I suggested to Humu that we take a vacation day from work on her birthday so we could spend time at places in our old neighborhood. I planned to propose to her but I didn’t tell her that, of course. She said that she thought it was a nice idea, but that she didn’t think it was a good idea for her to take a vacation day at that time. I started plotting Plan B for the proposal, which involved having our friend Jessica put flowers and other things in the house while we were out the day after her birthday.
The morning of her birthday (Friday, September 25), she said that she could go in to work a little late. Good enough! I called off Plan B.
We went to La Boulange de Cole for coffee and breakfast. When we lived a few blocks away from Boulange, we would go there three or four times a week for coffee and breakfast. I still go for lunch frequently because I work in the neighborhood, but this was the first time Humu went there since moving away from the neighborhood. John and Tim behind the counter greeted her enthusiastically. John topped our coffee drinks with awesome barista artwork. Tim put our name in for our order as some variation on Jefferson because the capital of Missouri is Jefferson City. (This requires some explanation. Some other time. You’re here to read about the proposal.)
After we ordered, we stood in our usual place waiting for our drinks. I took Humu’s hand, looked her in the eye, and got down on one knee. I told her that I loved her, that she was the most important thing in my life, and that I wanted to grow old with her. I asked her to marry me. She didn’t say “Yes.” Instead, she answered in a variation of our favorite Bernard Purdie quotation. She said, teary-eyed, “I would like that very much.”
While all of that was going on, another customer needed to get to the bathroom behind me. He was oblivious to the significance of a guy on one knee talking to his lady-friend. While I was speaking, he said, “Excuse me,” and pointed at the bathroom. He bumped into me to get by. He hit my foot with the door. It was pretty awesome, actually.
John and Tim didn’t see what I did, so they had no idea what happened either. Humu told them on our way out. They started clapping for us. Their coworker also started clapping although I’m pretty sure she had no idea why they were applauding.
We immediately walked to the lawn bowling courts in Golden Gate Park. On our way there, we called our mothers, et cetera. Had I known earlier that we would have time to head to the lawn bowling courts, I probably would have proposed there. We would often sit there and watch older couples lawn bowling. It’s a good thing I didn’t know we were going there because the weather was poor. I’m happy to have proposed in a coffee shop.