Annies best picture

Annie’s Engagement

It was April Fool’s Day, 1975, when I met the gal I was going to marry. I was 36 at the time, and I was living at a large apartment complex, in a separate lanai on a small lake inside the complex. The complex was having a party for all its residences. There were about 60 or so people there that evening. I had been single now for about 2 years and only knew a few people there. I was always busy working and had started prospecting for gold on my time off.

Socializing around, I met this motherly type woman, about 60 years old, and we struck up a conversation. She said she was visiting with her daughter who had an apartment there and, after a while in the conversation, she said she wanted me to meet her. Well, that was sure fine with me. We walked around looking for her and we spotted her playing pool with a bunch of guys.

Wow! Man, I was impressed. She was an absolutely beautiful woman, blond hair, blue eyes, and a Southern Bell, according to her Mom! Her long blond hair trained down her back, and she had a knockout figure. She was maybe 5 ft 4 and could not have weighed more than 125 pounds. She was a package of dynamite!

There must have been 12 guys hanging around, watching the game – well, really watching her. I swear all their tongues were hanging out! I sure knew why.

Her Mom introduced me. This blue eyed blond looked right into my eyes and said “nice to meet you” and with that she turned her back on me, talked with a couple of guys, took her turn, and proceeded to run the table! Well, I think that was a nice way of telling me to breeze off little boy, I am playing with the guys! 

Well, that did not defeat me and I mosied around socializing for about 45 minutes, watching and waiting for a chance to catch her.  I finally did and we spent some time talking. This woman sure turned me on! She was athletic, a runner and hiker, and loved fishing. A definite outdoor girl who was an office manager for Prudential.

That began our courtship and it was one a person could dream about. We spent a lot of time outdoors and I taught her to gold pan. She would bring a fishing rod and fish some, and gold pan to.

We were on a river prospecting trip one time, and she had only panned a few times before. Me, of course being “quote” the expert, or so I thought for the two of us anyway. I chose a spot to pan there and I suggested I dig in a spot where surely gold might be, and I suggested for her to dig close by, in some bedrock that I knew surely did not have any gold. After all, I was still trying to impress here with me finding gold and showing her how to do it. I sure wanted this lady. It wasn’t three minutes when she yelled “Don, what is this I see down in this crevice?” I went over, expecting to see a small piece of lead or an aluminum pull tab, but instead I was looking down at the biggest piece of gold I had seen up to this point in my prospecting. It was at least two pennyweights!

I just looked, and started to think.  Hmmm, this gal doesn’t know that’s gold for sure and I could say it wasn’t and come back and get it another time….It was definitely decision time! Was this relationship going to work out or was this out last date? Well, she looked up at me with those deep blue eyes and that is all it took -She got the gold!  “Yep, I said, you got a beautiful piece of gold, a bigger piece than I have ever found!”  And so went our relationship, blooming and growing with love for each other.

Down the road of time for us came another decision point and this was a very serious one. I wanted to ask Annie to marry me.  This was a woman I wanted to spend my life with. The question was how to do it? I bought a ring for her but how to propose? Should I take her out to a special dinner and propose then, and do some other special thing that she would not expect?

I finally came with the answer. I had what I wanted to do. We were on another of our hiking and prospecting trips, way out in the boonies. It was a beautiful day and we were poking around, doing some panning here and there. She dug up some material in her pan, and I just had to get her away from the pan before she started. I don’t remember how I distracted here but it was long enough for me to push that new engagement ring deep down into the gravels of her pan without getting caught! Then began the wait!

Now she was already a good panner, but it seemed forever to me before she got the gravels down so that she could see what she had. Did she lose it panning? I watched her swirl the pan around, then looking somewhat surprised, she picked out the ring. She yelled at me to look. She held the ring up and said ‘see what I found? She pulled it out and laughed. “It’s a new ring” she said. Before she had time to do any more analysis, I stumbled out with the words… It is a new ring Annie……Will you marry me “?

She gave me one of those sly side looks, that made me absolutely unsure, then she smiled and said “Yes!” There began out new adventure in life.

For an adventure it was and I have many stories to tell about her, and half of them where she was doing me in, one way or another.

I was asked many times since what would I have done if she had lost it panning?  I said, tongue in cheek, “It’s simple, I would have to find another girl who could pan without losing it!” Oh sure. Do you see the picture of her carrying some hardware?