The engagement story, of course, goes back quite a ways before Christmas week. The day after Thanksgiving break, I actually bought an engagement ring. Katie and I had been talking about ring sizes and styles that she liked. She, unlike most girls, had never even looked at rings and didn’t know where to start. The rings she “liked” and sent me pictures of, were pretty much a sampling of everything there could possibly be on the market. Not much help, though one word that she used was helpful, “antique”.
It wasn’t much to go on, but I found one that I liked and it reminded me of her. I made sure that I could return it because my parents have used this other jeweler, Dan Austin, in Spokane for many years and they told me that I should talk to him about getting a ring. I did, and I am very glad. He was able to design a ring based off of the one that I bought, with a few modifications to make it tons better. All the while I was telling Katie that I couldn’t possibly afford a ring until after January when my financial aid would come in. It was a lot of fun to juggle phone conversations with the jeweler who was making Katie’s ring and Katie, who didn’t know anything about it. “That dang blood bank just keeps calling me, Katie.” The ring was completed and mailed to me 2 days before my plane left to visit Katie. Oi, talk about stressful, but I got it and it was beautiful.
Then there is the story of how to propose. These things have to be planned, you know. I was just kind of thinking in my head, “Well I’ll just propose on Christmas morning with one last “special” gift.” A few days after thinking this, my mom and I were on the phone and she said, “You aren’t going to do anything tacky like propose on Christmas morning in front of the whole family, are you?” I was like, “oh no, what do I do now?” So like any good son, I lied and told her, “No, of course not, pshh, no! (serious voice) Why? What did you have on mind?”
That is when “I” came up with “my” fantastic plan on how to propose. Mom wanted me to get a glass Christmas ornament with glitter on it that spelled, “Will you marry me?”. I told her that was a horrible idea and that I was going to have a sterling silver Christmas ornament that said, “Will you merry me?” on it. Which is totally different. OK? It is. So Mom went on the hunt to find one for me on the internet. She said that she couldn’t find a single sterling silver ornament after almost 4 hours of looking. I thanked her and asked if I could look for a few minutes. I typed in “sterling silver ornaments” in Google and the first website that I found had a great selection of ornaments, but their engraving only had 2 lines. I wanted more engraving than that, so I called them and 15 minutes later had my Christmas bell in sterling silver on the way, which read, “Steven & Katie’s 1st Christmas 2010” on the front and, “Will You Merry Me?” on the back. I choose to say “Merry” mostly so it was different than my mom’s idea, but also because in our many 1000 word emails, I never reread anything and Katie got a lot of laughs out of my typos and misspellings.
So that is the back story. Now to Christmas week. 🙂 I actually caught a cold 2 days before flying out for Nevada. Therefore, upon arrival, I couldn’t hear anything due to the pressure changes from the plane ride. I tried every trick in the book to make my ears pop and nothing worked. I did find that if I stretched my neck down and forward, I could for some reason hear, but I looked rather silly. Once the Travis’s figured out that I couldn’t hear unless I was in this rather silly position, they began to ridicule me fiercely. So that went on for a day and that brings us to Christmas Eve.
I had made dinner reservations at the nicest restaurant in Fallon, Angelica’s. Katie knew about the reservation and we had made plans to attend the Christmas Eve service at her church and then head out to dinner right afterward. Katie asked before we left if I cared if she wore jeans. I said that maybe we could dress up a little bit for the Christmas Eve service. Her mom, so sweet, picked up on my suggestion and followed her upstairs to help her do her hair and pick out clothes, etc. When she came down, wow was she the most gorgeous girl I had ever seen. We wanted some pictures, so I put down my present that I was carrying for her and told her not to let me forget it. You see, it is tradition in my family to open the presents on Christmas Eve, so I had told Katie that she got to open one of her presents on Christmas Eve because of that. Of course, we left and the present lay sitting on the entry table, only problem was that it was the all important sterling silver bell. I mean, how do you propose without the words, “Will You Merry Me?”?
Calmly, very calmly, I devised a plan to run back to the house between the Christmas Eve service and our dinner reservations. I made up some line about how it wouldn’t be that big of a deal to open the present when we got back home, but, if we had time, we should go get it. The Christmas Eve service was wonderful, even if I couldn’t sing at all, and the getaway was seamless, everyone left right after it was over anyway. We made it back to the house and got the present. All of these things would have added up to me, but some people (Katie) still had no idea what was coming. I guess the shape of the box was wrong.
We made it, on time even, back to our dinner reservations. The waitress set our table off in a corner booth since I had told them what I was doing, but, she set our plates as far away from each other as possible. Obviously, the first thing I did was scoot to the inside, next to Katie. I realized that this might have been a mistake as soon as I started; for kneeing inside of a corner bench is rather difficult. But we ordered anyway, lobster and fillet mignon, with stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. It was wonderful. After we finished, I excused myself to use the “restroom” (an inventive scheme to undo my un-kneelable position). When I came back, I sat on the outside next to Katie.
The present became the focus of our attention, so she opened it. The silver bell had the “Steven & Katie’s 1st Christmas 2010” part facing up. She loved it and almost cried. After a few seconds, I asked if she was going to take it out and read the back. She did and said, “I can’t read it, there’s a thumbpr. . . .” (that is when I realized that she figured out what it said). I gave it a good second to sink in and then knelt down and pulled the ring out of my pocket and asked her if she would marry me. She didn’t respond. A million thoughts ran through my head, but I tried to remain calm. About 45 seconds later, which trust me, is an ETERNITY in that kind of a situation, she began making guttural sounds, “uhhhh,” which lead into an exuberant, “Yeah!” The tension in my body disappeared and my head dropped in relief. I sat down next to her and we began our engaged life. We enjoyed sitting there talking for quite a while longer before finally heading home.
On a side note, when I came back from the “bathroom”, the hostess jumped out in front of me and said, “So, when are you going to do it?” I responded, “Right now.” She said that she was going to follow me and watch from a distance, which leads me to the next thing that happened. The hostess came over crying and asked if she said yes or not. I believe that when I dropped my head in relief, it could have been taken . . . differently. So we told her yes, and she was very excited. Also during dinner, that same hostess came over and put reserved signs on the three tables surrounding us, muttering something about getting ready for Christmas. Of course that was a mere ploy, she was really just making sure that we had our space. All the employees were wonderful at that place. The girl who took the reservations, when I told them that I was going to propose, even came in to meet us on her day off. It was a swell evening. Well, that is my version of Our WHOLE Story. Katie’s version may be quite different, she is writing her’s without reading mine. For other fun stories, such as meeting Uncle Craig, see Meeting Her Family.