(oiginally posted Jan. 4, 2013)
So y'all probably know we're getting married...and we can't wait!! Here's the story of our proposal, and it really does involve the cops being called, a moonshine toast, and a groundhog.
How we got engaged
We had just finished our first national tour through the Midwest, rounding it out in Eureka Springs, Arkansas. The day after our very last show, we checked into a cozy little B&B that we have stayed in each time we've visited Eureka Springs. We wanted a day and a night to relax and rest up for our last leg of travel back home (about 600 some-odd miles).
The first thing we did when we checked in was take a nap. The last two weeks had been a blur of excitement and joy and exhaustion, and a day with nothing to do but take a nap felt like utter luxury.
John woke up first and went out on the little balcony off of our room. The balcony overlooks a beautiful, secluded garden that would make 'Better Homes & Gardens' shut down the printers and close up shop if they ever saw it. The day was a little bit drizzly and so quiet. We had just spent the last two nights playing in and sleeping above the biker Mecca that is the Pied Piper Inn; the serenity of that hilltop B&B couldn't have been more opposite than where we'd been the last couple of days.
Eventually I got up and went out on the balcony with John, where he was playing his guitar. He was playing something I hadn't heard before, but that really stood out to me and felt familiar. Like a perfect soundtrack to the day. I sat out there with him for awhile not saying anything. Just enjoying it. After awhile he stopped playing and we were watching a hummingbird, just taking in the quiet.
Then he said he had a present for me. He said he got me something to show how much he loved me. I came up with something ridiculous and asked if that's what it was. I think I asked if it was a groundhog. He said no. I pretended to be sad. (Okay, I was a little sad, because a groundhog would be super awesome, but I digress.)
I looked over at him and he was holding this gorgeous ring between his thumbs and forefingers of both hands. Just looking at it. I looked at him and he asked. I was stunned. We'd talked about it some, but it seemed like something that we would come back to later. Life had been busy the last couple of years.
Come to think of it, I'm not sure I ever actually said "yes." I was sitting on his knee enjoying a well-deserved kiss when the innkeeper showed up and said we had to move our trailer because someone had just called the cops about our parking job. Which all seemed very appropriate really.
All I remember of our 9-hour drive home the next day was how the sunlight kept catching the diamonds in the ring. And how excited I was to tell our families--and the rest of the world--that I was marrying the closest friend that I have ever had--the one person I have met who really, really understands me. And who I in turn love like no other.
The longest week of my life was waiting to see my parents so I could tell them in person. The night we told them, we all stood in our kitchen toasting the news with shots of apple pie moonshine. Few moments can top an occasion like that.
The story of the proposal started a few months before it happened. My biggest challenge was to keep it a surprise... I had to get the ring, carry it across the country for two weeks, and wait for the right moment to ask the big question. The hardest part was the "surprise" part--Rebecca is a certified, bonafide mind-reader, and I am really bad about keeping secrets.
This was no small task, but I was anxious for the challenge! To make things more interesting, I decided that I wanted to have a local jeweler and metalsmith friend (Erika DelGardo) build the ring by hand. Over the course of a few months, I would work very early shifts at work, which left me free in the afternoons to secretly visit the jeweler, where we designed the ring together. There are eight diamonds around the top periphery of the ring, symbolic of the year 2008 which is when Rebecca and I first met, and the top of the ring is itself a ring.
Erika did great work, and I thought it was perfect, but she was not fully satisfied (when is an artist ever satisfied, right?). A few weeks before Rebecca and I were to leave on tour, Erika melted the ring down and built it up again. This time it was perfect, and right on time for the big tour! I picked it up just days before we left on our journey.
I really enjoy that we got engaged while on our first national tour. Our life as artists and traveling entertainers is a never-ending journey, and the normal up-and-down and ebb-and-flow of life is greatly amplified for us. We experience all manner of beauty, difficulty and challenge on a regular basis. Every place we go, we are challenged, and as a result we have grown very strong together. It occurs to me that we have been living the words "for better or worse" for a few years already.
Rebecca saying that she would marry me makes me the happiest man in the world, and I am indescribably happy about this journey we share. She is a strong woman, and the only person in the world that really understands me. I respect her and love her like no other.
From our wedding website, http://stollferguson.ourwedding.com
Cheers and good times to you guys!!
-Rebecca and John