The story of the green carnation

Today is St. Patrick's Day. I'm not Irish, but this is a day that I celebrate. It was thirty years ago today that I made one of the best decisions of my life. It was the day I asked my wife, Lynn, to marry me.


I lived in Cleveland at the time. I had invited Lynn to come to Cleveland for a visit. I don't remember who paid for the ticket, but I'm guessing it probably wasn't me. The second day of Lynn’s visit was St. Patrick ’s Day.  We spent the day in downtown Cleveland enjoying the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. I bought her a green carnation to pin in her hair. That night we had plans to go to a night club that sat atop the Sheraton Airport Hotel. The night club was called the Final Approach. This was back when Lynn wore dresses and high heels. She looked fantastic. I pulled out a box containing an engagement ring and said “here’s something to go with your outfit.” That was it. It was the best I could come up with. Sh didn't seem to mind the unorthodox proposal. 


Three years later we were still in Cleveland. I was running to the store to pick up some grocery items for another St. Patrick's Day celebration when I spotted a sign that read “three green carnations for a dollar.” So I bought the three carnations and proudly presented them to Lynn. It hadn’t dawned on me that it was the three year anniversary for us getting engaged. After all, how many people celebrate the day they got engaged? Lynn, however, saw the three green carnations as just that – a symbolic gesture commemorating a momentous time in our relationship. I didn’t tell her that they were three for a dollar until much later. Anyway, from that time on I would buy her green carnations to coincide with our anniversary.

On our tenth anniversary I decided to replace the green carnations with a single rose. Ten green carnations just didn't look right. The next year it was one rose and one green carnation, representing our eleventh anniversary. I haven’t missed an anniversary yet.

On the kitchen table sits a vase with three roses and a little baby’s breath. I also have a beer in my hands. We've already had our own private celebration. Lynn still looks fantastic in a dress or not. So here's to Lynn, my better half. I still love you.

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