My aunt and uncle were married on December 21st thirty years ago, choosing the date close to my grandparents' anniversary with great intention.
25 years ago tonight Joel Keith threw a little white box across his living room and told me to put it on. We were going to see Milt and Kay Kalsu and their kids and they knew we were getting married. I caught the box, held it in my hands, and with his mother looking over my shoulder - I tossed it back to him and replied, "A girl likes to be asked...."
My kids love this story. They love their daddy's incredulous innocence and his witty lines about that night.
A few years ago it occurred to me that he never did ask. In June of 1989, he traveled to Branson, Missouri to visit me while I worked at Kanakuk. We spent twenty four hours exploring the town, getting danced off the dance floor by couples forty years our seniors, enjoying Silver Dollar City and playing catch down by the river. While we were enjoying the cool breeze off the water on that steamy sunny day, Joey saw an orange plastic circle laying among the rocks. It was the left over ring from the top of an orange drink. We had only been dating for a few months but that didn't stop him from reaching down, picking up the orange plastic circle, and placing it on my left ring finger. I giggled and kissed him, but he confidently, quietly offered the following statement, "You're going to marry me."
I didn't remind the boys tonight. I don't know if they remember or not. I have watched sadness come and go across each of them these last few days and I just didn't want the sarcastic dialogue to begin with one voice short.
Both memories are happy ones.
I am grateful that my grandparents taught us how to love so intently, that my aunt and uncle fight so tenaciously to protect our family time, and that my mother shared them all with me.