by Henry Lane Hull
In the over 34 years that I have contributed this column to the Rappahannock Record, I have tried to write about persons, events, places and, of course, animals of interest. I have considered how I write to be as important as what I write and I do not consider myself to be a news reporter. In all these years only once have I “scooped” a story, breaking news of which reporters were uninformed. That column appeared on July 1, 1993.
The “scoop” was the announcement that two days earlier I had committed matrimony and that on the day of publication I was on honeymoon between Cape May, N.J., and Niagara Falls, N.Y. That venture, which enters its second quarter-century tomorrow, had begun nine months prior when I met, somewhat by accident after a talk I had delivered, a doctor and his son in France.
In the course of one of our conversations the father mentioned that his daughter had a background similar to mine and that she was in the course of a career change. He asked if she could call me to discuss her situation. I replied affirmatively and gave him my telephone number. Several months later she telephoned and as she seemed quite nice, I asked if she would like to meet for dinner in Washington, where she was living.
We set a date and driving up to the city, I recall thinking this meeting would be more than a dinner. Fifteen minutes after we met, I determined that she was the person I was intended by the almighty to marry. We both enjoyed the evening and thereafter we spoke by telephone for three months. Then Fred Gaskins, of Rappahannock Record fame, called me to say that his daughter, Susan, the reigning queen of the Holly Ball, would like me to be the orator that year.
I replied that I accepted, then called my new friend to ask if she could come to be my escort; thus ensued her first trip to the Northern Neck. By that time my energies were directed toward giving her a good first impression. I suppose my efforts worked because for the next three months we visited back and forth, until I was scheduled to attend the Ball Polanaise at The Plaza Hotel in New York. I asked my, by then, really good friend to go as my escort and she accepted.
While dancing in the ballroom of The Plaza, I proposed marriage. She seemed a bit surprised, but did not say yes or no. Thereafter, whenever we spoke I mentioned that we were meant to be married. Finally after one such comment, she replied, “Yes. We are.” In near shock I gasped, “Does that mean that you accept my proposal?” Again, she said, “Yes.”
For the next three months we laid plans, deciding on Old Bohemia Church on the Eastern Shore of Maryland as the venue and the lawn of her father’s house on the Chester River in Chestertown as the site of the reception. The events transpired with precision, confirming my understanding that this scenario was meant to be.
Before going to France on that now fateful trip, my house had been open for Historic Garden Week. Unfortunately, during that event a small antique Staffordshire sheep figurine, one of a pair, turned up missing. When we returned from Niagara Falls we stopped at my now Good Wife’s father’s house to collect some of her things. She went back to her room and soon emerged carrying an item that she said had been in her room all her life and she asked if it was Staffordshire.
What she was holding was identical to the one that was missing. When we reached home, I reunited the two sheep, all the more confirmed that they were a symbol of our also having meant to be together.
So much for those fateful days a quarter of a century ago. Fifteen months later we were joined by the Elder B.E. and in another 15 months along came the Younger B.E., thus over the course of 39 months we went from meeting to becoming a family of four. These have been great years, filled with exciting adventures, wonderful connections to new relatives and most importantly, familial love.
When the Elder B.E. was born, in writing about his arrival, I referred to him as a Blessed Event, abbreviated to B.E. Broadening that term today, I truly can say that the last 25 years has been one Blessed Event. Deo gratias!