Thursday, October 21, 2010

Magical Moment 259, "Proposals, Secrets, and Men's Bathrooms"

I’ve written about Eddie quite a bit – how we met, fell in love, and got married against military regulation. But I’ve never told the story of how he proposed.

We only dated for 2 months, but I knew the day was a comin’ and just wondered how and when he would ask. I was his supervisor in the Army and we were keeping our relationship a secret due to the Officer/Enlisted fraternization policy in the Army, forbidding anything but professional relationships between the two grades. Eddie recently got a traffic citation for speeding and talking on his cell phone, and as a result, had to attend a sort of military-stop-class for the next four Saturdays. As his supervisor, and his girlfriend, I knew all about this.

However, my Platoon Sergeant who also was one of Eddie’s supervisors, approached me with the sincere desire to help out one of his troops, Eddie (or Sergeant Grimes as we’ll call him in this story). 
“Ma’am,” my Platoon Sergeant said, “We have a real problem with Sergeant Grimes. He has traffic class all day Saturday but he’s already made expensive and extravagant plans to propose to his girlfriend this weekend.”
“Oh really?!” I said, desperately trying not to give myself away. I think I did a pretty good acting job and explained that ultimately it would be up to his First Sergeant to get him out of the class.

I spent the day trying to decide whether or not I should tell Eddie that his surprise was ruined. Being proposed to is a once in a lifetime thing, and I ultimately knew that Eddie would be disappointed if he found out later that I only acted surprised. So I told him. Of course he was bummed that his secret was spoiled, but I look back now and see that it was for the best.

A few weeks later, we planned to meet my parents and little sister in Nashville for a few days. This would only be their second time meeting Eddie and I suspected that he wanted to talk to my dad before giving the proposal a second try, which he did in a not so discreet fashion at the Country Music Hall of Fame Museum. In the meantime, I discovered the ring in a not so brilliant hiding spot. By now maybe you’ve guessed that we’re not great secret keepers.

So there we were, in Nashville, he had spoken to my dad, and the ring was burning a hole in his pocket. And knowing all this was burning a hole in my head! We all went to a small Mexican Restaurant for lunch and I excused myself to use the restroom, only to discover that the ladies room was out of order. I went back and asked Eddie to guard the men’s room door for me. That’s when I took action.
“Would you just propose already? I want to wear my ring!” I practically begged.
“I want you to wear it too.” He said in agreement.
He knelt down on the floor of the very questionable men’s bathroom floor, and proposed. I got to wear my ring and the only secrets left were the ones we had to keep from the Army.

And that’s how it happened. Months later, after our romance was made public, my old Platoon Sergeant found me and profusely apologized when he realized he had ruined the surprise that day. I tried to reassure him that it absolutely didn’t bother me one bit. Everything turned out just as it should. 

A year later, back at the restaurant

Fiesta Mexicana in Nashville, TN

The men's room


Eddie said...

It is a nice story now, but it was crazy while it was happening. I had a lot of fears during that time... did she love me back, would her dad say yes, would she say yes, would we get in trouble, would she like the ring, would I get sick from the bathroom floor, etc... I am very happy now. And very blessed. Thank you to everyone for reading and sharing a little bit of our life and happiness.

Jesse said...

Great story. Additional details: I'm not sure if Elizabeth remembers this, but I was in the room when the same platoon sergeant was saying how "Sergeant Grimes" had the messiest room he'd ever seen in Germany. "Great guy!" he said, "but horribly messy." Little did he know he was spelling out future habits she would have to get used to.

Anonymous said...

Ah! I've eaten several meals in that booth! I didn't know that restaurant was where you were engaged. That's awesome! Sorry I'm just now reading this story. :)