Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our Story - Part Ten - The Proposal

Our date was scheduled Friday evening, March 2, 2001 just as soon as we were able to get off work. My only instructions were, "Wear something nice/dressy and wear tennis shoes." Those were good instructions because that's not normally how I dress. Philip wanted to take me to Caesar's Head State Park  and see what was blooming that time of year in the mountains of South Carolina (there is NOTHING blooming the first part of March in the mountains of South Carolina!) and then we'd go out to eat somewhere (which is something we very rarely ever did). You would have thought I'd put two and two together but I didn't - I was just excited that we were actually getting to do something out of the ordinary.

We got off work around 4:30 that day, and left Mrs. Tomlinson's about 5:00. I did most of the talking on that trip - telling about my work and some of the funny customers I'd talked to and what happened in classes during the past week. During the course of the conversation I found out that he'd not been at work much but there wasn't any reason given - I just assumed he'd taken some time off to do some writing on his dissertation. I knew he'd been doing some other writing as well but again, the details were very vague. We arrived at Caesar's Head main lookout area around 5:50 to find a sign saying the park closed at 6:00. Philip had to do some mental adjusting because he had intended to propose here:
but knew he couldn't work up to the proposal in 10 minutes. But we took some pictures and enjoyed the views! I was totally oblivious of anything that was about to transpire. I could tell Philip was disappointed that the overlook was closing but he said instead we'd find a place on up the road to do some hiking (probably what the tennis shoes were for) and that's what we did. Since I'd run out of things to share I started probing him for more details of what had been happening and discovered that he finished a poem that he'd been working on and had told me about. I exclaimed, "Did you bring it along?!" to which he said, "Yes." and I asked him if I was going to get to hear it or not. He laughed and said, "Sure, let's find a place to sit down and I'll read it to you." We found a log, sat down and he took out of his suit pocket a folded piece of very nice stationary (no bells were ringing yet!) and I tried to lean over to read it but he pulled it back and said that he wanted to read it to me. Picky, Picky!!! Okay.....

He cleared his throat and began,

Sweethearts In March
It was your modest look,
Your spirit gentle, mild;
Your love for God alone foremost,
Your heart surrendered fully;
His will do, His way to walk, 
First drew my admiration. 

From wide- eyed glance to long- held gaze,
The Lord has led us o'er this year,
And step by step our friendship's grown 
From timid smile to courting's joy:
Twined hearts before the Throne. 

He taught us to trust Him with all our hearts, 
know Him in all our ways. 
Made us know His timing's true
 His wisdom, pure and good. 

"Grow old along with me!  
(It was at this point the light dawned and I almost missed the rest!)
The best is yet to be. 
The last of life for which the first was made:
Our times are in His hand who saith, 'A whole I planned, 
youth shows but half'; 
Trust God: See all, nor [ever] be afraid!"

I love you Marianne. 
Will you marry me?
If you enlarge the picture, you can see the copy he worked on so that I could frame it - which I think I will do in honor of our 10th anniversary!
And I squeaked out a "YES" that we both laugh at to this day! So much for a nice "honor of being asked and privilege of being your wife speech". It was this surreal, "life as I know it has just drastically changed" feeling that was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time (little did I realize that I'd experience this feeling three more times in the delivery room!). He then fessed up to why he wasn't at work and all the challenges he'd faced putting together this special proposal and we laughed at how totally shocked I was.

I had called my dad before leaving on my date (because I was supposed to have called them that evening) to let them know I wouldn't be calling because Philip and I were going on a date and it would probably be a little late when I got in. Dad said that it was okay if I called anyhow KNOWING FULL WELL what was going to happen that night.

After sharing "the rest of the story" with me Philip asked if he could take my hand - which was the first time I'd ever held his hand - and we could pray together once again, asking for God's continued direction and blessing on our lives. There were tears on both of our cheeks when we finished and by that time it was getting dark so we hiked back to the car to finish out the evening.

On the way back to Greenville we discussed many things and Philip told me that his engagement gift to me was going to be a 12 piece set of fine china. He wanted to take me shopping the following day to pick it out. We also decided that with everything else going on in our lives we'd better wait to get married in 2002.

Philip had made reservations for us to eat at Steak and Ale in Greenville. When we arrived at the steakhouse, we were led to our table where there was a bouquet of flowers waiting for me which he had delivered earlier in the afternoon. I don't  think I was able to eat much but at dessert time they brought out a cake (which Philip had also delivered) for me to take to work on Monday to share with my coworkers. It had a heart made out of icing roses and said, "I love you Marianne!" aaaawwwhhhhhhh!!!!!

The first person we told was Mrs. Tomlinson - she was on cloud nine for DAYS!!! and of course I called home that evening and contacted my siblings. Brother John Parker announced it at church on Sunday morning (we didn't have any preaching that Sunday morning so he had to wait until the very end of service to make the announcement) and our joy was added to by sharing it with so many others who had walked this road with us. Such wonderful, wonderful, happy memories!

Saturday we did indeed go shopping (which both of us DESPISE!) and I found a pattern that I did like but we were unable to get it that day. I later found a great deal online that was buy-one-place-setting-get-another-one-free! Yippee!!! It has been such a blessing over the years and it's not something that ever gets old. And thus far....not one piece has gotten broken - even in our three moves! For the ladies - it's the Noritake Landon pattern with gold rim and teal band with light pink and yellow flowers. My in-laws gave us a set of goldware as a wedding gift to match.

Within the first few days of talking to our parents and pastor, everyone was unanimous that we had to get married in the summer of 2001. We listened to their wise counsel for in 2002 we would have been graduating from grad school, getting married, moving to Cincinnati, and starting new jobs. Too much stress for a new marriage! And we're so thankful now that we did!

In the next post (which I'm already working on so it will be out within the next week....hopefully!) I'll fill in the wedding details. I'd like to post some pictures but I need to have Philip show me where the computer hides the pictures after I scan them!

1 comment:

Liz said...

I have SO enjoyed your story! It is encouraging to hear of God's faithfulness in your lives... you may have inspired me to write about our journey to marriage :>)