My slip on the slopes
I was at a friend's house when the call came. My brother took the message but didn't get all the details.
"You've been invited to dinner tonight at Paul Crocker's," he said. "Call back if you can make it." What he didn't mention was that after dinner we would go skiing at a nearby lighted slope.
We'd met a month before at a Christmas party, and I realized I was a last-minute substitute for his girlfriend, who couldn't come. Nevertheless, I looked forward to an evening of fun and dressed in my best blue wool dress with gold-satin trim, suede pumps, and tweed coat with the small fur collar.
No one said much about my rather formal apparel, but after dinner, when it was time to leave, Paul's mother offered me a pair of boots, socks, and skis that belonged to one of his sisters. I had never worn a pair of skis before.
There I stood at the top of the Matterhorn, as far as I was concerned, dressed totally inappropriately. Paul eyed me dubiously. "We'd better cross arms and ski down together," he said, "at least for the first time."
We crossed arms, held hands, and down we went, clear to the bottom of the hill - miraculously without falling. But once there, I was trapped. Both of my slip straps had broken, and it lay in a silken circle around my ankles! I was speechless with mortification.
But Paul was unflappable. With matter-of-fact resignation he undid my skis and simply said, "OK, now step out of it." He stuffed the slip in his jacket pocket, snapped the boots back in their bindings, and said, "OK, let's go," as though this were an everyday occurrence, no big deal.
Many years later, Paul confessed that he'd been very impressed with a gal who could ski downhill for the first time ever, without falling. I confessed that I'd been impressed with a guy who could nonchalantly take wayward lingerie in stride.
That was the beginning of what became a marriage that has lasted for almost 60 years.
His proposal took the cake
We had decided to marry. After two fun-filled and heartfelt years dining, dancing, and discovering the world together, it seemed the logical next step.
Since this was a mutual decision, well-thought-out and thoroughly discussed, it really hadn't left room for a fairy-tale proposal. The ring wasn't sprung on me by surprise, nor did he get down on his knee as we sat in a lovely rose garden.
Around this time, his parents were organizing a July 4th barbecue at their home and had extended invitations to my brother and sisters and their families. What a wonderful opportunity to make our big announcement!
But as the time got closer, we couldn't think of even one cute or clever way to share the news. So the night before, as we were discussing plans for the following evening, my beloved tried to convince me that tomorrow was not a good day to make the announcement. "We should wait," he suggested. "OK," I grumbled.
The afternoon began as an ordinary summer get-together. The kids enjoyed the garden-hose-based water toys, playfully screaming and running around the spacious backyard. After a delicious summer bill of fare, my older sister brought out her adorable red, white, and blue flag-topped chocolate brownies. Behind her came my husband-to-be with a grin on his face and a pink box in his arms. Putting it on the table, he announced that this was something special for the kids and that I should open it. The top wasn't more than halfway off when I heard my younger sister squeal, and I glanced down to see a chocolate-frosted sheet cake with pink lettering. It read: "Lorna, will you marry me?"
Lorna E. Scherff
Santa Ana, Calif.
Art imitates life; life imitates a TV commercial
The commercial came on TV in the early 1970s. I was in college and living at home. I can't remember what the commercial was selling. I do remember the ruggedly handsome outdoors man and his companion, who went everywhere with the gentleman. This was no ordinary companion, though. This companion was a bear. The bear was taken on trips into the wilderness in a small plane and sometimes in a canoe.
It didn't matter what I was doing. If that commercial was on, I'd drop everything to watch it. I told my mother I was in love with that man and was going to marry him. She laughed and told me I was being a silly college girl.
About a year later, I met my future husband. He was a ruggedly handsome outdoor type, and he had a number of companions who would have followed him to the ends of the earth. He was their keeper, you see. My outdoorsman was a zookeeper whose speciality was, of all things, bears.
We were married and are celebrating our 25th year together.
About two years after my husband and I were married, my sister-in-law was in a thrift store and found a large cardboard cutout of a man and a bear, obviously used for advertising purposes. She bought it and gave it to me because the man looked exactly like my husband.
You guessed it: I recognized him right away as the man in the commercial with whom I had fallen in love.
Many thanks again to everyone who participated. The first installment of 'love stories' from readers ran on The Home Forum dated Thu., June 28.
(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Monitor