I felt a strange sensation this morning - a shiver. It's been a long time since I've been chilly. It's been such a hot summer. But there is a nip of fall in the air at times. The first gaggle of geese flew overhead the other evening, with their raucous honking hailing the promise of autumn. We will undoubtedly have our share of Indian Summer days yet, but there is hope.
I love autumn. My birthday is in the autumn. I loved the beginning of school each year in autumn. I love the colors. I became engaged in the autumn.
The owners of our local roller-skating rink announced this week that they are retiring from the skating business. They have not been able to find a buyer. They have hosted millions of elementary kids over the years for fund-raisers for their neighborhood schools. I don't have any fond memories of this place, but my children enjoyed their times there.
I heard this week also that the rink in the neighboring town closed sometime back. I did not realize it. It was the only rink close by for many years before ours opened. Two major events occurred at this rink. My pastor dad broke his leg and was in a cast for six months while skating with the youth of our church at this rink. I became engaged at this rink.
I love my romance story, and will someday share more. But this is about the engagement. DC and I had gone together for only a few weeks when we began to talk about marriage and actually picked out our rings. We were 25 and 30 and had been through several relationships each, and knew what we were looking for in a life partner. We chose a diamond with a microscopic flaw to remind each other that neither of us is perfect. We chose a beautiful setting, and for some reason the diamond had to travel to Kansas City to be mounted. Don't ask me why!
One autumn Saturday I went shopping for fabric and came upon the perfect material for my wedding dress. I stopped by DC's apartment and told him we needed to tell our parents we were getting married, because the fabric was only going to be on sale until Monday. I didn't really think I should buy my wedding dress material before my mom knew I was getting married! DC was watching a football game and seemed to be a bit more concerned with it than with my quandary. Little did I know.
We were going skating that evening with his sister and her husband. I was living in a basement apartment in my folks' parsonage at the time. DC came to pick me up and we went to the neighboring town for our skating date. I am a clutz, plain and simple. I am not a good skater. But I did many things for this guy that I wouldn't do for anyone else.
We were having a good time, and I wasn't doing too badly. The lights went down, the younger kids were told to clear the floor for the adult skate. The romantic song, "Ebb Tide" came on. We were enjoying ourselves and each other. I wasn't falling down! DC began to ask me very interesting questions about what I would do if we were married. Some of these questions would seem quite old-fashioned and inappropriate to the younger generation, I am sure. They didn't seem so to me. I answered them honestly. We were heading around a curve on the skating floor when he brought a little box from his pocket and showed it to me. He proposed right there in the middle of the skating rink as the beautiful romantic song played to lowered lights. I was in such shock that I lost all of my skating ability and ran right into the wall! Fortunately, I didn't break my leg as my dad had, and didn't even fall down and make a spectacle of myself.
As the story unfolded, shortly after I left DC's apartment that day, with his assurance that we would soon tell our parents, he received a phone call from the jeweler. The ring was in. I had gone back to the fabric store and purchased the beautiful velvet material and pattern for my dress. We had decided upon a right-after-Christmas wedding, since everyone would be here for Christmas and likely would not be able to turn around and come back for a spring wedding.
He rushed to the city north of us to pick up the ring. As I was preparing for our date in the basement apartment, he had come early to get my dad's blessing on our engagement - an old-fashioned and thoroughly wonderful custom, as far as I'm concerned.
I can't remember if I've ever skated since that time. Sometime I'll have to write about the volleyball game where we first met! But for almost thirty-four years I've enjoyed married life with this man, who still enjoys surprising me.