Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Our Story III: A Happy St. Joseph's Day

Editor: See Part 1 & Part 2 of Our Story!

(Mary Clare writing) Well, things have been pretty crazy for both of us between wedding planning and school, but I want to finish out our story.

A month after our first date, Dan came to my house for Sunday dinner. This is quite a daunting task, considering that I have five brothers and a sister. Everyone made sure to be there to meet this guy... Anyway, Dan and I were "official" by this time and that week-end I had attended a spiritual exercises retreat. I prayed about our relationship and I really felt that God had blessed me with the right person when I wasn't even looking or expecting it. I felt confirmed in the intuition that Dan was the person I was going to marry. The dinner went fine and Dan blended in really well with my brothers. From the very beginning, he just belonged.

Fast forward through several months... We covered a lot of ground. Some of the more momentous occasions: Dan helped convince me not to go to law school (Editor: this is still one of my prouder achievements); Dan got me to try (and then sorta like) sushi; Dan went on spiritual exercises and joined Regnum Christi; we started singing in a Latin Mass choir in Brooklyn; Dan (a huge classic rock and blues fan) took me to several concerts, including Eric Clapton, the Who, and B.B. King; I took Dan to several Mets games (the first time he brought a philosophy book with him!!), including Game 6 of the NLCS (the last game the Mets won in '06); Dan started teaching Intro to Philosophy at Brooklyn College; we saw Dan's nephew, Chris, play hockey before a Ranger's game; we threw a raucous Christmas/Birthday Party for Dan; we celebrated our first Valentine's Day by driving to Stella's (an awesome Italian restaurant) in an ice storm and a lot more I can't think of right now.

Around the time of our anniversary, we started seriously thinking about wedding dates and getting engaged. I dropped not-so-subtle hints like opening up diamond web sites and educating him about the 4C's of diamonds (for those who haven't ventured into engagement-land yet, that's carat, color, cut and clarity). Fortunately for Dan, his Aunt Lily happens to work in the diamond district.

Anyway, in March I went away for the week-end to help out at a retreat and while I was away, Dan visited the family for St. Paddy's Day dinner. He served as the token (half) Irishman (Editor: I'm a "gimmick" for those in the know). From what I hear, he very red-facedly and nervously asked my Dad for permission to take me off his hands. As Dan says (and as almost anyone will agree), my Dad cuts an imposing figure. Rumor has it that the evening concluded with an uncomfortable man-hug, and that my Dad did the dance that Mini-Me does in the Geico commercial. Also, to my chagrin, Dan showed everyone the ring before I saw it (Editor: hee hee!).

I wasn't sure of the date that Dan would propose, but he did tell me that it would be on a feast day in March. I suspected St. Joseph, but the Annunciation was also a possibility. Well, on St. Joseph's Day, I agreed to meet him at the Church of Our Saviour (the site of our first date) for noon Mass. Dan was dressed sorta spiffy and seemed nervous, so I knew something was up. After Mass, we went over to pray in front of the St. Joseph statue located just to the right of the altar. We prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and then Dan pulled out a St. Joseph prayer card that we read together. I sat back down in the pew, but while Dan was still kneeling, he turned around and showed me the ring and asked me to marry him. I guess I started crying and Dan didn't hear me say 'yes.' At that point, the 1:00PM Mass was starting and we hastened out of the church, me with eye make-up streaked down my cheeks. I made a bunch of calls and we went for sushi (Dan had taken me for sushi on one of our first dates and I was thoroughly repulsed, but since he was so enthusiastic about it, I started trying different things and now we go on special occasions. I still gag on eel or salmon roe...(Editor: she doesn't know what she's missing...))

So, that was our very happy St. Joseph's Day. A few weeks later I got a little upset with Dan (Editor: this has been known to happen from time to time ;-)) and I happened to be going into the city, so I stopped in Our Saviour to pray to our St. Joe. I realized that he had been engaged too and had hit quite a stumbling block during that time, so, IMHO he should be the Patron Saint of engaged couples. Well, at least we made him our patron during our engagement. At right is a picture of St. Joseph at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Island. I scratched our initials and wedding date on a rock there. Sancte Joseph, ora pro nobis!

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