a true story as related by one of their friends from the Tuscan
and Paul first met at a local coffeehouse in Seattle, Washington.
It was instant attraction. Because Elizabeth had lost her husband
after a long illness less than 2 years before, she was very cautious
about any relationship. She wasn’t over losing her husband-actually
she believed that she might never really be over it because they
had a wonderful marriage that had lasted over 25 years. She had
started dating casually, but that was just for companionship and
friendship. But Paul was different. There was a spark between them
that felt like the old spark that she had had with her husband.
She didn’t feel guilty for feeling that spark because she
knew her husband would want her to enjoy life and her grown children
felt the same way.
Paul was still
trying to come to terms with his wife leaving him after 28 years
of marriage. It was a shock to him and he still didn’t quite
understand what happened. He also had started dating but had not
found anyone he could relate to in any meaningful way. With Elizabeth,
he felt that he could talk forever. They had so many values that
they shared and so much to talk about.
already made plans for two weeks in the Tuscany area in Italy. She
and her mother, Martha, had rented a villa in an estate that was
converted into several small two bedroom apartments. The estate
was stone with terraces, and beautiful landscaping, and was only
30 minutes from Florence. It had always been her dream to visit
Paul and Elizabeth had been dating for 6 months when she asked him
if he was interested in accompanying her and her mother to Italy.
Allen thought it would be wonderful to see the area with Elizabeth
and her mother. Paul had become very fond of Martha.
In the next
two months before they left for Tuscany, the subject of marriage
was frequently brought up and discussed in terms of values and goals.
They met each other’s grown children and friends. Then came
The three of
them had a wonderful time exploring Tuscany: the beautiful vistas
of sunflowers and vineyards, the walled medieval towns, the wines,
cuisine, museums, and easygoing way of life. Evenings were spent
in conversation with the many people from Europe and America that
were staying at the villa too. Paul and Elizabeth grew even closer.
In the middle
of the second week of their trip, Paul made plans for the three
of them to visit Venice. They took the train from Florence to Venice
and then took a water taxi to their hotel on the Grand Canal. That
evening Allen rented a gondola for a cruise down the Grand Canal.
As a surprise, he also had a singer and a musician on the gondola.
As they drifted down the canal in the evening the lights twinkled
from the mansions and the restaurants. Elizabeth thought it was
very romantic as the musician played and the singer sang romantic
Italian love songs. Then Paul totally caught her off guard! He got
down on one knee and took her hand in his. He slipped a gorgeous
diamond ring on her finger as he asked her to marry him. Elizabeth
was smiling and laughing as she said yes. It was the most romantic
thing that had ever happened to her and it came as a wonderful surprise!
It was special that Martha was there too to give her blessings.
and Paul returned to the villa the next day, they shared their good
news with all their new friends. At dinner that night, a toast was
made to their upcoming marriage. Elizabeth looked like she was walking
on a cloud. In the next days they shared their dreams and plans
for the future. When to have the wedding, where to go on their honeymoon,
where to live after they were married-those were just some of the
decisions that they began to make together. One thing they would
never forget was the night they got engaged on the Venice Grand