I know these photos don't look like much to you. But they do tell a story. And it's a good one. It even has a moral of which good old Solomon wrote.
It all started a few weeks before Christmas when a certain someone, (let's call him Solomon, in honor of the man who spoke in proverbs), Solomon, conspiratorially confided in his siblings that he had figured out a great plan, a plan involving a Christmas proposal. "It's foolproof," Solomon repeatedly told his siblings. "It makes perfect sense," he suggested to his unbelieving siblings, "Why else would (let's call this sibling Jeroboam, just because it too sounds Biblical) Jeroboam be bringing his girlfriend (we'll call her Miriam for the same reason), Miriam, to MomMom and PopPop's for Christmas? We all know Jeroboam loves MomMom and PopPop so much so of course he has chosen this time and this location to propose."
"It's foolproof," he stated, one last time.
That's all it took to plant some ideas in the heads of these siblings as well. And of course, it didn't take long for a little birdie (aka a sibling) to break her vow of silence and tell me what Solomon had so positively related to her and the other younger siblings. I texted Jeroboam, told him that I had just found out that he was proposing over Christmas and sarcastically berated him for not telling me first. He assured me that Solomon had no idea what he was talking about so I texted back, "Well then, let's make it happen. Just for Solomon." The text quickly came back, "YESSSS!"
And so, the proposal that wasn't a proposal was hatched. Solomon, it was determined, would be given the important job of photographer so he could be front and center when the proposal didnt really happen. The plan morphed and evolved and got better and better as siblings Aaron and Milcah were soon involved as well. Jeroboam was sure to tell Miriam that he would be proposing, but not really proposing and that her participation was, well, necessary to the plot. She agreed. He also met with her parents, not to ask their permission for her hand in marriage but for their participation in a fake proposal for which he did not need to ask their permission for anyone's hand. They agreed and on Christmas eve, Miriam's father leaned over to Solomon and whispered, "Get some great pictures, okay?"
Christmas day arrived and we enjoyed breakfast (minus the annual cinnamon buns, but you already know that story), church, lunch, gifts, and then a little downtime before Solomon was secretly told, "Phase 1," which meant that he was to grab the camera and a cellphone and head out to the special location (the clubhouse in my parents' community), hide himself, and get ready for some great photos. As soon as he was gone, Jeroboam gathered the rest of his siblings around, "So," he said, "I understand that Solomon has told you all that I'll be proposing to Miriam today..." Smiles all around, and no one seemed to notice that Miriam was also in the room for the secret announcement. "...Well, I'm not proposing ... but because Solomon is so sure that I am, we're going to stage it for him." Aaron is going to go along to record Solomon who thinks that Aaron is recording the proposal.
So, the threesome headed out and at some point Aaron separated from the group to join Solomon off to the side. He interviewed Solomon, even asking him for his words of wisdom for the soon-to-be happy couple. Soon enough Jeroboam and Miriam arrived at the planned location. If you look closely (a magnifying glass will help), you can see Miriam's back just behind the post in the second photo. Jeroboam got down on one knee and asked his question and just as planned, Miriam cried, threw the ring which was really just a dime, and ran away from Jeroboam. A few minutes passed and then Jeroboam dejectedly left after her.
Solomon's face in Aaron's video, at this point is priceless. He's confused. He looks at the spot which is now empty, then at Aaron, then back to the empty spot, and back at Aaron. "What just happened?" he asks, clearly baffled by this recent string of events. Aaron feigns similar confusion and at some point one of them suggests that they go in search of the ring. The search, which is also all caught on film is cut short due to darkness and cold but with Solomon's promise to come out and search again in the morning.
When Aaron and Solomon arrive back at the house, we asked Solomon where he had been, and he loyally responded (thinking he's still keeping his brother's secret), "Looking for something in the van." "For half an hour?" "Yeah," he says, although not as confidently this time.
But when Aaron comes around the corner smiling and Miriam shows up from behind a closed door, he knows something is going on even if he can't quite put his finger on it. "What just happened?" he asks again. As it's explained to him, he is congratulated for his loyalty to his brother and given a Taco Bell gift card for his troubles.
And who knows, maybe the same thing happened to the first Solomon and that is what prompted him to pen those now famous (and true) words, "Pride goeth before a fall." Except that I don't think good old Solomon even knew Olde English. But whatever. And aren't you glad you aren't a member of the King family where pranks run in the family (comes through my side, I'll admit).
Oh, and looking at the three (the only three) photos he got of the proposal-that-wasn't, I'm pretty sure he won't be asked to hold the camera for the real proposal for which Miriam insists Jeroboam needs to put as much time and effort into planning as he did planning for the fake one.