breath.”Yeah, OK.” he responded.

I pressed, “So… we’re engaged?”

“Yes,” Jeff sighed, sitting up. “But… I was going to ask you tomorrow… at the airport when we picked up your mom.”

I sat there open-mouthed and silent, holding the rolling pin. Jeff was very hard to disappoint, and I had tremendously succeeded in disappointing us both.

“Well,” I said, “You can still…”

“Nah,” he interrupted. “That would be silly,” and then mentioned something about talking to my Dad.

I wasn’t really listening, because  I was fighting tears. Jeff took my hands, and told me, “Don’t cry. It doesn’t matter. We’re engaged, now.”

I nodded in silent agreement, then Jeff suddenly and loudly war-whooped, pumped his arm into the air and shouted, “I’m ENGAGED!”

Of course he was right. I laughed and snuggled up and was happy.

If you’re wondering why my mother decided to visit at that particular time, I can assure you – I wasn’t.

I don’t remember going to the airport or coming home, but I do remember Jeff was on the couch and I was standing up and Mom was standing by the front window when we phoned my father.

“Dad!” I told him, “Jeff engaged me!”

A few years after Jeff passed, I was telling the story of how I coerced him with a rolling pin, and pointing out how I’d never been proposed to when my dimmer switch suddenly cranked to high. I finally put two-and-two together, as the saying goes.

Honestly.  Until that moment, it has never occurred to me that was the reason my mother had decided to come visit. I asked her about it and right after she exclaimed, “Really? You didn’t figure that out?”

She went on to explain that Jeff had called my Dad , not so much asked for permission but to explain why he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.

It breaks my  heart now, that I was so caught up in my happiness, that I didn’t realize my Dad didn’t come because he couldn’t. I didn’t realize the full impact of him saying, “I wish I could be there,” or how sad that must have made him.

It breaks my heart now that I took that special celebratory opportunity away from both of us.

I leave out these sad parts when people ask how Jeff proposed.

I usually manage a smile and say, “He didn’t… I convinced him with a rolling pin.”

Quote for the Week:

rolling pin 05 03 2016 jakorte


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