From the monthly archives: March 2011

One of our favorite places to visit is New York City. My husband David and I wander for hours, holding hands, window shopping and stopping for coffee at pretty little sidewalk cafes. It’s especially romantic in the early evenings in Central Park when the horse and carriages line the avenue.

We’ve been married a long, long time and I know I’m a lucky woman to have a husband who still holds my hand everywhere we go and truly enjoys our time together no matter what we’re doing.

But, every time we are in Central Park, I ask David if we can go for a ride in one of the carriages that tours the streets, and that’s been the one wish he hasn’t granted me. I really can’t blame him because he’s more than likely anticipating a sneezing attack from being in such close proximity to a horse, but I ask anyway just in case he changes his mind.

A horse-drawn carriage passed by and I smile sweetly up at him, “David dear, could we just do a short carriage ride this year. It would be so romantic.” Imagine my surprise when this time he simply said, “Sure honey. Next one that goes by we’ll flag him down.”

We strolled down the sidewalk slowly and, sure enough, when the next carriage passed David flagged him down. I was more than a little surprised but I didn’t say anything.

We climbed up into the carriage and David asked the driver if he could do a modified trip that would last just a short time — and I laughed when David let out a great big sneeze as he finished his request to the driver! “Honey, we don’t have to do this if you’re going to be miserable” I told him.

“No, we’re on our way and I’ll be just fine!” he replied, with another big sneeze.

I sat curled in the comfort of David’s arm as we rode through the beautiful paths of the park. I was content just to be close and warm with my husband. David bent down and kissed my forehead, and when I looked up at him I saw that he was holding his hand toward me with something draped across it. It was dark in the carriage so I bent close to look. In his hand was a stunning diamond pendant.

“Honey, I want to give you this necklace as a reminder of how much I love being with you, no matter where we are or what we’re doing. I decided to give it to you on this carriage ride because I really want you to know that I’ll go anywhere with you or for you.” And he ended with a great big sneeze!

I wear the necklace all of the time and because of the love he shared when he gave it to me it has a more special meaning to me than any other gift he has ever given me.


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My new job as an executive assistant proved to be challenging in a variety of ways, not the least of them my huge attraction to my boss. He was a dynamic, handsome man with so much energy and enthusiasm it was contagious for everyone in the office.

I had only been working for Ron for a couple of weeks when he suddenly seemed to slow down and take notice that I was an attractive woman. I could just tell by the way he stopped what he was doing and got all flustered when I walked into his office one afternoon that something had just “clicked”. Of course, I didn’t pursue it because it’s common knowledge that office romances are an invitation to disaster.

Ron, however, being accustomed to great success in the business world, set his sights on me and didn’t let up until I agreed to go out to dinner with him. He was subtle about it and made it a point to ask me when no one else was around, and he was just so darn cute I couldn’t say no.

Our first dinner together was perfect. He took me to a beautiful restaurant. I found Ron’s company absolutely wonderful. We talked and laughed for hours without feeling the least bit self conscious. And so it began . . .

Ron and I dated each other for almost a year without anyone in the company knowing of our relationship. I truly believe that work and pleasure should be kept separate so it wasn’t all that hard to switch from one relationship during the day to the other in the evening. Both of us were quite content with the situation, or so I thought.

One Thursday morning, I was rushing to complete a couple of deadlines before I took a few days off for vacation. I was in deep concentration when I realized that I could hear music other than the piped in background noise that was always playing. I strained to figure out what it was and where it was coming from. It sounded almost like bagpipes, but why would anyone be playing the bagpipes in our office building?

I went back to work but could hear the music getting nearer and nearer and, yes, I was certain it was bagpipes. I was determined not to interrupt my work but was forced to when the whole office reacted to the bagpipe player that had just walked off the elevator . . . Ron right behind him in full Scottish regalia. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

The bagpipe player and Ron proceeded boldly to my desk and stopped right in front of me. I didn’t know how to react I was so surprised. And then, Ron took my hand and pulled me out from behind my desk, knelt down before me, and held out a diamond ring that made everyone gasp. Or, maybe it was the fact that the boss was proposing to his assistant that no one knew he was even dating! Either way, when Ron took my hand and slipped the ring on my finger, asking me to be his wife I responded with a thrilled “yes”.


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A blind date. Who knew that by accepting this date, it would change my life and what I had previously thought “relationships” were supposed to be like? I didn’t, and that’s why on February 26, 2010 I pushed all nervousness aside and opened the door.

Nate was 23 and I was 27 and we had both pretty much given up on the prospect of finding that special someone.  I had been divorced and was busy working full time and being a mother to my 7 year old son. Nate owned his own home and was busy working 50 to 60 hours a week as a welder. The last thing we needed was a serious relationship to throw us off track. Or so we thought…….

I will never forget that night. Dinner, a movie and dancing. Sounds so simple, but during those hours I knew there was something extremely special and different about this man. We talked and laughed and joked endlessly, and we had everything in common. As the night came to an end, I knew I had to see him again, and I was pretty sure he felt the same way.

Fast forward a year. Nate has changed my life and brought so much more to it than I ever could’ve imagined. He is there to hold my hand when I’m sick, lend a shoulder to cry on, congratulate me when I have accomplished something, and most importantly has been an amazing influence and role model to my son. That, in itself, is priceless.

Nate is quite the romantic, and has been since our first date. Over the course of a year he has sent me flowers, or hand delivered them, more than 15 times. He’s made me dinners, washed the dishes, helped around the house, and surprised me with an outing here or there on more than one occasion. Nothing however, compares to the proposal he had been planning for weeks on end. I was about to find out what romance was all about.

Tara Point, in Gafton, Illinois, sits high on the hillside overlooking the river. It is by far one of the most beautiful places I have ever been. Last year, Nate surprised me with a weekend stay for Mother’s Day and I remember telling him how much I loved it and how it would be a perfect place for a wedding. He remembered that, and this is where my proposal begins.

We left Saturday morning, March 5 with the instruction given to me to “get in the truck, we are going for a ride.” I had a feeling he had something of his sleeve, but he does a pretty fine job of keeping things in the dark when he wants to. We arrived in Grafton a little after 1:00 and he turned into the steep lane that leads up the hill to Tara Point. I wasn’t sure what was going on, because I had not packed an overnight bag and wasn’t in the least bit prepared for a overnight stay. Nate, on the other hand, had it all meticulously planned out, and it wasn’t until later I found out how much time and effort he had put into this. He parked the truck, told me to come with him, and led me to the cottages that occupy half of this beautiful property overlooking the river. Our cottage was at the very end, on the bottom, and very secluded. He opened the door, which lead into a quaint and cozy, living/kitchen area with a fireplace and a view that took my breath away. The door to the bedroom was closed, and standing in front of that door, he got down on one knee, and said to me: “Baby, I love you more than anything, will you marry me?”

As he said these words, he opened the bedroom door and the most beautiful display met my gaze. He had a table at the foot of the bed covered with fabric and sprinkled with tiny glass pebbles. Among the pebbles was a beautiful arrangement of flowers, a framed picture of the two of us, and the most gorgeous diamond ring I have ever laid eyes on. With tears in my eyes and a lump in my throat, I said “Yes” and he slid the ring onto my finger. At that moment, I knew romance really existed, and I had a wonderful man to share many more years with. It wasn’t until later on I learned he had included my son in the purchase of the ring, and had made him feel just as much a part of this as I was. That, to me, is what romance is really about. Including the most important people in your life, for the biggest moments in your life. I am so thankful I said “Yes” to that blind date, and found out what true love is all about.

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My boyfriend, Jason, is a mechanic who I met when I was going through a series of car repairs that I was beginning to think were going to drive me into bankruptcy. He kept assuring me that my car was worth repairing and that it would cost me less in the long run than buying a new car. So I just kept following his advice until finally the day arrived that he pronounced my car “as good as new”.

Jason is very shy, but as car repairs threw us together over and over, I began to see that he was a very good, honest person. I liked him more and more but wasn’t sure how to approach him, so I just kept visiting with him and finding out more about him each time I went into his shop.

On the day he announced that he had done everything he could to my car, I felt a little sad, but I still couldn’t bring myself to suggest to Jason that we see each other outside of his work.

I got in my car slowly, battling with my desire to see Jason socially and my fear of rejection. I turned to wave at him standing in the doorway of the shop and sat down in my car — or tried to sit down. I landed on something bulky in the seat and got back up to see what was there.

A teddy bear! Complete with jaunty hat and a colorful scarf around his neck. He was just so cute, and I knew Jason must have put him there. I picked him up and saw that there was an envelope hanging from his scarf so I pulled it off and opened it. I never once turned around to look at Jason. I was too afraid I’d do something completely silly!

Inside the envelope I found a dainty little gold necklace with a simple heart charm. The note that was included read, “Turn around, and I’ll be there. But, if you get into your car and drive away, I’ll have your answer.”

Of course I turned around and found myself practically nose to nose with Jason. He took the necklace from my hand and held it up between us. “Melinda, you’re the nicest girl I’ve met in a long time. I just didn’t know how to ask you out. But I knew I couldn’t let you get away from me. Will you wear this necklace when we go out to dinner together?”

That was the beginning of our relationship. Once Jason became comfortable with me his romantic nature showed itself again and again. But it’s the gold heart hanging on a chain that truly won my heart.


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Believe it or not, I met my husband while driving to work one morning. He was in a big white pickup truck in the lane beside me and we both happened to look over at each other at the same moment. Wow! He was the most handsome man I’d seen in a long time, and apparently he thought I looked pretty good too because after a few miles of flirting he gestured for me to follow him into the parking lot of my favorite local bagel shop — and I did.

Dan and I started dating that very night and were “a couple” from that point on.

When Dan & I had been seeing each other for a little over a year, I was beginning to feel like we needed to start considering making our arrangement permanent, but I didn’t want to be the one to bring it up. It’s a lot more fun to be proposed to than to suggest to the man in your life that you want to get married . . . so I bit my tongue and waited.

On my way to work one morning I glanced up to see what looked like Dan’s pickup truck behind me, and that brought back such a pleasant rush of memories that I almost cried. Dan had sold the truck to his brother a few months earlier.

The truck started passing on my right and I glanced over to take a closer look. Wow! What a handsome man — there was Dan behind the wheel, flirting just like he had on that first day. We smiled, we waved, and finally, instead of gesturing for me to pull over this time, Dan held up a glittering diamond ring and mouthed “Will you marry me?”

This time I gestured for him to pull over so I could feel his arms around me when I told him “yes, I will marry you!”


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Last updated February 5, 2017