I recall an Easter Sunday 45 years ago this year. While myriad folks were receiving Easter Bunnies encased in gold foil wrappers, Denise’s gold was of the 24 karat variety — topped by a sparkling diamond. That was the day that we became engaged — Easter Sunday 1978. A new life. What Easter offers.
It wasn’t one of those surprise proposals. In fact Denise was the one who selected the ring — a ring that unpretentious, pretty and charming. Just like she was and is.
But even with the planned Easter announcement of our engagement, things did not run smoothly. It seems to be a running theme in our last 45 years together — not always a smooth ride, but a ride shared together nonetheless.
A few days before Easter, Denise’s mémère passed away. We didn’t know if it would be appropriate to move ahead with our joyful news.
We consulted Denise’s mom, Colette, whose mother it was who passed. She said by all means to move ahead. It would be a ray of sunshine in a cloudy time.
I gave Denise the ring, and even though we both know it was coming, it was still a thrill to put the band of gold on her finger. After having met two years earlier, we knew we were meant to share this journey together.
After sharing it with Denise’s family, we drove to her pépère’s house — the now widowed pépère. He was frail and we didn’t want to enter his apartment on the second floor, but he was in the window, and we waved to him and Denise held up the delicate ring to show him. His adorable face lit up and gave a thumbs up. It warmed my heart as much as Denise’s.
Next we went over to my house to share the news with my mom and dad. They were thrilled. In fact my mom gave Denise a big hug — more than she did with me. She never once hugged me that I can remember, but I do chalk that up to the way many French-Canadians keep their emotions in check.
The victory tour was over and I just sat back and thought about what had transpired that wonderful Easter morning. I was engaged to my brown-eyed girl.
We have been together ever since. That year, 1978, was a whirlwind of events. I graduated from Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth) a few months later, and we had a late October date set for the wedding. My head was spinning.
If that wasn’t enough, The Boston Red Sox were have their own whirlwind season.
As August turned to September, it was becoming a real possibility that the Sox could end up in the World Series. Smack dab in the middle of our wedding date. My thoughts became a nightmare scenario of them playing a World Series game as our reception was in full swing.
Well, Bucky Dent of the New York Yankees took care of that with one swing of the bat. A lazy fly ball into the Green Monster net. That season Dent batted an anemic .243 with five home runs. Five! The Yankees win knocked us out of contention in a one-game playoff.
But Bucky Dent, he with the vulgar middle name given to him by people all over New England, was a marriage saver on its very first day.
This October will mark 45 years of marriage. And it all started on Easter Sunday, 1978, the day Denise and I became engaged.
It kind of has a nice ring to it, eh?