So, I never really did it right the first time.
I know what you’re thinking… GP? The hopeless romantic? The guy who just oozes public displays of affection and memorizes poetry by Yeats? That guy never got down on one knee to propose to his wife!?!?!
Well… I didn’t. And, I stink at PDA and wouldn’t know Yeats from Jagger… but there is always hope.
So, I came up with a plan.
Step One: Tell wife she is cut off from all of my online banking and shopping activity.
Step Two: Find the perfect ring. Emerald… cause we will be in the Emerald Isle. (Well, I guess I am “kinda” romantic.)
Step Three: Wait for the perfect moment and take a knee.
Well, steps one and two were cake. The third, however, not so easy.
I knew the Cliffs of Moher would be the best place because they are so stinking breathtaking! I mean… you walk up to this:
It doesn’t get better than that! But, then there was the walking. You see, you have to walk up steps and ramps to get on top of these beasts. We came to a dead end. We have to choose right or left. Both sides are cliffs. We toss the imaginary coin.
We went right.
“Right” led us to a beautiful watchtower and a TON of people.
They were everywhere. If people were bad mullets, this would have been a Whitesnake concert. It was infested. People were taking photos and walking with food and kids and coffees and no idea where they were going except up and out along the cliff’s edge and edging out my hopes of ever unloading this ring which was getting heavy in my backpack.
I shuffled around waiting. More people came. I spoke… “Uh, let’s go that way.”
It was the exact opposite direction that we had already gone. But, it was beautiful…. so it was fairly easy to talk her into it.
We begin down the trail which it nice and paved and doesn’t draw the same kind of attention as the watchtower did. But, the nice paved trail leads to a dirt one as we pass by a sign that looks like this:
Uh… yeah. Let me zoom on that if you didn’t catch it.
This might as well be a skull and cross bones saying, “Cross this sign and YOU MAY DIE.” But, it doesn’t seem to stop the slow trickle people headed that way… so like a sheep led to the shearers, I keep calm and carry on. (Witty British connection there if you didn’t catch it.)
We walk. I start thinking of things to say. My palms sweat. I don’t know if it is my nerves about the ring or the 750 ft. death plummet to my immediate right. I walk.
“So… uh. We sure do some pretty crazy things don’t we?”
I see the PERFECT spot coming up. I am going to time this moment perfectly. There is no turning back.
She replies, “Yes”. She grabs my hand a little tighter. This is going to be great! and then I hear…
“BLOODY HELL!” A British teen jumps off a rock about 25 meters ahead of us. (Did you pick up on my use of meters? Yes, it had been a week and I had abandoned use of trivial things like inches or miles.) “You’re gonna push me out there.” The teen yells to an equally loud and annoying friend while motioning to the edge and the final plunge towards eternity.
I think how quiet it could become it they get a little closer to the edge. I shake out of it. I smile and offer my patented “courtesy laugh”. They continue to be loud and obnoxious, but they are headed towards us so I know it’s only a matter of time before they pass. I speak.
“Let’s stop and enjoy the view.”
I look out over the water choke back vomit which enters my throat as a putrid smell fills my nostrils and envelopes me. I look behind me. It’s a field covered in a liquid brown fluid. I remember the words of the bus driver from yesterday, “Eh. This is the season where we fertilize the fields for planting.”
Of course it is. Fertilizer. That season.
My wife tries to smile through a wrinkled nose. I know it’s only a matter of time before she retreats. I look at her kindly, pointing up ahead and say, “Let’s see the view from up there.” She obliges and we walk.
We reach a part where there is more land to grip my body on one knee. So, I speak… “Let’s get a picture.” I look left. I look right. The trail is clear.
My wife is turned away looking back down the trail towards the poop stench probably thinking, “How can we get back to the car without traveling by that field again.” I pop open the box, drop my backpack, turn towards her as I lower myself to one knee. I speak, choking back tears… “I don’t have many regrets, but always regretted not doing this the right way. Would you marry me… again?”
And then I heard the words that I had longed to hear…
“BLOODY HELL!” as a British teen jumped off a rock above my head.
No, I’m just kidding. I heard the words… “Yes. Of course I would”. I stand and we do what any good American couple would do at a time like this. We kiss and then take a “selfie” of course.
So, there you have it. There is a lot to learn for me from this day.
Every day is a gift and sometimes things aren’t going to go the way you want. We make our plans and things don’t always work out that way. But, don’t let those moments stop you from pressing forward. Whether it’s a crowd of mullets or the stench of manure getting stuck in your nose hairs… don’t stop. Keep going. Because… the journey is the destination. So many, stop too soon.
Embrace the people in your life who mean the most. Don’t live in regrets from what you ‘wish you would have done’. Go out and do it today. Create TODAY the kind of TOMORROW that you want to live in.
I leave you with this simple Irish blessing.
“May you both live as long as you want and never want as long as you live”.