Thank you all for the nice comments. Unlike Lisa I am not very good at responding to them. However, she will be back from her L.A. lark tomorrow evening, and so by Thursday you should be back in more courteous hands.
In advance of asking one of Lisa's close friends to help me gather the rest of Lisa's close friends for an unexplained gathering one frigid February Saturday night a couple of years ago, I asked her father for her hand. I then rode with her mother to the jewelry store where Lisa had seen a ring that she really loved. Betty went to the Giant supermarket next door and bought me a roast beef sandwich, and I bought her daughter an engagement ring. Then we drove back to Betty and Mike's, where I enjoyed the sandwich with my future in-laws and completely avoided the subject of why I was out at their house for lunch on a Tuesday afternoon.
I enlisted Lisa's friend as I knew her best, although I barely knew her. She herded up as many good friends as possible on short notice and with no explanation of why they were gathering. We all agreed to meet at DC Coast on Saturday night at 9:00 pm, and I had reservations for 7:30 pm.
Saturday arrived, and I had the flu. I was in bed all day, and I could have been a character in a Nyquil ad. Lisa couldn't understand why I still wanted to go to dinner, and yet I persevered and we left at 6:30 pm. On the way to the restaurant, I asked if Lisa wanted to see the FDR Memorial at night. She knew it is my favorite memorial, and she agreed even though it was bitterly cold. It was so cold and windy that I gave her my coat when we got there. Ten minutes later, by the Tidal Basin, she agreed to be my wife.
We then went to DC Coast, and after dinner, on cue and as a big surprise, Betty, Mike, and all of Lisa's friends appeared. It was a wonderful night, but Lisa had my flu by Sunday evening. Monday morning rolled around, and she was as sick as a dog. However, despite it being a very cold and rainy morning, Lisa got up to go to work. I asked her why she wasn't going to stay home, and she declared, "I have waited almost forty years for this day, and I am not going to miss this for anything." And with that she tromped off to work, where she held out her hand (and possibly some flu germs) to all well-wishers.
She then she spent the next three days in bed. With her engagement ring on her hand the whole time.