It was my junior year in college right before my last sorority spring formal dance. (I was a big geek and graduated early.) We had talked about getting married and I suspected he'd already bought me a ring, but I wasn't sure. I kept hoping he'd ask me to marry him before the dance so I could have a candlelight ceremony and announce our engagement. Dan was living in Louisville, Kentucky (four hour drive away) and couldn't get away from work to be my date. It was the grand opening of his store (back then he worked for Camelot Music). He arranged for a friend of mine from high school to escort me so I wouldn't have to go alone.
He used to call me every night at 10:00 pm when the rates went down, (this was back in the Dark Ages before cell phones, email, and IM) but all that week leading up to the formal he was calling earlier. When I'd answer he'd say, "Oh, I just couldn't wait 'til tonight to tell you I love you," but really he was trying to get my roommate to answer the phone. He finally got to talk to her instead of me and worked out all the details with her and the president of the sorority. I knew nothing!
Finally the big night arrived and I was miserable. My date was NOT DAN (he was a nice guy, but it just wasn't the same without the love of my life) and I was in the Ladies' Room crying and otherwise feeling sorry for myself. My roommate and two friends came to retrieve me and said, "Come on, it's time to start the music but they're having some problems with the DJ, so we need you to sing a few songs first." (I used to sing at all of our banquets and other events.) So, they pulled me out into the hotel's ballroom, to the middle of the dance floor, where there was a chair facing all two hundred people present. I froze and looked at my roommate. "What's going on?" I whispered. "I don't sit down when I sing! I don't have anything prepared. I can't possibly-"
Then the DJ's voice came over the PA system. "Are you Teble Ann?" he asked me. I just gulped and nodded. "Well, we've got a little surprise for you. You might want to sit down."
At this point the room began to spin. I saw a little red light just off the dance floor and realized that my "date" had a video camera trained right at me. The photographer who took candid still photos at all our events (before digital cameras!! See, I'm OLD!) was frantically reloading fresh film in his camera. Then I could hear my love's voice on the PA singing, "To lead a better life, I need my love to be here..." I looked all around for him but couldn't see him. He was singing the Beatles song "Here, There, and Everywhere" but I didn't know if he was actually there or if he'd sent a tape to cheer me up or something. I sank into the chair while my stomach sank to my feet. It was very weird! Just then my roommate walked up to me and handed me a dozen long-stem red roses in a box (IN A BOX! Just like on the soaps!). I said, "Is he really here or is that just a tape?" The sneaky broad replied, "I don't know; I guess we'll just have to wait and see. Why don't you read the card?" Then she had the nerve to smile and wave her little fingers at me as she backed away.
I pulled the card out with shaking fingers. It said, "I love you Bunny. Will you marry me?" I know, cheesy nickname (long story), but stay with me.
Just then the song ended and all two hundred people politely clapped, still not sure what was going on. Then I heard a huge intake of air as all 200 of them gasped. I turned around to see what had caught their attention and saw my love walk out in a tuxedo. (He'd been hiding behind the DJ's stand with his guitar.) I immediately jumped up to run to him, dumping the roses off my lap in the process. I tried to hug him, but he directed me back to the chair, saying, "Sit back down." Dummy me, I didn't understand, didn't move. "Sit back down," he said again, "I have to ask you something." Okay, then the light went on in my head. I obediently sat and he kneeled (knelt?) before me and took my hand.
He said, "I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Please say you'll make me the happiest man in the world and marry me."
I've never been at a loss for words, but I couldn't speak. I giggled and nodded instead. He pulled out this diamond (exactly what I wanted: small, not too showy, marquise cut, perfect) and tried to put it on my finger, but I'd worn these really long white gloves that came up to my elbow with big funky costume rings over them. I couldn't get the glove off! Everyone laughed while I struggled, then I finally ripped the fake rings and the glove off and tossed it all behind me over my head. He put the ring on my finger and kissed me.
That was April 10, 1990 and we're still cheesy and goofy in love. And today we're celebrating our SEVENTEENTH wedding anniversary.
See? Told you I'm old. But you know what? He's four years OLDER! Yet another reason to love him.