I look away from Marta, the German barmaid at Oktoberfest whom I’m engaged in conversation with, and see Jeff down on one knee…. and with Ken’s wedding ring in his hand…
Jeff didn’t have a ring in Paris. I’d pouted after having walked out of two Parisian ring shops, still without an Engagement ring to send pictures home to my mom…
Little did I know that Jeff (being Belgian) had always planned to buy a ring in Antwerp, one of our later stops on our trip.
We’d made it to our second stop on our European trip: Munich. Opening Day of Oktoberfest. We learned that Opening Day tradition requires that we all wait until noon when the kegs are tapped for the festivities to begin. Adorn in lederhosen and dirndls, the German locals let loose once the beer starts flowing.
With luck on our side, we’d gotten into my top choice tent Hacker-Pschorr and a waitress had found us a table.
We were seated across from Ken, a forty something Expat clad in expensive lederhosen, Ken’s thirteen year old son William, Ken’s friend visiting from Minnesota, and 7 young Germans waiting for friends to arrive.
The table became more and more crowded as others showed up, everyone wanting a seat, and the atmosphere was a bit tense.
At noon the kegs were tapped, and cheer abounded under the cloudy blue sky of the tent.
The next thing I know, I’m on my third frothy litre of lager. Back at home, I’d ask Jeff to help me finish my second pint.
I’m talking with new friends, laughing and being silly, and I see Jeff down on one knee.
He pronounces his love for all to hear, in front of 6,000 new friends, and asks me to marry him. Of course I say yes, and he places a gigantic silver wedding band on my finger. The crowd erupts with cheers and applause.
I’m on cloud nine, and I find myself asking Jeff where he’d gotten a ring from???
He’d been telling Ken that he proposed in Paris without a ring and I wasn’t happy about it. Ken immediately responded with “Do you love her? Here’s my ring. Go and marry her and be happy.” He then gave Jeff his wedding ring if he’d propose then and there on the spot.
After realizing what’d happened, I thanked Ken and told him that I couldn’t accept his ring. His wife would KILL him. His response? “My wife will think it’s hilarious. Are you happy? Go and be happy and take my ring.” He wouldn’t take it back. Not being of sound mind, myself, I didn’t try much harder.
Ken’s 13 year old son soberly witnessed the entire thing…. (he’s seen shaking his head in the video, and Ken is blessing us.)
I still have Ken’s ring. It was too large for my thumb, so I bought a silver chain to wear it on when we later stopped in Amsterdam.
It turns out that someone at our table caught the engagement on video and she e-mailed it to me the following week!
It’s amazing what will happen when you let go and travel!
Stay tuned for Part 3, Amsterdam….
Do you have a crazy engagement story to share? Post in the comments section.