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There were several ways I thought of asking Treasa to marry me. Since we were nearing the Easter season when I was ready to propose, I initially thought of writing the question in invisible ink on an egg, and then scheduling a day of dying Easter eggs together.

That didn’t seem romantic enough, and there was no guarantee the ink would work.

I could have done it at one of the Irish ceili dances we often attend or at an Orioles’ game, but I may not have gotten the answer I wanted had I put Treasa in the spotlight at such a public event.

Treasa’s birthday was approaching, but that would have been too obvious – plus it would have meant waiting more than a month when I was eager to propose as soon as I could.

I settled on Washington, D.C.

We had long talked about strolling along the tidal basin when the cherry trees were in bloom. Why not do it there?

On the morning of March 31, I picked up Treasa for the trip to the nation’s capital. As I stood on her doorstep when I arrived at her home, I paused before ringing the bell.

She was playing the piano – “Zing a Little Zong,” made famous by Bing Crosby and Jane Wyman in the movie, “Just for You.” I stood there silently admiring her talent – smiling in the knowledge that this wonderful person would likely become my wife one day soon. I later looked up the lyrics and discovered that they couldn’t have been more appropriate to the occasion.

Oh! Zing, zing, zing, it’s getting late my pet

We’ve got a most important date to zet

I’m sure that we will make a great duet

And we can zing a little love zong all night long.

Our first stop in Washington was the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. In a nod to the Polish heritage of my mother’s side of the family, we visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa and said some prayers before hopping on the Metro.

For several days, I had worried about rain ruining the day. Forecasters warned of a 40 percent chance of showers. The skies were cloudy and there was a slight chill in the air, but no rain appeared. Instead, kites soared above the Washington Monument on the National Mall.

I hadn’t scouted out a spot to make the proposal, but I knew I wanted to do it somewhere along the tidal basin. My plan was to wait until there was a good moment when there weren’t too many people around.

I saw my opportunity as we approached an empty bench with a nice view of the monument.

“That bench has our name on it,” I said, turning toward Treasa.

We sat, and I was ready to ask the question before I realized that right in front of us was a patch of mucky water. It suddenly seemed a less-than-ideal site, so I put the brakes on unleashing the question.

After a few minutes, we resumed our stroll along the basin. I was wearing the same Ravens shirt I wore the day I invited Treasa to a Ravens party at my house – the fateful day that brought us together. Over top the Ravens’ shirt, I sported a green hoodie emblazoned with one word: “Irish.” Treasa had given it to me for a St. Patrick’s Day present. I wasn’t taking any chances. Wearing those two shirts would give me some extra insurance.

Most of the cherry blossoms had already fallen off the branches, but there were a few trees still in bloom, their delicate petals withstanding a slight breeze.

Before long, we approached another empty bench, and I asked to sit down again. Treasa seemed a bit surprised that I asked to sit down only a few minutes after we had rested on the first bench, but she agreed.

I waited a few minutes for a man who was fishing in front of us to move along. Then, I put my arm around Treasa and felt myself filling with emotion. This was the moment.

I began telling her how much she meant to me before I knelt on one knee.

“I love you more than anything in the world,” I said, unable to stop a few tears from rolling down my cheeks. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?”

I pulled out the ring I had been carrying in my pocket, and waited for her response.

Treasa seemed somewhat stunned.

“Yes,” she said, simply.

I remained on my knees – savoring one of the most important moments of our lives and oblivious to passersby. Noticing that I was in an almost-paralyzed state, Treasa finally said, “You can sit down.”

We embraced and Treasa put on the ring. My plan worked!

After dinner in Chinatown, we returned to the National Basilica and the Our Lady of Czestochowa shrine. Kneeling in the chapel, hand-in-hand, we began our engagement by saying a Hail Mary together and lighting a candle. As we were leaving the basilica, Treasa noticed that one of the readings that was being proclaimed during a Mass in the main church just happened to be her favorite. We stopped to listen on the vigil of Palm Sunday.

“At the name of Jesus, every knee should bend,” the lector said.

Treasa is the woman I want to be my wife.

And she said yes.

–Photos by Treasa Beyer and willing strangers.

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