I think the day I decided to marry Swankette is the day that I told her that I wasn’t asking her to marry me. Let me explain.
We took a huge trip down the Oregon coast in 2004—our second annual 4th of July Minor League Road Trip. After games in Seattle and Tacoma, Michelle drove me down the Oregon Coast to the Sylvia Beach Hotel in Lincoln City. That’s a hotel where each room is decorated in honor of an author. She got the Hemingway room, where we had a romantic evening surrounded by many, many dead animals. We then hit ballparks in Eugene and Portland. My memory is of the Lincoln City day.
We stopped at Mo’s to have cheap fish sticks over the ocean, and my nerves got the best of me. I knew that, after two and a half years of dating, Swankette and I were approaching the point of no return. I was pretty sure I wanted to marry her, but hadn’t yet worked through the deep, intense analysis that I give all decisions (let alone the most important one of my life). I was worried that Swankette was expecting a ring that trip; a ring I didn’t have. So, as we waited for our fish sandwiches, I sort of blurted out: “Swankette, I’m not going to be asking you to marry me on this trip. Just so you know.” Yeah, I really was that smooth.
Her response: She laughed. Sweetly. That oh-that-is-so-typical-of-you-to-worry-like-that laugh. It was splendid. It was precisely what I needed. It relaxed me for the rest of the trip, and relaxed me in the relationship. In retrospect, I think that was the moment that I knew it would happen. Her calmness is a really good ballast for my intensity, and that moment proved it.
So I didn’t propose on that trip at the start of July. I proposed at the end of August instead.