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The Proposal (cont.)
As we walked through the tikki torches which Johnny had so generously set up, I could see Amy's jewelry and her gold dress sparkle in the light of the open flames. The best was yet to come.
I stepped into the dining room. Amy and I were the only expected guests that night. Johnny had made special arrangements for their chef and a waitress to prepare and serve us dinner. Everywhere we turned, there were dozens of small, votive candles, lining the rustic mantelpiece above the roaring fire below and strategically placed throughout the dining room on a number of tables.
Without a doubt though, the piece de resistance, was the string quartet, all dressed in black tie, and playing a variety of harmonious romantic songs and classical selections with gusto. They set the perfect mood for the perfect evening.
When Amy stepped into the dining room, she burst into tears, burying her face in her hands, totally overwhelmed by it all. Her tears prompted my tears.
"Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh. It's beautiful," she said through sobs.
Then I noticed what had just caught her eye; the prominent path of red rose petals leading to the very table where we had met for the very first time.
It was decorated with a white tablecloth, the red vase filled with the three dozen white roses I had brought the night before and a medium-sized plate in the middle with three lit, white pillar candles of different heights nestled in more red rose petals.
This would be a Valentine's Day date that Amy would never forget. Needless to say, the dining room had quite a different ambience than I remembered during our first encounter years before.
After the waitress brought out some special salads, made from Amy's favorite ingredients which I had brought the night before like hearts of palm, red onion, and cranberries, I wanted to pray over our meal.
We were both sitting on the same side of the table, looking into the room with our back to the wall. That's how we often eat at restaurants, preferring to be next to each other.
So when I prayed, it was rather easy to hold her hand. I was so overwhelmed with joy, that I started crying through my prayer.
"Heavenly Father, I thank you for this wonderful evening, for bringing Amy back into my life in a clear and unmistakable way," I prayed as my lip quivered, "and for your Son who died on a cross for our sins. Amen."
"Amen," echoed Amy.
I had invited the photographer to capture every moment. I wanted to look back on this day, remembering it not only in my mind's eye, but by reviewing the pictures themselves with my future children and grandchildren. The picture of this moment shows my lower lip quivering as our heads are bowed.
After the waitress had brought our main course, steak, potatoes and green beans, I brought out a unique memento.
Before I left Maryland for Dallas, my mother had taken me aside and given me a bottle of wine. Not just any bottle of wine, mind you. Ten years beforehand, my parents had visited the Holy Land, and had purchased a bottle of wine sold in Cana, the location of Jesus' first miracle where He turned the water into wine at the wedding.
After Mom heard me indicate that I planned to ask for Amy's hand in marriage, she said, with a smile on her face, "Adam, I've held this special bottle of wine for you over this last decade so that when you chose your bride you could both drink from this special wine on the night of your engagement or on your wedding day itself."
I loved the sentimentality and the thoughtfulness.
I told Amy about the significance of this particular bottle of wine and served her some as well as myself. The string quartet sounded simply marvelous. They created irreplaceable ambience to be sure.
Then, between dinner and dessert, I decided that this was the right moment. On the one hand, it certainly wasn't a surprise. I had already assured her parents, in Amy's presence, that I would put a ring on her finger by February 28th, 2006. We had spent several weekends searching high and lo for the perfect ring that met all of her specifications.
To be sure, between the helicopter ride, the limousine, the string quartet, and the nostalgic trip down memory lane at both the restaurant of our first date and the Christian camp where we first met, there were enough clues to sink a battleship.
On the other hand, this was still IT! I mean, this would be the first and last time I ever proposed to anyone. So, even though, it was not a "surprise" in the traditional sense, it was nonetheless momentous.
I got down on one knee in front of Amy. Her eyes were still teary from crying with me during the prayer. I took her hand in mine.
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