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I proposed to Ruth on my 19th birthday, December 22, 1970. If I had it to do again, I would have asked her two years earlier, and saved myself a lot of grief.

That day I first asked permission from her parents. Her dad was with his brother, who said, “If you are ever unkind to Ruth, we will hang you from that tree in the backyard.” He laughed, but I’m not sure he was kidding.

Mrs Huey was ironing. She later told me she almost burned a hole in the garment.

That night Ruth was leading a Christmas Cantata rehearsal at our church. I was in the choir. After that, I took Ruth home in Dad’s 1955 Plymouth. I had totaled my 1963 Falcon a few days earlier.

Fearing rejection, I decided to use an indirect approach. I asked her if she would merely consider marrying me. When she said yes, I took that as all the info I needed, and proceeded with plans to marry her.