A Bright Proposal
Siuslaw News readers in the Florence area knew before I did what awaited me that crisp November weekend at Heceta Head Lighthouse. Although, I had my suspicions about the romantic weekend trip. We parked at the beach, and Eric was especially eager to traverse the trail we had climbed so many times. I dawdled at the lighthouse keepers residence, visiting with the chickens and stopping to appreciate the view. But Eric hurried me along with promises of a surprise. The wind took our breath away as we topped the bluff and looked out over Heceta Beach. It was the kind of clear and sparkling view that draws people to the Coast year-round. When we’d settled at a picnic bench, Eric handed me that week’s copy of the Siuslaw News, where he had been a writer until moving inland to the Ashland-area with me just a few months before. I found his advertised marriage proposal right away, and immediately accepted. The he told me to look in his coat pockets. Truly surprised and intrigued — community journalists are not a wealthy bunch, I delved into each pocket and found nothing but lint. I laughed at his charade until I noticed him patting his pants pockets and looking distressed. Recalling that he’d left the ring in the car, and feigning cold, he suggested we hike back to the parking lot. Once in the car, Eric placed a stunning diamond engagement ring on my left ring finger. “Oh, my God!”, I said. The delicate gold band and diamond cast tiny rainbows about the front seat. Now laughing and smiling along with me in obvious relief, Eric told me the story how it once belonged to his great-grandmother and showed me the 1909 inscription inside the band. Then he confessed that it was supposed to have been waiting for me in his coat pocket — not in the gravel under the car on one of the Oregon Coast’s most popular beaches! It’s a story we’ve only recently told his mother in full, but have often reflected on as one of the many signs that our marriage was meant to be. We dared dip our toes in the cold late fall surf before stopping by the newspaper office in Florence to share our good news, enjoying a seafood dinner and returning to our hotel in Winchester Bay. It was the perfect proposal — romantic and full of details that two professional storytellers could share myriad times! We returned to the coast on our honeymoon almost a year later and many times after. There is just no other place like it.