Hello ladies,

I apologize for my absence, not that I believe for a moment it was noticed in the least. I can’t be certain about everyone, but I am confident that for most people, this was the summer from hell.

Directions
I know where I’m heading

  I know that we all have our unique set of circumstance and problems but for a while there I was just sure it had to be a joke, sincerely, it got that bad. I am happy to report however, that the dog days are over, it looks like we got everything handled, and while I expect no instant results, I find comfort in the fact that I’m working for it.

Things took a decided turn for the better just before my best friend’s birthday…best friend doesn’t quite cover it girls, if I had a sister, she would be it, in fact she is, so let’s stick with that. My sister had been through her own personal purgatory in the last few weeks, and after successfully planning and executing a family reunion that encompassed two thirds of the population of Nebraska and providing them with fried chicken, as well as buying a first home with her boyfriend while wrangling his kids, laundry, and a summer slump in employment, needless to say, the girl needed a boost.

Her boyfriend, someone I attended kindergarden with, expressed a desire to propose marriage to my sister in the near future…he said the magic word for Beulah girls…JEWELRY!

You did say diamonds, I can tell!

After that I was a woman possessed, and after a week of back and forth e-mails, we sensibly decided to go covert ring shopping on the 18th….when she had to work late.

Before the 18th could come, a weekend festival found the four of us braving the heat for bagpipes and overpriced beer….as my sister and I peered through the stalls with their various wares…a set of toasting flutes was prominently displayed on sale, the words Bride and Groom in golden script across the crystal…I saw a look of dreamy longing on her face, the fact is these particular flutes were hideous,

I know pronounce you…god these are ugly

and if something that awful starts to look good to a woman, she needs a miracle…fast! I quirked an eyebrow at her inquisitively, “Want me to buy them for you? It could be your birthday present.” Thankfully she said no, I’m certain my credit rating would plummet if I actually purchased those, besides, she and I knew it wasn’t so much the flutes, as what they represented. “He’s taking me for a drive tomorrow..” she says looking pointedly at me. “Oh? That sounds nice! Do you know where?” I ask innocently. “No.” she replies, “He told me it was a surprise.” I turn away from her, she can always tell when I’m lying, I hate that, because sometimes you have to lie for a good cause. “Well, that should be fun.” I say and distract her with a baby sized kilt. The remainder of the festival goes without incident, even when an acquaintance of ours ambles by with a 1 carat dazzler on her hand, which she shows off with that limp wristed pride only newly engaged women can pull off….my sister smiles, congratulates her and excuses herself for a walk.

By the time her birthday comes around she’s had it, the Sunday drive turned into a trip to IKEA, and while they had a great time, I just knew in her head that was Custer’s Last Proposal Stand, and Sitting Bull scalped her engagement dreams, surrounded by moderately priced housewares and furniture. She has to work on her birthday, so does her boyfriend, her night out has turned into a night in at the folks house where they’re making chicken, and she’s pretty sure no one even bothered to get her a cake. As her boyfriend e-mails his regrets about this sub-par birthday for such a marvelous woman…a light turns on over both our heads…today is her birthday…TODAY!

It is perhaps the greatest idea ever had by two people at the same time, and if pulled off, will go down in history as one of the best capers I’ve ever been a part of. He knows what setting he wants, I know what size, we figured out the stone…but can they make it? Can they make it today? Never fear, Beulah is here, and after a conversation I’m sure the jeweler will never forget,

You want what…? By when????

they agree to have it set and sized by lunch time! Now, we just have to get her out of the house…..no worries, she never turns down an invite from me! It’ll free up her dad for a conversation that every man should have with his father in law, that way, he can come striding into the restaurant, bend down on one knee and surprise her with the ring….that’s what would have happened if she’d accepted my invitation anyway…..

Well, just because one plan didn’t work does not mean we give up……time for some tweaking! He decides he’s going to have to talk to her parents over the phone, bring them in on the plan and hope to god they can keep it under their hats for the afternoon. We’re all eating out at their favorite little restaurant, we can hand off the ring there.

It was perhaps the longest afternoon of my life, I’ve never been so excited and happy for someone else in my life. Once I got off work it took every ounce off strength not to get all gussied up for the event, but I knew if I showed up looking like anything other than the overworked mess I usually am on Tuesday nights, she would suspect something. We arrive, get a table, but before my sister can get there he calls, he’s late….we’re going to have to wait! We order some birthday margaritas and I distract her with way too specific plot summaries of the movies I watched over the weekend.

Finally he arrives! As luck would have it he sits directly across the table from me, in a moment of mind melding not seen on this side of Vulcan we lock eyes so very briefly, I thank my genetics for my unusually long arms and pass it to him under the table…she never even notices! Now that he’s got it, the time seems to crawl by while we rattle our orders off to the waitress….she opens her other gifts happily, never questioning all the pictures her dad is taking. Then he gets up, we all freeze, he kneels in front of her at the table and gives her the box, there’s no mistaking what’s inside….her eyes well up, he asks, she accepts, and looks up at us all as we clap our congratulations.

A single day, just one day that changed everything for these two people and I wouldn’t have missed it for the world. The point is dear readers, chances are, if you are invited to participate in something even remotely like this you are two things guaranteed: A good friend and very fortunate.

So for future reference to all the ladies out there, remember to always know your best friend’s ring size and the number of a good jeweler….you just might help to change her life one day.

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