The Gauntlet

03 Sep

My wife’s name is Karrie, and she is the most wonderful woman on the planet.

And, lucky for me, I happen to know for a fact that she loves me very much.

I know this, because she said “yes” when I asked her if she would marry me.

I know what you are thinking… many people say “yes” to marriage proposals, and still don’t truly love each other. Well, those people likely proposed to their (ex)wives in some pansy “traditional” way. All suited up… in a fancy restaurant… on bended knee… pleading with the object of their affection… blah. Honestly? I am surprised most marriages outlast milk.

Personally, I made my bride-to-be run the gauntlet before “popping the question”.

But more on that in a second. First, some background.

Karrie and I had been dating for seven years before I proposed. We already knew more about each other than people have any right to. We were, and still are, best friends. At that point, in my opinion, marriage is just paperwork. Yeah, I am sure that just takes all the romance out of it for many of you, but that was the reality of the situation. I mean, there really was no question in either of our minds that we were going to be married. The question was… when would I ask… and how?

As I said, Karrie knew me very well at that point. So, she knew that there was NO WAY that I would ever propose on a traditional day, like Christmas Eve, or New Years. That’d be too cliché for me. She knew to “expect the unexpected” from me. So… I proposed on Christmas Eve.

Here’s how it went down.

Karrie came over to my house so that we could exchange gifts. She gave me my gifts first. I am embarrassed to say that I don’t remember what they were, but in my defense, I was about to propose here, so there were other things on my mind at the time. Anyhow… after I finished opening my gifts, I presented Karrie with four, identically wrapped gift boxes. And I asked her to pick three.

As you might imagine, at this point she was already thoroughly confused.

She picked three, and I took the remaining box and tucked it under my arm. I then told her to start opening them. And thus, she opened the first one, which was…


I could almost read her thoughts as if they were printed on her face… “What an odd gift.”. For those of you that don’t know me very well… I am not what you would call “normal”. And Karrie was well aware of that, so the unusual nature of this first gift certainly wasn’t enough to deter her. So she continued on and opened the second box, which contained…


The confusion deepened. The ring holder was one thing; she had rings after all. But, a baby toy? Still, she continued on… determined to discover the contents of the third box, which was…


At this point, she probably wanted to get me a CAT Scan. What was I thinking? Soup? How were any of these… things considered Christmas gifts? It wasn’t until I said “Better luck next year” that she started to put it all together…

“ring”… “ring”… “ring”…

Her eyes opened wide, and her head snapped towards me.

And then… her eyes slowly narrowed until they were slits.

“What’s in the last box!?”, she rasped.

A battle ensued.

I will spare you the details but, suffice it to say, I defended the remaining box as bravely as I could. She had, after all, made her three choices. The contents of the last box, such as they were, were not for her. Not that year, at least.

But, in the end, she proved stronger than I. And she eventually foiled my defenses, and wrestled the box from my hands. After a cursory check to ensure that I was still alive, she stared down at the spoils of her victory.

The last box.

This was it.

What she had been waiting for.

In this box was something with the power to change her life.

In this box was her future.

She tore it open

In this box was…


I think she came close to the edge of her sanity at that point. But it was then, while she was curled up in the fetal position rocking back and forth mumbling to herself, that I finally pulled the ring out from my pocket and proposed to her.

So, you see, if she said yes after all that? She must love me.

Oh and, by the way, I ate the Ring Dings.

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Posted by on September 3, 2008 in Memory Lane


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