Three years ago tonight, I proposed to the love of my life, Sheila, with the city that we love in the background.
To be honest, I don’t completely remember exactly how I selected what I would do for the proposal. I do know, though, that I gave away a great proposal idea before Sheila and me were even dating! What can I say…I needed something to reel her in! I’ll never forget it—she had asked me to come along to see an improv performance, and I was thrilled because I liked her at the time but I was not sure if she felt the same way. Anyhow, we were eating dinner afterwards at Siam Café and somehow the topic of proposals came up. I said that I thought a great proposal idea would be to take my girl out in a rowboat on a lake on a nice, moonlit night and slip a bottle containing the engagement ring and a note asking her to marry me into the water while she wasn’t looking and then point it out to her and have her open it. I can just imagine if the bottle wasn’t fully sealed or if there were some waves on the water…
It took me a LONG time to find the ring; I went with at least 4 different people at various points to look at different rings over the span of several months and went to 3 different malls! I almost bought one early on in the search process that completely blew me away, but Mike and the store staff dissuaded me from doing so; good thing, because Sheila hated it when she later saw it! Anyhow, I finally found the right one at a great price at Fred Meyer Jewelers at Beachwood Mall—guys who are about to get engaged, don’t stop reading and run there to buy your girl a ring, because it’s sadly now closed. I had a feeling that she would like the ring, and this was confirmed a day or so before the proposal when I stumbled upon a recent drawing in one of her notebooks that had a sketch of pretty much the exact same ring!
Eventually, I decided to make a fairy tale storybook detailing our relationship—we called each other Prince and Princess from pretty early on in the relationship, and we still do—with the ending leading into my marriage proposal. Throwing all caution to the wind, I decided to make the book on my own by hand. I have no idea what I was thinking, given that I am not very artistic at all and had no idea or sample to use as a guide! I decided to give her the storybook at Voinovich Park in downtown Cleveland, where we had gone on a Friday night when we first started dating and wound up staying until 3:30 A.M. or so, talking and getting to know each other better while admiring the skyline and marveling in everything that had happened between us. I also decided to take her to dinner at Pier W beforehand.
On the day of the proposal itself, I awoke to a steady pouring rain. Needless to say, this was pretty disconcerting, and when I went to purchase all of the supplies needed for the proposal and encountered snow, I felt awful. However, God answered my and many other people’s prayers and cleared up the weather by the evening! There wasn't a drop of rain in the sky and although it was windy, it wouldn't have been a fall evening on the shores of Lake Erie without some wind! Laura and Ken set up a picnic with the storybook, chocolates, champagne, flowers, and a stereo playing “All I Ask of You” from The Phantom of the Opera for us at Voinovich Park while we were dining. Both of us were pretty surprised when we finally got to Voinovich Park and I told Sheila to go and look to see what was on a blanket on the grass—Sheila was surprised at what I had planned, and I was surprised that everything had gone off so perfectly without any complications! Anyhow, Sheila read through the fairy tale storybook and then I stumbled through a proposal speech. Much to my joy, Sheila jumped up in the air and screamed “Yes!” several times! We then enjoyed champagne and basked in the happiness of the moment before returning to Bellfield to celebrate with our friends. God was indeed good to us that night, and still continues to be good to us many years later!