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The spring semester seemed to fly by, and as we approached spring break, I still didn’t have a ring on my finger. I was getting a bit nervous that I might walk down the aisle and still not have a diamond ring. Which in hindsight, wouldn’t really have mattered. I’m not entirely sure why we get caught up in diamonds as a signal of commitment. Diamonds can be lost. (Especially by me!)
We had decided to put together a thirty minute program using our juggling skills, my ventriloquism and some magic tricks and go on tour for spring break. Ked’s Dad was helping us out with props and scheduling and soon we had a full week booked in Florida for spring break.
A few weeks before the spring break tour, Ked’s friend Ryan came to visit. He had met Jen our freshman year of college and proposed to her the previous spring. They had both transferred to community college and were planning a May wedding. As Ryan picked up Ked for a day out on the town he rolled down the window and said, “Yeah, I’m going to go help Ked pick out a ring for you!! Any requests?” It took everything in me not to make some smart remark and my eyes pleaded with Ked, “please don’t let him pick out my ring!” It appeared that Ked was enjoying my torture. I was sure I’d never get a ring.
Spring break finally arrived, and after much practice, I felt like we were semi-prepared for our first program. We loaded up his Dad’s van with our equipment and Ked, Karon, their Dad and I waved goodbye to his mom and brothers and headed south for spring break.
This particular van we had nicknamed “The Oiler.” It burned oil like fire burns dry wood. With every stop for gas we were filling it up with oil. It burned the oil out the back covering the license plate with a heavy black film. In Illinois, a cop pulled us over because he couldn’t read the license plate. That was the first of at least three cops that pulled us over from Michigan to Florida. The third time happened somewhere in Georgia and by that time we were trying so hard not to laugh as the cop approached the window. Ked happened to be driving that time and I was in the passenger seat while his Dad and sister were dozing in the backseat. Ked rolled down the window and the cop sauntered up, “Are you guys ok in here?” Ked and I looked at each other trying not to laugh. For being pulled over three times in one day I guess we were ok. “Yes, sir, we are ok,” Ked politely replied. The cop eyed us, “Ok, well I thought I saw you weaving a little bit.” Ked and I looked at each other again not sure how to reply. The cop then told us to stay awake and walked away. As Ked rolled up the window, the four of us busted up laughing. We were sure that the cop in Illinois must have put out some bulletin telling highway patrol from there to Florida to look for a maroon Chevy Astro that smelled like oil, because really, who gets pulled over three times in one day for such random stuff?
We finally made it to Florida and the programs went smoothly. We had scheduled a break in the middle of the trip for a one-day stop at Disney. Ked had an uncle who worked there and had offered to get us in the day after we did a program at his church.
As we stood in the Disney parking lot, trying to decide what to take into the park with us, Ked’s Dad asked if we wanted to take the video camera in. I quickly replied, “Oh no, there’s no need to lug that big heavy thing around all day!” He looked at Ked who shrugged his shoulders and said, “Nah, no need.” His Dad still looked hesitant but left the big hefty camera in the van.
Eager to make the most of the day, I reached for Ked’s backpack so we could get this show on the road. Just before my hand touched the backpack, Ked’s Dad snatched it out from under me and threw it on his back with a weird look on his face. I thought he was acting a tad strange that morning, but was too excited about the day ahead to think much of it. I figured he was just being a gentleman and didn’t want me to carry the backpack. I did think it odd, however, that he continued to carry it rather than handing it over to Ked.
We started our day at Hollywood studios (then called MGM). We went to the Indiana Jones stunt show, the Muppets 4D movie and a handful of rides before we decided to go to the next park. But Ked stopped us. “I think there’s a playground here themed after the movie Honey I Shrunk the Kids. Let’s find it. It will make for some fun pictures for our wedding slide show I’m putting together.” Always game for good pictures I happily followed as he hunted the area down on the map. His Dad took out the camera and we posed for pictures with silly faces underneath giant bumblebees and legos. As we ran around the playground like little kids, I turned a corner and stopped in my tracks.
In front of me hung a giant bed sheet that had been spray painted graffiti style and read, “Amelia will you be my wife?” His Dad and sister were standing above us on one of the play structures each holding a corner of the sheet. How they had produced it so quickly I had no idea. It was like a good magician’s trick. I turned around to look for Ked, and there he was on one knee, saying something and holding an open ring box. It was like everything happened in slow motion, and next thing I knew, a Disney employee was organizing people into a crowd around us. It was surreal. And then I realized Ked had stopped talking, and I hadn’t heard a word he’d said, but he was obviously waiting for an answer. Wide eyed, I gave the answer I assumed he was waiting for, “YES!!” He stood up, put the ring on my finger and I gave him a big hug, and then I realized that probably wasn’t the best response and gave him a big kiss. The crowd around us started to clap and cheer. I heard someone say, “Wow! That was cool! I felt like I was in a movie!” Who knows how many people’s vacations scrapbooks we are mentioned in.
The Disney employee took a few pictures for us with his Dad and sister holding the sheet. A few minutes later as my head cleared, I said to Ked, “I’m so sorry, but I didn’t hear a word you said while you were proposing. Can you repeat it for me?” He started laughing then said, “It’s a great big world out there, will you share it with me and be my wife?” I smiled and kissed him again.
I guess the glow of the new ring and my face was obvious because for the rest of the day, other Disney guests kept asking if we had just gotten engaged. Now I knew why his Dad had snatched the backpack and worn it all morning. And later, we got in trouble by his mom for not taking the video camera into the park so Dad could record the engagement for her. Oops!