As prompted by Mama Kat's Pretty Much World Famous Writer's Workshop, Prompt #3: Married? Tell us the story of how the question was popped
I love being an American
I love America
I love Uncle Sam, Betsy Ross and George Washington
I love apple pie, hot dogs, peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and baseball
I love the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence
I love Fort Knox, the White House and the Library of Congress
I love my freedom of choice and my right to vote
I love the Flag and I have no problem pledging Allegiance
I love the Boston Pops, the Rockettes and Vaudeville
I love sparklers and fireworks
And I love the 4th of July
The 4th of July is by far my most favorite holiday
I look forward to it every year: the overt and yes exaggerated patriotism (though mine is year round), the red, white and blue bunting, the block parties, the patriotic music, the re-enactments, the fireworks……I love the 4th of July
We spend our 4th of July in Boston: we start at Government Center where the flag is raised; a military band and chorus perform and then follow the Parade to the Old Granary Burying Ground where wreaths are laid on the graves of John Hancock, Samuel Adams, and Paul Revere. We proceed to the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence is read from the balcony. Patriotic songs are sung, flags are waved, and children's faces are painted. We walk down to Faneuil Hall where bands play, re-enactors perform and if you're lucky, you'll see the Tea Party in full swing. We watch the USS Constitution turn around in the Harbor and hear the 21 gun salute. We watch the Tall Ships and see more re-enactments. We go to the North End and visit the Church and Paul Revere's old stomping grounds. We take in as much as we possibly can until we're tired and hot and head home for a rest…..only to go back out at dusk to perch ourselves in a field and watch fireworks. And when we get home, we're always in time to watch the Boston Pops on TV as they perform their Fourth of July Concert on the Esplanade with the Fireworks Spectacular in the background
I love the 4th of July
And Sean loves me so it only stands to reason he chose the 4th of July to propose…..
July 4th, 2006:
After a full day in Boston, we stopped at home for an hour lounge and then headed out the door to the fireworks in North Reading. As much as I love fireworks and the 4th of July, I am not up for the craziness on the Esplanade so a local firework display works just fine for us. As we're getting ready to walk out the door, Sean announces he needs a snack to take with him – I'm at the door sort of tapping my foot as (I think) we're running late and I want to hurry up and get there.
Come on I prod, let's get going!
He stops at the snack bowl on the side board and chooses a box of Cracker Jacks.
I remember thinking, in between taps of my foot trying to get him to hurry up, I love that he likes Cracker Jacks, such an American snack…..and I love him for embracing my favorite holiday as he has and indulging me in all we do on the 4th of July…..
Why is this a big deal you ask? Why is she pointing out he likes Cracker Jacks and what is the big deal about him going to see firework? Well, for those not aware, Sean is English….as in from England not of English descent. As in he has an accent, calls an elevator a lift, says pasta and basil weirdly, says Cheers instead of thank you or good bye sometimes, sings God Save the Queen instead of God Bless America, has tea in the afternoon and calls soccer football and football daft…and he uses words like daft…..and wanker
So he snatches up his box of Cracker Jacks and we head to North Reading. At this point, I am bouncing around in the car like a kid…I LOVE fireworks. I had been borderline cranky earlier in the day because it was so damn hot but I snapped out of it – now I was just punchy…..and I could not wait to see fireworks and if I was lucky, there would be cotton candy…..
We park at the High School and take the bus down to the Park where they show the fireworks with our camp chairs in tow. We set up our chairs and wandered through the little fairground…..I can't remember if I got cotton candy but I do remember getting a fan and a red white and blue lei from a local politician. We made our way back to our chairs and Sean hooked the lei around the arm of my chair for me.
Sean announced he was hungry and opened up his Crack Jacks. I saw him toss a couple pieces in his mouth and I wondered aloud when the fireworks were going to start.
I can't get my prize out he says to me
My prize, I can't get my prize out, can you get it for me? he extends the box over to me
Are you kidding me? I ask. Really honey, you want the prize?
Can you just help me? he asks shaking the box at me
I take the box from him and sort of peer in trying to catch a glimpse of the infamous red and white striped prize package we all know so well.
I reach in to move a few pieces of popcorn and realize it's all soggy and gross. I throw the pieces to the ground and inform Sean the Cracker Jacks are no good…
They're soggy Sean, just throw them out…I'm not sure why they're like that but you should just throw them out.
But I want the prize….
Seriously Sean…the Crack Jacks are all soggy and sticky and gross. I don't want to put my hand in there….
I was really looking forward to the prize….
We have another box at home; you can just get the prize out of that one. I scan the field looking for a trash can
CAN YOU JUST GET ME THE PRIZE MARIA?!?!?!
I start fishing around in the box again and finally see the prize in a clear plastic pouch at the bottom of the box. At first glance, I think it's a keychain. In my head I think he's not going to want some silly key chain; he was probably hoping for a tattoo or one of those little hologram things.
I tell him it's a crappy prize and he won't want it
Well can I see it? he asks.
With a sigh, I shake the soggy nasty popcorn aside and reach in and pull out the bag with the prize in it
Funny I think to myself, where is the red and white wrapper? This just looks like a plastic baggy
Here honey, I say without really looking at it, it's a ring
What kind of ring?
I don't know I say trying to hand it to him, just some ring……I'm actually boredline annoyed he won't take teh stupid prize he made me fish around for me and now my fingers are all sticky...
What kind of ring?
He's not relenting so I finally look at the ring and start to describe it to him…
It's just a plastic ring with a blue….I stop talking and look a little more closely at the ring and realize it's the sapphire ring I saw months ago in a store in Newburyport. I don't remember if I tried the ring on when we saw it….I just remember looking at it and commenting on how much I liked it. It was a light blue single stone sapphire ring in its original setting…and the original setting had this engraving on it, looked like wheat, indicative of rings from the turn of the century to the Depression Era.
I look at Sean with my mouth open but no words come out. He's sitting in his chair looking at me with this goofy grin
I remember hearing him say A ring?
Do you know what kind of ring it is?
I still can't speak
Maria, it's THE ring, it's your ring…..it's the ring you wanted……marry me?
At that moment, the fireworks start to go off…..swear to God…..and I smiled and nodded and stared at the ring……
Sean may or may not have kissed me, and I may or may not have kissed him.....but at some point, either Sean or I slipped the ring on my finger and Sean had his hand over mine….every few minutes, I looked at my hand to make sure there was in fact a ring on it……and 20 minutes later, I looked at Sean and said
Did I say yes yet?
He smiled, nodded and said we're getting married
I may or may not have raised my arms above my head and shouted I'm Engaged!
I may or may not have cried
I may or may not have said yes
But I did make the best decision I could have made…..
And that red, white and blue lei is still looped on the arm of my camp chair…..
I love the 4th of July
Maria the Mum