Way back in 1968, a thin, blonde, blue-eyed man asked a hippy, brunette, green-eyed woman to marry him, for the third time. This time, she said yes. Phew! The man was the hubs, better known as “Bake,” and the woman was, you guessed it, me.
I had had this principal in high school, Mr. Carson Wilcox, of whom I was terrified. He must have been ten feet tall, and he definitely had the brow ridges of a neanderthal. Bushy black eyebrows and jet black hair. I turned and hurried the other way every time I saw him coming down one of the hallways of Mariposa High. It was rumored he had been a wrestler before he went into education.
As life will do you, he became my Sunday school teacher. Correct, I had to sit within ten feet of him every Sunday. I found out on those Sundays that under that screechingly fearsome exterior beat a heart of compassion. He played devil’s advocate every Sunday to help us strengthen our faith in Jesus.
I bring Mr. Wilcox up because he and his wife offered to throw an engagement party for us. And we accepted. So the plan was that on the day of the party I would meet Bake at Judd’s Jewelers in Merced, where we had found my rings. We had looked in what seemed like every jewelry store in three counties. The ring I chose, and love to this day has three gold leaves, with the diamond set like a flower at the top of them. I love gardening, nature, the outdoors, and it spoke to me. Loved it then. Love it now.
But I digress. I drove down to Merced on the appointed day to meet Bake at the bus station. But he wasn’t there. so I thought maybe he’d walked over to Judd’s. But, he wasn’t there. So I asked Mr. Judd if he’d seen him, giving the above description. Nope, hadn’t seen him. So I drove back to the bus station, thinking I’d missed him. Searched all over among the benches and travellers. No Bake. Drove back to Judd’s, and asked again. This time, Mr. Judd said, “Oh yeah, a young man did come in here. He left this suitcase.”
About that time, the bell on the door rings, and Bakes slows from a dead run to a screeching halt. With a Mickey Mouse grin I have come to recognize as he’s been up to something, he said, “I lost track of time, sorry.”
“Where were you?”
He hesitated. … “Playing pool down on the corner.” He pointed in the direction he had come. We got the rings and headed for Mariposa.
Okay, so I got over it, we had a wonderful engagement party and a year later, a little earlier than we had planned, in the midst of his enlistment because of Vietnam, we got married. Two weeks later he was in boot camp. At Christmastime that year, I lost the ring. I looked everywhere. Turned out it had fallen off in the backseat of the car when I was bringing home a Christmas tree. I got it sized.
You can kind of see my new diamond in this pic of our 50th anniversary party.
Time passes, lots of time, like 40 years. Bake decides the ring needs a new diamond. He wants to give me a marquis diamond for our anniversary. So we take out the old diamond and put in the new. I don’t see any point in having a daimond laying around in my jewelry box, so I give the original to Maryann, my oldest daughter.
More time passes, ten years, and this year, 2019, the year of our 50th anniversary, Maryann’s oldest son, Ethan, proposes to the love of his life Elena.
He needs a diamond, and there just happens to be one. This diamond is the symbol of true, lifelong love, and we’re delighted that our grandson put it in the engagement ring he gave his fiance just the other day when he had graduated from Modesto Junior College. Who knows where it may go from here.