The proposal: He said

Husband proposed to me on January 8, 1992. We married on July 18 that same year.

Every story has two sides. This week, he tells his.


“You need to take the day off from work January 8,” I said, “because that’s the last day of a special showing at the Minneapolis Institute of Art.”

Tamara acted like she was excited. I had spent several weeks painting her picture, and I was going to see if the Minneapolis Institute of Art would let me prop it in a corner somewhere, so I would walk by and let her see it, and when she did, I would propose to her. But when I made these plans, I didn’t have permission from the MIA yet. After she had already taken the day off, I found out they wouldn’t let me do it for insurance reasons, so I had to come up with a new plan. Since I had to kill a couple hours before our dinner reservations now and we were already dressed up, and Tamara had told me at one time it would be fun to get dressed up and go bowling, I decided that’s what we would do.

And that’s where everything started to go wrong.

On the big day, I picked Tamara up and explained the special showing was no longer in existence, and that we couldn’t go. She was unhappy because she had taken the day off from work for that specific reason. I told her I had a different surprise. I blindfolded her, and we headed for the bowling alley. But when we got there, she saw where we were, and I could tell this wasn’t going to be a good replacement for the art museum. Even though at one point she said it was something that would’ve been fun, it wasn’t something fun today, because she had a blister and was wearing a really tight skirt. So we bowled one unhappy game. Finally it was time for dinner, and I thought, “Maybe things will be better from here on out.”

It didn’t get better.

“Maybe we end it here and go home,” I said.

“But I took the day off,” she said. “I don’t want to go home this early.”

“What do you want to do?”

“I don’t care. Something.”

“Fine. Let’s go to a movie. What movie?”

“I don’t care,” she said.

Out of spite, I picked Bruce Willis’ The Last Boy Scout.

When the movie was over, our moods were still as dark as the theater. She, because she didn’t like the movie or anything that had happened during the date, and I, because nothing had turned out the way I hoped.

We drove back to her house in Dinkytown. I was trying to decide what to do, because this seemed like a really poor proposal date, but when we got to her house, I saw the painting propped in her window surrounded by candles lit by her brother. She hadn’t noticed it, so I thought I could salvage the date by carrying her through the slush and snow so she didn’t ruin her shoes. I would take her into her room, so she could see the painting, I decided, and then I would ask her to marry me.

She said ‘yes’, and everything’s been better since.

The proposal painting. Oil on canvas, 20" x 26"

The proposal painting. Oil on canvas, 20" x 26"

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*Names in this blog have been changed to protect my family, neighbors, and friends in the neighborhood, and in a nod of appreciation to the beloved Swedish author Maj Lindman, I’ve renamed my three blondies Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka.