Some people are lucky in love. Some people aren’t. Some people have their romantic fantasies come true. Others of us watch it on the screen or read about it in books and know it will never happen to us.
Do I really have to tell you which group I belong to? Let me just say that the first love of my life left me for someone named Pedro. My engagement to that man was the highpoint of my romantic life. He proposed by looking at me one day while we were at a party and saying, “Well, I always figured we’d end up together so what do you think?” It’s been downhill ever since.
Recently, a dear friend called to say that her daughter had gotten engaged. I wish this young lady every happiness in the world. She is one of the brightest, most beautiful and sparkling young ladies that it is my privilege to know. But then, my friend Leslie has raised three daughters who all fit that description. The one thing different with Jenny is that Jenny’s fantasies have a disgusting propensity for coming true. And that means that no matter how old I get, I can’t help the fact that the little green-eyed monster rears his ugly head every once in a while when I contemplate Jenny’s life.
Her boyfriend – now fianc� – fortuitously bears the name Bob, the same name as Leslie’s other son-in law. As we get older, that stuff gets more important. Leslie will now only have to remember one name for all her current sons-in-law. I think she should try to convince her last daughter’s boyfriend to change his name to Bob so that remembering his name will never be a problem. For some reason, Leslie doesn’t think he will be amenable to the situation. Perhaps as he ages and realizes how hard it is to keep the names of boyfriends, fianc�s, and husbands straight when you have multiple children in a family, he will look more gently on the suggestion.
But back to Bob and Jenny. Bob and Jenny live in different states. Bob surprised Jenny by showing up one weekend when she wasn’t expecting him. He took her to dinner. While they were at dinner, he had prearranged for a friend of Jenny’s to go back to her house and set up dessert with candles and wine. When they arrived home, they went out on the balcony where he proposed. As he proposed, the nearby city set off fireworks. He offered her a ring he hand carved for her to wear till she could pick the ring she wanted while these fireworks played out in the sky above them.
But Jenny wasn’t going to be swept off her feet by romance, wine, flowers and fireworks. She told Bob she needed a day to think about it. And then the next morning she spelled out her acceptance in blueberries on top of yogurt.
I will pause here now for those of you still gagging at the idea of the fireworks going off as the proposal was being made. And we will also give a moment for all of us out there who are just one step past the prime of romance and who, on hearing about the blueberries on yogurt, thought, “I’d have made pancakes.” I’m not saying that romance is over for me. I’m just saying if there’s one lesson I’ve learned in life it’s that if someone were to propose to me while fireworks were exploding in the background, sure as god made little green apples, one of those fireworks would strike the porch we were standing on and set it on fire.
The closest one of my romantic fantasies ever came to being true, I was alone in a room watching An Affair to Remember and suddenly I had an out of body experience in which Cary Grant was actually talking to me as I sat crippled but elegantly dressed and beautifully coiffed on my couch. After that, in searching for the top ten romantic moments in my life, we’d have to drop down to the time my friend Sam cracked open a raw caribou leg while we were boating down the Meade River and gave me first crack at the marrow. You can see where fantasy and reality always had a bit of a Grand Canyon gap in my life.
So once again let me say that I am thrilled for my friend Jenny. And I hope she and Bob have a million wonderful years together in which they always have fireworks exploding in the sky behind them. Then again, would it really be asking too much if just once god made Sam stop the boat before offering the marrow so I wouldn’t get seasick while I was trying to pretend I was living a fantasy?