I know I just moved to Hendrum a year and four months ago. I know I said I was done moving, now, and everyone should just get used to it.

I was wrong.

See, I fell in love with this amazing, adorable, sexy, hilarious man who, because of low vision, can’t drive. And Google’s dragging their feet on those self-driving cars. And the aforementioned man owns his own business, so he kinda has to be there sometimes. And that business is in Fargo. And Hendrum is not walking distance to Fargo, generally speaking. And a fella likes to feel he has some control over his whereabouts.

So we started looking for a different house.

Mostly it was theoretical. It’s an interesting way to get to know someone, actually: go house shopping with them, and see what makes them shudder and what they take in stride. Fascinating and enlightening and not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

We made an offer on one house, and it didn’t take. We were fine with that. But then this house popped up on Zillow: there were no photos, but an aerial Google shot. It listed the basics: four bedrooms, two baths, 2000+ square feet. These were all things we wanted. It was in the neighborhood we’d agreed on (close enough for Rich to walk to work, on very nice days, or for me to walk to work, if the car breaks down or something crazy happens), and in the state where we wanted V to be educated (Minnesota, hats off to thee). But Rich thought looking at it would be a waste of time, because who tries to sell a house with no photos?

Still, he contacted our realtor, because he believed in my instincts. Suddenly, well, actually, about 5 weeks later, we were homeowners. (Times three, really, because I still have the Hendrum house, and he still has his Fargo apartment, and we are slowly putting all our stuff together in a four bedroom two bath house in Moorhead).

We closed on 22 November, celebrated a last Thanksgiving in the apartment, then had a flurry of moving and painting over the holiday weekend. We decided, after a lot of discussion and thought and hemming and hawing (I’m the hemmer and hawer, so to speak), that we’d be functionally moved in together by the first of the year, and V will transfer to the lovely Moorhead Middle School in time for the first school days of 2018.

For those of you keeping score at home, that’s a lot of excitement. Plus Rich had the shop’s Black Friday sale, and I’m heading into the last weeks of the semester, which are like two weeks of black Fridays piled on top of each other. And it’s Rich’s birthday tomorrow, so we planned a day of partying yesterday, with board games all afternoon, and dinner for 25 at Famous Dave’s, and ending the evening by listening to our favorite local band, the Cat Sank Trio, at our favorite Hendrum bar, Tank’s. We even got a bunch of folks to make the drive to Hendrum, which was super exciting for us.

And then! And then the sneaky Cat Sank Trio started in on a song that is one of the dearest to my heart, “Jennifer Johnson and Me.” It’s by Shel Silverstein, but I know the Robert Earle Keen version best. I couldn’t really hear, but Rich did and pulled me toward the dance floor.

Now we’ve been dating for nearly 9 months, but never had the opportunity to dance together before. I mean, there’ve been some fancy dance moves while we make dinner sometimes, but an actual slow dance in front of folks had not yet occurred. And here we were, in my hometown, the only ones dancing. Rich sang some of the words in my ear, and talked about how we’ve both known so much loss in our lives, but we’re together now, and we’ll face any thing that comes in the future together. I kept thinking I should be the one saying all the sweet things, because it was his birthday party. But he kept going. He had a picture of me in his pocket (a reference to the song), and it dawned on me then that he had arranged this: he’d gotten the band to sing this song for us. My heart grew three sizes, but I still didn’t understand.

And then he was pulling a ring box out of his pocket, and going down on one knee, and I couldn’t believe it. Like a movie scene, the whole rest of the world fell away, and it was just us for a few seconds, and my brain caught up, finally. He’d asked if I would marry him, and as soon as I could get the words out I said yes.

There, gentle readers, is the abbreviated version of how Rich and I came to be engaged, in my hometown, surrounded by our dear friends and family. I was utterly, completely surprised and overjoyed, which is fitting, since so much of the last nine months I’ve spent utterly, completely surprised and overjoyed.

We don’t have a date picked out, or even a year. We have lots of packing and unpacking to do first, and finals to grade, and Christmas sales to coordinate.

If you know anyone looking for a gorgeous Fargo apartment, or a lovely Hendrum house, please send them our way. And if you need us, we’ll be busy, but you’re always welcome to stop by our Moorhead house.

Maybe give us a heads up so we can stock up on beer.


Rich and me and the ring, last night at Tank’s.

myra and dew

This morning, we drove out to the cemetery to tell Myra and Dewey. {Image is of my left hand (with the ruby and diamond engagement ring) resting on the marble bench at my parents’ grave}.





About Jennifer

Writer teacher mama sister friend sewist poet trying to stay warm in Minnesota's northwest.
This entry was posted in Hendrum, Love, Nostalgia, Richard, Universe. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Engage

  1. Mary Skalet says:

    absolutely beautiful, as usual! Congrats to both of you fantastic people!

  2. Marlys says:

    Myra and Dewey are smiling:)❤️ Delo delo, dear girl!

  3. Shirley says:


  4. Donna says:


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