The Proposal

By

The Proposal

As a child growing up in Texas, the month of August always conjures up memories of record breaking heat, droughts, and water use restrictions. Of course, the only effect water conservation had on us kids was whether we played in the water sprinklers on the odd or even side of the street. And when droughts were severe, community prayer meetings were often held. Such was the setting of my childhood marriage.

Danny was five, and I was six, the morning he proposed. It was blistering hot; the thermometer on the back porch had passed the hundred-degree mark hours ago. Danny and I were sitting on the curb in front of my house eating Popsicles. Every bite was a race against the heat. I remember it so clearly, his lips were purple and mine were bright red. Certainly not the way a girl would want to look with her first marriage proposal just minutes away, but such was my fate.

For weeks Danny had not been his usual cheerful self. He fervently denied that he was going to be a ring bearer in a family wedding. His mother told us he was; he told us he wasn’t. Either way, the wedding hung like a black cloud over his head and consequently was ruining our neighborhood fun. Our best batter and kicker was out of sorts and not up for any street games. So I was surprised when between licks and bites of his Popsicle he said, “It seems everybody has to marry some time or another.” I nodded my agreement rather than speak. He watched as I deftly captured the last icy clump off my stick.

“So,” he continued, “why don’t we get married today and get it over with?” Not wanting to rush such a tender moment, I selected a spot between the curb and pavement and jabbed my twin-pop sticks into the crack, then answered, “Sure, why not.” Our icy treats were gone, and it was just too hot to discuss the pros and cons of the inevitable.

Skipping the wedding ceremony completely, Danny asked me if I’d like a house. As we already had homes it took several minutes to decide whether we needed another house, but after much thought we decided to be home owners. So Danny went to his backyard and dragged a large cardboard appliance box over to my backyard. Today’s architects would call it a freestanding structure with a great room. The front door was wide and the windows were small as it formerly served as his fort. He asked if I liked it, and I assured him I did.

With the house in place, we joined our friends who had waited impatiently on their bikes and rode off like a posse of Texas Rangers to a nearby park. That night the community’s prayers for rain were answered, and my first house was flattened under a hard driving rain. It rained throughout the night, and a great sigh of gratitude was heard over a large area of Texas. The next day, Danny walked two gold rings down an aisle as I dragged our soggy house to the alley for trash pick up.

Monday morning Danny was free of his fancy suit and lacy pillow, and I was free from housekeeping duties. The pressures of the adult world were gone. The marriage was brief. There had been no wedding expenses, mortgage, insurance claims or hurt feelings. Twenty-four hours in the adult world were enough for two sun-baked kids.

Years later, my real love came along, and I received another proposal. Departing the Dallas/Fort Worth airport in heavy turbulence, my sweetheart asked for my hand in marriage. His tender words were, “If we survive this flight, will you marry me?” Like my first proposal, it wasn’t very romantic, but I was so in love I said, “Yes.” This proposal came with a Christmas wedding and a real house. Our first home withstood years of heavy snows and blizzards. Our second home, here at the beach, has survived tropical storms and hurricanes. But August heat and heavy rains always remind me of my first love and childhood marriage.

About this writer

  • As a child growing up in Texas, the month of August always conjures up memories of record breaking heat, droughts, and water use restrictions. Of course, the only effect water conservation had on us kids was whether we played in the water sprinklers on the odd or even side of the street. And when droughts were severe, community prayer meetings were often held. Such was the setting of my childhood marriage.

    Danny was five, and I was six, the morning he proposed. It was blistering hot; the thermometer on the back porch had passed the hundred-degree mark hours ago. Danny and I were sitting on the curb in front of my house eating Popsicles. Every bite was a race against the heat. I remember it so clearly, his lips were purple and mine were bright red. Certainly not the way a girl would want to look with her first marriage proposal just minutes away, but such was my fate.

    For weeks Danny had not been his usual cheerful self. He fervently denied that he was going to be a ring bearer in a family wedding. His mother told us he was; he told us he wasn’t. Either way, the wedding hung like a black cloud over his head and consequently was ruining our neighborhood fun. Our best batter and kicker was out of sorts and not up for any street games. So I was surprised when between licks and bites of his Popsicle he said, “It seems everybody has to marry some time or another.” I nodded my agreement rather than speak. He watched as I deftly captured the last icy clump off my stick.

    “So,” he continued, “why don’t we get married today and get it over with?” Not wanting to rush such a tender moment, I selected a spot between the curb and pavement and jabbed my twin-pop sticks into the crack, then answered, “Sure, why not.” Our icy treats were gone, and it was just too hot to discuss the pros and cons of the inevitable.

    Skipping the wedding ceremony completely, Danny asked me if I’d like a house. As we already had homes it took several minutes to decide whether we needed another house, but after much thought we decided to be home owners. So Danny went to his backyard and dragged a large cardboard appliance box over to my backyard. Today’s architects would call it a freestanding structure with a great room. The front door was wide and the windows were small as it formerly served as his fort. He asked if I liked it, and I assured him I did.

    With the house in place, we joined our friends who had waited impatiently on their bikes and rode off like a posse of Texas Rangers to a nearby park. That night the community’s prayers for rain were answered, and my first house was flattened under a hard driving rain. It rained throughout the night, and a great sigh of gratitude was heard over a large area of Texas. The next day, Danny walked two gold rings down an aisle as I dragged our soggy house to the alley for trash pick up.

    Monday morning Danny was free of his fancy suit and lacy pillow, and I was free from housekeeping duties. The pressures of the adult world were gone. The marriage was brief. There had been no wedding expenses, mortgage, insurance claims or hurt feelings. Twenty-four hours in the adult world were enough for two sun-baked kids.

    Years later, my real love came along, and I received another proposal. Departing the Dallas/Fort Worth airport in heavy turbulence, my sweetheart asked for my hand in marriage. His tender words were, “If we survive this flight, will you marry me?” Like my first proposal, it wasn’t very romantic, but I was so in love I said, “Yes.” This proposal came with a Christmas wedding and a real house. Our first home withstood years of heavy snows and blizzards. Our second home, here at the beach, has survived tropical storms and hurricanes. But August heat and heavy rains always remind me of my first love and childhood marriage.

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