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Jennifer N.

Our big plan on Christmas Eve was to go look at lights. Well, Rich came home and I was still in a frenzy getting things finished up and packing up bags of presents to bring to different houses. Rich sat me down and said, in his best Cary Grant, "Howsabout I take ya out for a nice steak dinner?" I replied, "Definitely! And can we go somewhere not dressy?" I had just showered and then let my hair air dry; it was a wreck and I had barley any makeup on. He said, of course, and went to look online for a place.

Well, after about fifteen minutes, I felt bad; it's Christmas Eve and I'm with my honey, so I should look nice! So, I went to plug my curlers in and I blew the fuses! So he comes out of the office and asks what happened? I told him how I wanted to look nice for him and he said, "Don't be crazy, wear your adorable little hat and be comfortable. You've been running around taking care of Christmas stuff! It's time to relax!" So, I did just that!

He had found a nice place in the neighborhood and we went to dinner. It was peaceful and lovely. I just felt myself decompressing from the mayhem of the last month over the course of the dinner. After we finished, I was so relaxed that I was actually wondering when I would finally get to see Christmas lights! We got in the car and head out.

Earlier, Rich had said that someone he works with told him about an amazing house that we had to go see, but I had misunderstood the neighborhood. So I look up after checking my phone, which I had turned off during dinner, for messages, and I have no idea where we were! All of a sudden, I recognized that we were on the street of the bar where we first met, which is no longer there. My old band was playing a benefit for the firefighters after 9/11 and my microphone stand broke, so my bass player, Jamil, called Rich and asked him to run one over. That's how we first met, officially.

I yelled out, "This is where Bud's used to be!" He said, "Where?" I pointed out where I thought it was. He pulled into a bus stop and parked. He hopped out of the car and said, "We got to get out and check this out!" Now, I'm thinking, it's late, I'm tired, and it's cold and a little rainy. I got out, knowing he wanted to be sweet and take a walk down memory lane and reminisce.

When I walked around the truck to meet Rich, he was pulling garbage bag out of the back! I asked, "Okay, what the heck is that?" He responded, "It's something funny. Don't worry about it." So, I thought to myself, this is the first year we weren't exchanging gifts, so maybe he' doing something adorable and homemade, so I just rolled with it. We got over to the window of the bar - it's a furniture store now. We we're looking in and remembering the first night we met and he started telling the story.

He lifted up his sweater and he was wearing the firefighter shirt that I was wearing that night. Then he whipped out the microphone stand from the garbage bag! I was overwhelmed with laughter; it was so sweet. He took the off foamy screen that covers the microphone and handed it to me. Inside was a ring box!

He really did a fantastic job of hiding this all from me - I was clueless! It was so special and fantastic! The middle stone is from his grandmother's ring and it just blows my mind every time. I look at it and think of the history behind it and the new history we're making with it! I, of course, said "Yes!" I still can't believe that I got engaged in that hat!

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