Last week, Gideon and I vacationed in Orange Beach, Ala., with his family. We stayed in a condo overlooking the water and hoped to ring in the new year with a beachside picnic. That didn't quite end up happening.
Early New Year's Eve, we ate lunch at a steakhouse and purchased items for our picnic at the nearby Publix, one of the three grocery stores in the area. Gideon loves Publix; he spent the eight-hour drive to Alabama telling me how excited he was to shop there.
I understood why he likes it so much when we started looking at the cheese section. Gorgonzola, bleu cheese, gouda and sharp cheddar sat among various other cheeses, making it difficult for us to choose. We settled on gouda and honey goat cheese, which we used to create sweet and savory bread toppings.
Once we returned to the condo, one of Gideon's siblings asked us to play a game of Monopoly with everyone. Seven of us played the game, so you can imagine how long it lasted. I didn't mind. Winning will do that for you. After completely demolishing everyone in Monopoly, I helped create our picnic bag.
Gideon and I packed slices of French bread, the cheeses, spicy mustard, strawberry jam, yogurt-covered raisins and wine. We topped it off with plates, silverware and beach towels. We had planned on waiting to eat until our picnic, but Gideon's future stepfather cooked everyone hamburgers and I just can't say no to a good burger.
I devoured that burger with the same vigor I had played Monopoly a few hours earlier. Did I mention that I totally beat everyone at a game of Monopoly lasting over four hours? I don't think I did.
Soon, it was 11 p.m. Gideon and I walked down to the beach and became instantly disappointed. It was raining. It was raining hard enough to deter a few kids who were setting fireworks off on the beach from continuing to do so.
Rain had been in the forecast earlier in the day, but we didn't think it was supposed to rain that night. We were forced to set up our picnic on the covered lounge by the outside pool, where rainwater caused the pool to slosh around as if an invisible splash-war were happening. All things considered, I thought that was pretty close to the beach.
We ate our food and drank our wine. It was all delicious. Around 11:30, Gideon nervously stood up and began speaking really quickly.
"I really like you and I hope you like me too. I want to spend forever with you," he chattered. "I have something to give to you."
He pulled a ring out of his pocket and handed it to me. I laughed and said no but took the ring anyway. When Gideon told me the ring was created using diamonds and sapphires given to my nana from my late grandfather, I started sobbing. He correctly assumed this meant I did -- and do -- want to marry him.
Gideon later told me that he wanted to wait until midnight to propose but got so excited that he couldn't wait any longer.
"I wanted it to be perfect," he said.
We were supposed to have a picnic on the beach, and he was supposed to propose at midnight. Though neither of those things happened, it was perfect.
And I am so unbelievably happy.
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Samantha Jones is a reporter for the Carroll County News. Her email address is CCNNews@cox-internet.com.