From the monthly archives: November 2010

For my 30th birthday present, I asked Chris to guest lecture to the freshman chemistry class I was teaching at Eureka College.  He agreed to speak about his undergraduate research in bioremediation.  The focus of his presentation was a pollutant that is particularly persistent in the environment because of its very stable chemical structure, which conveniently is in the shape of a ring.

I was enjoying listening, instead of lecturing, and the students were very interested in the subject also!  Unexpectedly, Chris asked me to help him demonstrate a point to the class.  I was slightly confused by this sudden invitation, as he had not told me that I would be a part of the presentation in any way.  I went to the front of the classroom, confused but unsuspecting.

Again, Chris emphasized that the pollutant is stable because of its carbon ring structure.  He extended one hand toward me, turned to the class, and said, “So, if Dr. Jones and I wanted to form a very strong, permanent bond, we would need some carbon, and a ring.”  (For those who are not science nerds, a diamond is made from carbon that has been exposed to intense pressure and heat.)

At that moment, he produced a diamond ring, got down on one knee, turned back to me, and said, “Dr. Jones, will you marry me?”

The class, shocked, was silent as I said yes, and then erupted in giggles and applause.  It was the perfect proposal, from one nerd to another.

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The night of our two-year anniversary, dressed in his best suit, Jeff slipped the album we’d listened to on our first date into the car’s CD player. As we listened to the music, I thought back to when we’d first met. As a member of a Washington, DC Scrabble group, I had been about to start a game when my eye was caught by a handsome young man walking toward me. Without hesitation, he hurried over and asked if he could join us. I said, “No.” Luckily, he knew I was being playful, and after pretending to walk away, he returned to join the game.

Two games later, after having been beaten twice by the third player at the table, we called it a night. Jeff walked me back to the metro station where I needed to catch my train, even though a different station would have been easier for him.

That night, I waited anxiously by my computer, certain Jeff would contact me via the Scrabble-group’s Web site. If he didn’t, I would wait till the next day and send him an email. Just as I was about to give up, the long-awaited message arrived. Jeff cleverly suggested we play a rematch Scrabble game: loser buys dinner.

On the afternoon of the Scrabble rematch, I headed to his apartment. He put on a CD as we began our game. When it came to the third track, “Lucky,” by Jason Mraz and Colbie Caillat, I wondered if one day that song would be about us. I lost the game by a few points and treated Jeff to a nice dinner.

Now, as we approached the restaurant for dinner two years later, “Lucky” played, and I knew the words were true. Jeff, always a gentleman, dropped me off at the door and went to park the car.

After dinner, Jeff requested the dessert menu and then excused himself briefly. When he returned a few minutes later, we put in our dessert order. Then, he turned to a bag he had brought and pulled out a travel Scrabble board.

“All right,” he said. “Now we play to see who pays for dinner.”

“Okay,” I replied. “But you always win!”

Once the board was set up, Jeff reached into the bag of letters to determine who would go first and pulled out an ‘A’. Then he passed the bag to me, even though I knew that he would most likely end up going first. However, when I reached inside the little black bag, I found a box! Jeff took the box, went down on one knee beside the table, and opened the lid to display a beautiful ring. He said, “Amanda, will you marry me?” Of course, I said “Yes!” He slipped the custom ring made by Denney Jewelers onto my finger.

When dessert was brought out a few minutes later, the plate was decorated with hearts and had the words “Congratulations” written across the top. We couldn’t stop smiling, and of course, I couldn’t stop staring at my beautiful new engagement ring!

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I was caught by surprise when I walked into karaoke on a cold Wednesday night in late 1997. There was a beautiful woman, Missy, standing on stage singing her heart out. I knew she was someone who would make a difference in my life. I just didn’t know how much of a difference she would make. We quickly found out how much we seemed to have in common and became good friends.

Over the course of the next several months we both felt a stronger attraction towards each other, but didn’t realize the other felt the same way. Our friends kept telling us we were meant to be together. I didn’t believe it because “She couldn’t possibly feel that way about me”.  Little did I know, she was saying the same thing to her friends. We found ourselves starting to spend more time with each other “as friends”.

Fate must have grown tired of waiting for us. We chased each other around karaoke every Wednesday night playing hard to get with each other. We were the only ones who didn’t see the real connection. My roommate, at the time, moved back to Missouri to finish his college education. I needed a roommate, and Missy needed a change of scenery from where she was. Therefore, in late Spring of  1998, she moved in with me. In a matter of days, we realized what everyone else had been telling us. We were crazy about each other, and madly in love. It was the beginning of July.

The next 6 months flew by and we felt like we had been together forever (in a good way). She got along great with my family, as I did with hers. Christmas would be the day to ask her parents’ for their permission to marry their daughter. They were overjoyed and welcomed me to the family with open arms.

Missy and I had discussed how I would never propose to “the one” on a day that was already special in it’s own way. January 6th had no significance until 1999. It was a Wednesday and we set out for another night of karaoke with friends. This Wednesday was different, though because there were plenty of family members there as well as more friends than usual. Missy was the only one who didn’t know what was going to happen.

The D.J., Bill, was a good friend of ours so he was honored when I asked him to hold the ring for me until I was ready for “the moment”. The time had come. Bill called me up to sing and I asked Missy to sit in a chair at the front of the stage. My right hand shook uncontrollably as I held the microphone, while I had the ring in my left. I sang “I Cross My Heart” by George Strait, which had become “our song”. When the song was over, I moved toward her on bended knee, took her hand and asked her to spend the rest of her life with me as the entire room, filled with people who watched our relationship grow, went silent.

She said yes, leaned forward to give me a huge teary hug, and the place erupted in cheers and applause.

We were married April 29, 2000. Bill was our D.J. for the reception, and once again, I sang to her: “In all the world, you’ll never find… A love as true … as mine”. I couldn’t imagine the rest of my life without my best friend.

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Last updated February 5, 2017