Monday, May 7, 2012

The Proposal

The mariachi music floated out over the water, the heady syncopated rhythm of the guitarron reverberating in my spine. The violin danced a musical frenzy above the other instruments as the song came to a finish with the singer lowering his sombrero to his chest with a flourish. Diners applauded the musicians as we floated past in our colorful riverboat on the San Antonio River.

Soft twinkle lights entwined through the branches gently illuminated the ancient cypress trees lining both banks, and nestled in between were small restaurants crowded with dreamy eyed diners.

The smells were just as exotic, with scents from nearby honeysuckle and other blooming vines mingled with the aroma of sizzling meat and steaming rice and beans.

The music and romantic ambiance of the Riverwalk made me wistful for my husband. I thought of the two full days left of my conference and wished I were home or he was here. A flock of seven little ducklings glided after their regal mom while they swam near our boat. The guide/ driver intoned more historical facts about the Spanish colonial buildings we were passing while the dark river water delicately lapped against the sides of the boat.

"I'm not doing it again, " my friend said, startling me from my reverie.

"Ummm, I'm sorry, what won't you do again?" I asked. I was glad we'd decided to come on the river boat tour with several other friends, although I was really wanting to be home.

"Marry again! I see you're all starry eyed there, and I know you're thinking about your husband, but this romantic stuff all around us just makes me realize I have given up on marriage; closed the door forever," she said as she shook her head.

"Oh, come on. If the right man came along, don't you think you'd want to try it again?" I prodded her. She'd had two very bad marriages to the wrong men. She was a former model and still attracted much male attention, although she rebuffed it all.

"Nope. I've been through too much to risk my heart again," she said emphatically. "I'll just live out my days single. Nothing could ever make me want to get married again."

Our boat slowed and the driver maneuvered it near a semi circle jetty of land surrounded by several large cypress trees that seemed to stretch all the way to the vibrant stars. "This is called Marriage Island, " he informed us. "They call it that because so many weddings take place here." My friend turned her head away and rolled her eyes.

I noticed a young couple just a few few feet away from the river bank on the patio between the trees adjacent to where we were idling. They talked face to face while our guide gave more information about the historical building behind us. The driver had just started to rev the engine to move along when the man dropped to one knee in front of the woman and clasped both her hands. He looked deeply in her eyes, a nervous smile rounding out the corners of his mouth.

All on the boat gasped as we realized what was happening right in front of us. The driver silenced his engine.

We couldn't hear the words he spoke, but we saw the tears come to her eyes and heard her squeal. She knelt beside him and hugged him so hard they almost toppled over. He rose to his feet and pulled her after him. She jumped in glee and shouted, "Yes! Yes! A million times, Yes!" They embraced and he wiped tears from his eyes.


All 42 people on our boat stood and applauded, whistled and cheered. The driver's pleas for everyone to please be seated were drowned out for a few minutes by the excited ruckus on board. Eventually we made our way down the river, canopied by those lovely trees and firefly- like lights, the proposal driving away anything else the driver tried to say.

My friend nudged me. 'Well, maybe I shouldn't say never..."


This is a not a good picture with the phone, but if you enlarge it, you can see the couple behind the blonde woman on the other side of the boat.

66 comments:

  1. So fun!! What is it about witnessing a marriage proposal? Even total strangers? What a great story.

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    1. Felt Family: I'm sure he neve4r planned for a river boat full of passengers to be witnessing his proposal, but it was a wonderful thing to see!

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  2. Yep, I can see them back there when I enlarge the pic. What a magical evening! Mood lighting, music, the water, the smells... it's a powerful combination, an aphrodisiac that puts people in a romantic mood and leads to proposals of one kind or another. The challenge is to keep that spirit alive when those elements are no longer present and you return to the daily grind. You and your husband have managed to do that. Your friend made the same mistake twice, picking two different men that were wrong for her and therefore was unable to sustain the relationship when the initial novelty wore off. We can only hope that the young couple just starting out together will keep it alive and go the distance. You have no idea how happy it makes me to know that a dear friend like you longs to be with her husband. You have something rare and wonderful, Shelly, and I know you will hold onto it.

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    1. Shady: Thank you for your swseet words, my friend. I do hope that couple is able to stay in it for the long run. All the magic of that evening won't mean anything if they don't run that race with perseverance.

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  3. Dear Shelly, . . . thanks for the suggestion to click on the photo. I saw the couple! Oh, I so enjoyed this well-written story of a romantic evening that had you longing for your husband and your friend longing for something also. But she just didn't know what exactly until all of you saw that young couple and realized that love renews itself over and over again in our world. How blessed we are. Peace.

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    1. Dee: Yes, what you spoke so well is exactly what I think she realized she shouldn't put such a final seal on things. And truly, we are all so blessed~

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  4. What a beautiful moment! I feel for your friend and hope some day she can find a husband who will love and appreciate her. I can understand why she feels the way she does, but you never know what the future holds. Now that she is older and wiser she may make a better choice.

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    1. Belle: It was so unexpected and romantic- I love that we all got to see it. I, too, hope she finds the right man.

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  5. What are those wonderful lyrics from that song in Casablanca: The world will always welcome lovers, as time goes by.....

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    1. Stephen: That would have been the perfect backdrop to the whole scene~

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  6. What a very special moment you witnessed there my friend, and I too hope that they have a long and happy life in front of them. I'm sure we can all understand how your friend feels if she was unlucky enough to have two men that were not right for her. They say that we find love when we are least expecting it. Let's hope that she finds someone who will love her as I'm sure she deserves. Beautiful writing in the post today. I was right there with you, with the wonderful descriptive phrases you used!

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    1. Thisisme: How I wish I could take all of you there with me. There's just something in the air there, that I don't feel anywhere else. Thank you!

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  7. Oh how sweet!! I'm sure the bride to be and her fiance will remember the proposal for years to come, through their (hopefully) long marriage to each other. That does sound like a romantic place to be; maybe some time you can go back with your hubby! Maybe it will be for the marriage of your friend :) (who knows :)

    betty

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    1. Betty: Yes, my husband and I love to go there, and will be once school is out. I, too, hope for a long and happy marriage for that couple- he's already read the book on how to be romantic!

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  8. Nice snapshot; the romantic ambience well-conveyed. Your acquaintance learned a valuable lesson. Put caution first, but never say never.

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  9. Dearest Shelly,
    Oh, what a sweet moment you have witnessed. It was really interesting to read the change of mood in you or comparison between before the proposal and after it!!!!
    And quite educational to read (again, haha) to read phrases like "unable to sustain the relationship when the initial novelty wore off" or "run that race with perseverance". I DO hope they share a long and happy life together♬♬♬
    And "Put caution first, but never say never"; wonderful words for your friend and I wish I could say like this in English p;)

    Love you always, xoxo Miyako*

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    1. orchid: Thank you, my dear friend~ yes, her mood changed considerably after seeing that beautiful proposal! These English idioms must seem so strange, and yet you always, always do such a wonderful job with them. Thank you for always hanging in there with my posts!

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  10. Hiya mate, Its good that you miss your hubby. No marriage is perfect because we aren't. I remember my daughter Femia, when she was being pursued by two brothers, both were Christian and both lovely.
    She said, "How will I know mum."
    What do you say?
    I said pray about it. She did and told me later that she asked the impossible of God... How?
    Well these young men lived a good distance from us and our home was not, on the way home from work for either of them. Her prayer was, That God would have one of them drive past our home and she would she them. THIS WOULD BE GODS CHOICE.
    Well! It happened, the elder brother, five years older than her drove past, she saw him from her bedroom window and stood in surprise just watching. He went down the road, turned around and drove back past again... They have been married now for twenty seven years and still strong in the Lord and happy together. Its not perfect, but God is with them. xx (She is the Hillsong photographer and he was Darlene's lead guitar.) They have three children. The eldest is a girl and she married as directed by the Lord also.

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    1. Crystal Mary: What a wonderful testimony! That is truly wonderful. My friend has been treated badly in her marriages, but I just have a sense the right man is out there for her. She's very active in her church and I keep thinking the right one will come forward there for her.

      Thank you for sharing- this is so inspirational. I love their connections with Hillsong, too! I have also almost finished reading your book! My defensive driving course has taken much of my spare time, but I am almost finished. I can't wait to read the ending- a terrific book!

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  11. Wow what a great, sweet moment you witnessed..........I know if I ever lost Tim I would never remarry not something I would be interested in doing.....

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    1. Jo-Anne: I feel the same way- this is my one and only marriage!

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    1. Annmarie Pipa: It was so very romantic!

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  13. I love how people's lives entwine at some of the most unusual moments. Very sweet!. . .I haven't been to San Antonio in a very long time. I could see it all in my memory as you described. Beautiful place.

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    1. Sweet Tea: To me, the Riverwalk in San Antonio is one of the most beautiful places in a city I know of- love it!

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  14. What an amazing encounter, and such a well told story! I was thrilled you had dropped by at my blog, and I love yours.

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    1. Jenny: Thank you! It was one of those things you see so rarely and I was thankful I got to see it.

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  15. What a vivid scene you describe here. And what a proposal!

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    1. Theresa: I'm sure that guy didn't plan on a whole boatload of people witnessing his big moment!

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  16. Ahh, romance. It makes my heart ache...

    Pearl

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    1. Pearl: Someone once said it is the most exquisite pain. I don't know if I fully understand that, but I get you.

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  17. I am so happy for you, Shelly, that you have a great hubby.
    I personally would clone my Brian if I could and spread him every where because he is one of those "guys" that are so much fun to be married too. It is not work at all. All joy...most of the time. Only when he does the guy thing and talks and talks and forgets that he has a wife sick of watching the two yr old at any event. rambling here.

    I am goosebumping all over after that story. I have seen a lot in my life but never a marriage proposal.

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    1. Christine: Good guys like our husbands really are out there, I keep telling my friend from this story. Ha! I had to laugh at the guy thing.

      I was so excited at seeing this proposal- I can't recall seeing another one (except my own).

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  18. What a great story! I have a friend like yours, and I wish I could find the perfect man for her. She is such a lovely person - sometimes life is not fair. I've always wanted to see the River Walk. My son and his wife are moving to Texas this summer, to Austin. So maybe we'll be able to make our way down to San Antonio. I, too, had a good conference, but was wishing for home the whole time.

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    1. Karen: Austin is only a little over an hour away from S.A., so I hope you get to go. There's no other place like it! And, like you, I feel there's no place like home.

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  19. What a moment to witness! I've never seen anything like that, only in the movies. :)

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    1. Lydia: I don't think I've ever seen another, either. It was SO exciting!

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  20. It is especiaLLy hard to watch one of your closest friends marry the "perfect" different person, twice, both times ending in disasters.

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    1. esb: You are so right- it's a tricky thing because you could lose your friend if they think you're criticizing the one they love-

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  21. Shelly...what a lovely story. I'm like you when I'm away from my sweetheart. I feel like the piece of me that makes my puzzle whole is not there. I always enjoy myself, mind you...but feel like it would have been an entirely different experience were he there.

    Sweet couple, I'm wishing them a lifetime of learning and growing in their love...
    Hugs~

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    1. Sush: Yes, like half of you is not there. I am the same- I enjoy myself, but am oh, so happy to get back home!

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  22. What a great story and San Antonio is one of my favorite places. Love the Riverwalk.

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    1. Crack You Whip: If we couldn't live where we live now, San Antonio would be the next choice!

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  23. Shelly, I've said it before and I'll say it again - you are an amazing storyteller! It's 6:30am here and reading this has been a wonderful, uplifting start to my day. Your words transported me to the scene you described and I felt like I was right there with you, watching it all happen before my eyes. I'm so happy for that couple and I hope your friend doesn't give up on love and romance. You and I are fortunate to have the types of husbands who we dream of being with when we're away from them and I hope your friend finds one like that for her. I wish that for all my single girlfriends. I wish I could gift that kind of love to everyone. Your story has really moved my heart this morning. Thank you! :)

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    1. Jenn: Thank you for your kind words! I keep thinking about that, and how special it was for all of us who got to see it. I really do wish that kind of love to my friend, too. I truly hope she finds it. Hope your day is great!

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  24. What a sweet, touching post! I love your stories, Shelly! The images are so vivid in your words as well as your pictures. I felt I was on the river with you and could hear and feel your friend's sadness and bitterness and the sweetness and hope of new love. Thanks for the day-brightener!

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    1. Dr. Kathy: Thank you! I am so happy I got to see that unfold right in front of us- it was amazing! And yes, I hope my friend hasn't given up all hope. That scene was very inspirational for her~

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  25. Awww- Very touching Shelly. Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

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  26. The language is so visually captivating that it makes me want to see it in person. Look what can happen when people work together to create a loving space. Why isn't the rest of the world set up for romance and love?

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    1. Jenny: San Antonio has really taken this idea and run with it, creating this atmosphere of old time romance, while still keeping a lot of the family feel, too. I hope you and Richard do get to see it one day- it's a place I never get tired of!

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  27. This brought tears to MY eyes. Just reading about a marriage proposal makes me misty. It is just one of the most beautiful, important experiences in the life of any human being. We all relate to it.

    You are such a lovely writer. I really enjoyed this post.

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    1. Crystal: Thank you! I love to write about lovely things like...love! I agree with you- a proposal is one of the most special moments in life.

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  28. That's so romantic. I'm so glad that I have a precious love in my life. I can't imagin the challenges of being single.

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    1. Simone: Nor could I. It's a great blessing in life to have the right person united with you~

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  29. What a wonderfully romantic, heartwarming story, Shelly. And how nice that you were able to witness the young couple's very special moment.

    I must tell you that you have a real gift for writing. Your first paragraph painted a fabulous visual for me and really captured my attention. :)

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    1. Super Earthling: Thank you for your kind words. I love stories about love, and this was such an exciting thing that we got to witness.

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  30. Such a sweet and inspiring story ... and the special timing of the event right after your friend had made the "never again" comment. This brought to mind a recent chance meeting with an older lady at my mother-in-law's assisted living facility. She spoke to me in the hall and told me she had outlived three husbands! Later in the conversation I asked her if she had anything special planned that evening. She told me she was going to visit a "friend" who had sufferered a recent mild heart attack. Later she went on to describe this man and before I knew it, she was just like a giddy sixteen year old girl in love. It was exciting for me to see her so excited as she talked about her "friend". This woman must have been in her eighties. She hugged me twice before we parted. By the way, her "friend" is my mother-in-law's next door neighbor and is a famous man. Sometime I would like to write about him. Here I am out of control with my comment but it's good to know one can continue to have hope and fall in love at any age. Thank you, Shelly, for sharing your writing talent with the world! ♥

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    1. Cindy: How wonderful she is still looking for love at that age, and getting giddy over it. I love it! Yes, I hope my friend will not give up. She really had a couple of doozies for the first two. I hope the third time will be the Prince Charming for her.

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  31. Awww!! I loved that. You are taking me back to my proposal and nights spent walking with my husband along the Riverwalk. What a sweet story. I hope your friend finds true love soon!

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    1. Kelley: I always associate the Riverwalk with being with my husband, too. My friend is actually the one who took that picture of the couple. I told her maybe, just maybe, that could be her there before too long.

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    1. Laurel's Quill: I hadn't thought of it like that- I'll be sure and tell her!

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  33. I'm a total cynic - until I see something like that! Never say never is a great motto!!!

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    1. Red Nomad OZ: It just takes one thing like that to melt it away~

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