Beth said yes.

A few years ago, my wife and I were on a cruise ship that stopped in Bar Harbor, Maine. Bob and Beth, our great friends from Charleston, were with us, and during a boat excursion through the harbor I spotted a lobster boat with the name Beth Said Yes.

I nudged Bob to make sure he noticed the name and how appropriate it was for this pair married now for 41 years. It occurred to me that many of us guys have a “Beth” who said yes. In my case the name was Mary Lou.

I don’t know the particulars of their engagement, but it’s likely that at some point Bob popped the question and Beth replied with a “Yes!” She said yes to Bob, just as Mary Lou said yes to me. Out of all the fellows in the world, they saved their “Yes” moment for us.

For those of us lucky enough to have found that right person and have had that right person say, “Yes,” Valentine’s Day is a reminder of how fortunate we are. It says, in not so many words, that we should never take for granted the special person who completes our lives.

While Valentine’s Day is a day for cherishing the one we love, for Mary Lou and me it is also the anniversary of our engagement. Lest you think that it was a romantic, well-thought event where I got down on one knee in a planned setting with a box containing a sparkling diamond, stop right there.

That’s not how it happened. None of it. Romantic? No. Well-thought plan? No. One knee? No way. Diamond? Didn’t have one. I won’t bore you with a retelling of a story that has haunted me for the past 49 years. You’ll have to ask my wife, and she will be more than happy to regale you with the tale.

But mine is not the only story of an impromptu engagement. A couple of years ago, after writing a column with the details of our engagement night, I got a communication from a reader who told me about his. The name and many of the details escape me, but the gist of the story went something like this:

The fellow and his gal were in New Jersey on a snowy winter night. (I’m thinking it might have been Valentine’s Day, but even that bit of information is lost to my memory.) They were driving around in an area that was unknown to both of them. That happens in the dark when there is snow falling and accumulating on the ground. At some point during the evening he stopped his car in a lonely spot and asked the question. Just like Beth, the lady said, “Yes.”

Fast forward to warmer weather with sunny skies, and the couple decided to locate the spot where their romance culminated in an engagement. When they finally arrived at the spot where the question was popped, they were in front of the local garbage dump. I guess they can say they were engaged and dumped at the same time.

From my recollection of the communication, the two had been happily married for many years. Mary Lou and I have been married for 47 years, Bob and Beth 41 years. The manner of an engagement is not nearly as important as what takes place in the ensuing years.

But it all starts with someone – Beth or Mary Lou or somebody else – saying yes. And aren’t we glad they did?

Jeff Wallace is a retired editor of the Aiken Standard.