Roommate Sherri. One of the best housemates and friends a guy could ask for.

Where does the story of the proposal actually begin? With the first thought? Perhaps with the first actual step toward the planning? Or is it the point when your roommate know what’s about to happen, and is sick of your bubbling happiness? Or is that just when I realized it was real. No matter.

I realized, and started planning. Trying to somewhat covertly figure out what the proper etiquette would be in this situation. (This situation being proposing to Erin.) She’s a strong-willed, pragmatic, hard-to-the-core romantic. She likes the finer (as in skill and craftsmanship) things, but is a sucker for actual effort and intent. And if I could get the two to come together…

And so the search began. Thank G-d for all the help I received. I knew the ring style we both liked. I researched where to get it, and how it was to be done, and then was told the dreaded news that it wasn’t a good idea due to a tendency for that style to lose its stone. Now this was told to me by that one person that every person should have in their life: their trusted jeweler. Danny (of Lizzy's Goldmine) is so much more than a jeweler. One must visit his shop to understand. And then you can only catch a glimpse of the man with at least as many facets as the stone I gave Erin. The front window is filled with Beanie Babies. Along the front wall inside the store there are usually boxes upon boxes of chocolates, and/or Girl Scout Cookies. Perhaps Halloween animated dancing things are around, and cold water for a hot day… The greeting is always warm and memorable, and the willingness to help out a friend is to be admired. But I digress.

Danny said not to go that way.

A good way to lose stones I'm told.

I asked him to keep an eye out for a suitable ring. He asked about Erin, and what I was looking for. (He might not remember, but he pierced Erin’s ears at one point in her childhood. Of course, he pierced mine, too, and Carrie's, and probably Derek's also.) It couldn’t have been more than a few days later that I got a call. “I have the ring for you. It’s perfect.” He sent it up to me (in Oakland) in the mail. I looked at it, and knew he was mad, hadn’t the faintest idea what I wanted, or sent me the wrong ring. I said simple, but strong. I said solid band. He sent me this ring that was filled with baguette diamonds. I called him on the phone. I asked him what he was thinking. He suggested I look at it holding the diamond I wanted set in it (a family stone, passed on to me by my mother) in the center. He suggested cutting it, and placing the stone in the middle. “Oooooooo,” I said, seeing what he was talking about. I sent it back with instructions to go ahead.

I flew down to see the ring (and my family of course). I went with my Mom and sister Lisa; thankfully. I was dumbstruck. It just didn’t work for me. I couldn’t believe it, and I felt so bad. Danny had cut this ring in half, inserted this diamond, and I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t know what to do, and being the graceful, articulate being that I am, I began to babble and stutter, and make lots of hemming a hawing sounds. Lisa was somehow able to interpret my apelike grunts and sketch out a picture of what I wanted. Understanding bloomed in the shop. Danny now knowing what I wanted was assuring me it would be no problem. My mother sat nodding wisely in understanding, or perhaps it was the enjoyment of watching her baby boy become reduced to such a blithering state and being saved by a wiser sister (I have so many I’m used to it). Either way Danny said it would be redone, and he would send it up to me.

He of course got it right out to the jeweler who would make the change (I believe with the help of his wife who was at home). He called in the morning just before I was leaving for the airport to declare that he had it back and it was ready.

It was ready.

I wasn’t.

It was beautiful. Exactly as I had pictured it.

The next question was the when and how…


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