The path to matrimony is seldom smooth. Indeed, sometimes it’s a downright steep and rocky climb over a personal landscape littered with the shards of shattered relationships of the past, niggling insecurities of the present and vague fears of the future.
But, if history has taught us anything, hundreds of couples boldly moved along that path during the Iowa State Fair that concluded its 11-day run yesterday. Reporters assigned the task of covering the fair each year are guaranteed at least one love story that was born, fostered or consummated at the fair.
Kisses are stolen in the relative seclusion and darkness of the Ye Old Mill boat ride, couples snuggle atop the Ferris wheel and questions are popped in the shadow of the butter cow. These are destined to be treasured moments in a family’s history at some later date.
While I’m reasonably certain that my bride of 39 years has mostly forgiven me by now, I’m absolutely certain that she hasn’t forgotten my own awkward way of proposing to her. I remember it well, too, because it was a much harder sell than I expected. It was my own fault.
In a classic case of getting the cart before the horse, I had lined up my best man before I asked my intended. When she overheard him talking about my upcoming marriage, she was understandably upset since she assumed it was another woman. I was fortunate that she would even speak to me after such a gaffe, but we eventually worked things out. Thank goodness.
Four decades and three kids later, our family tree has been strengthened by the addition of known branches from Japan, Czechoslovakia, Cuba and Spain. I hope that those State Fair couples do as well for their families.
Writing prompt for the day: Do you have any unusual marriage proposal stories in your family?
Photo of Larry & Linda Lehmer from Larry Lehmer collection(lwlehmer).