Thirty nine years ago, George and I got engaged on my parent’s porch. We were sitting on the porch when he took a small black box out of his pocket and literally slid it across the table to me. I was dressed in a cotton robe and my hair was dripping wet. These days, things are done a little differently.
Our son Donnie decided he was going to propose to his longtime girlfriend Michelle. Donnie is the morning show producer at 95.7 BEN FM, a radio station in Philly, and he is also the promotions director. This information will become relevant shortly. Stay with me.
BEN FM sponsors a big concert every summer. This year it was scheduled for July 13 at the BB&T Pavilion in Camden, and it featured Foreigner, Cheap Trick and Jason Bonham. Donnie decided that he would propose to Michelle at the concert. So the next step was the ring selection. He chose to go to Family and Co. Jewelers in Marlton. (Shout-out to Angelo, the owner!)
Donnie asked me and Michelle’s mother Pat to go with him to select the ring. This experience was going to be videoed and played at the concert.
I’m not going to bore you with the details of this endeavor, but suffice it to say it was an adventure: the drive down there, me driving and Pat and George clinging to the door handles for dear life (I think there was a scream or two) as I navigated Route 70, not knowing the exact location of the jewelry store.
I remember a U-turn in the middle of some (fairly busy) road, Pat gesturing to a few drivers that got in my way and me almost taking out a car and my son while trying to park in the lot. There were definitely screams at that juncture. But the point is, we got there in one piece.
Angelo Breaux, the owner of Family and Co. Jewelers, helped Donnie design a beautiful ring, with Pat and me looking on. My husband George was the videographer. (I kept forgetting we were being videoed. My mind wandered to daydreams of the actual wedding and how I was going to lose 50 pounds and obtain an eye lift beforehand. And what am I going to wear?? Hair up, or hair down?) Anyway, the ring was selected, accompanied by tears from me and Pat.
Donnie entrusted me and George with bringing the ring to the concert. The night before the concert, he texted me, “Don’t forget the ring.” My text back: “What ring?” I couldn’t resist. My friend Kim said I should have texted him a picture of me wearing it at Shop-Rite.
I had the ring in my purse, which I kept clutched to me like it had the nuclear codes in it. I had to surreptitiously passed it off to Donnie before he went on stage, which I did without incident, miraculously.
I had nightmare visions of me getting my purse stolen, or our car breaking down on the way to the concert and having to jog the rest of the way, or the ring just vanishing into thin air with no earthly reason how, so passing it off to him was a HUGE relief.
So George, me, Pat, Michelle’s dad Phil, her aunt Diane, our son Georgie and his girlfriend Marisa sat in the pavilion, sweating (it was, like, 175 degrees that night), staring at the stage and waiting for the big moment.
When it came, I tried to video it and simultaneously watch Donnie and Michelle, but I forgot to hit the video button on my phone. So I saw the actual moment with only one eye. Luckily, there are about 10 videoed versions on Facebook, so I can view it with both eyes!
Now, I guess our family’s new motto is, “go big or go home.” Proposing in front of a crowd of 10,000 people is pretty big. It’s a lot different than George’s proposal to me, which, come to think of it, I do NOT remember him actually asking the question, “Will you marry me?” And I do not remember saying yes. Hmmm. Methinks a do-over is in order.