Four years (and a couple of months) ago my boyfriend started acting a little strange. It wasn’t unusual for one of us to call the other at some point during the day while we were at work but we were already living together so for the most part there wasn’t a whole lot of urgent issues that we needed to talk about during the day. But, all of a sudden he was calling at least two often three times during the work day. I found it a bit odd but didn’t exactly lose any sleep over it. I just figured he was feeling a little bit insecure for one reason or another – perhaps because his girlfriend of three years was wondering if he was ever going to get on with business of popping the question.
I had devoted one lovely spring Saturday to working in my yard. There were weeds that needed to be pulled, and plants that needed to be planted. I had make it very clear that I had my plan for the day and that was that. My husband informed me that his brother and his family were at the park and wanted us to join them. Well, I seldom passed up an opportunity to spend time with our wickedly adorable niece (see Black Magic Baby ) so I hung up my garden gloves and agreed to take a short break to go play in the park.
I fired up my quirky little 1960 Beetle and off we went for the short jaunt to the park. I can’t recall if he was driving or I was driving and he was giving me directions to precisely where the family was (it’s a large park) but I do know that where we were going wasn’t making a lot of sense. Why on earth would they be playing, with a toddler, on top of a large hill covered mainly in gravel? I didn’t get it but I went along for the ride. And, wait, what is that? That is a 1960’s era 15 Window Deluxe Volkswagen bus. What the hell? My boyfriend and I were very active in the VW community, in fact I think he may have been president of the club at the time, and knew every vintage VW in town. I did not know this bus. It was a looker. We both excitedly got out of the car and went to check it out. It looked to be original (or an exceptional restoration) and was in unbelievable condition.
My boyfriend told me to get in. What? No way, I’m not getting into someone stranger’s bus. That’s just not right. Suddenly my boyfriend has a key in the lock and he’s opening the door. I am absolutely dazed and confused by now. Where did this bus come from and why on earth did my husband have a key to it? I think I was in alien abduction mode at this point, like there was a laser beam on me directing me where to go and what to do. I stopped asking questions and just got in the bus as I was told. I climbed into the drivers seat and my boyfriend walked around and got into the passenger side. As I sat there wondering what the hell was going on my boyfriend began to talk. Loving words, personal words that I don’t need to blog about, and then he told me to open the ash tray. Ok, I now what you’re thinking – the ash tray? But the ash tray on a vintage VW bus sits right in the middle of the dash and is covered with a shiny little chrome plate. I opened it, it was lined with velvet with something sparkly in it, then I realized, I was sitting in a giant ring box.
This bus, a 1961 original (not restored after all) was an engagement present. There was much excitement, of course, it was a pretty exciting occasion! But I also had to many questions? Where did this bus come from? How did you get it here? How did I not know about it? As the details began to unfold I suddenly realized what a darn good liar my future husband was! He had been working on this surprise for months and had a whole group of people involved. He had even taken a 12 hour road trip to pick it up one day when I thought he was just working late. And all of those sudden phone calls I was getting during the day? Well at that point that bus was in town and being worked on at various locations. My boyfriend knew that I often had to run around town for various business tasks during my work day so he was keeping tabs on me so I wouldn’t inadvertently see the bus and ruin the whole surprise.
To this day I still cannot believe that his secret was not spilled. There were so many people in on this plan, most of them friends and family, and some of them not known for their ability to keep a secret. But everyone pulled together and managed to keep me completely in the dark.
On July 18th of the following year we were married in a beautiful outdoor ceremony with all of our friends and family there to celebrate with us. My maid of honour and I arrived at the wedding in my beautiful bus (which my father in law had very lovingly polished to a dazzling shine).