To begin this story, I must say that I LOVE NSBE! The National Society for Black Engineers is an excellent organization. Were it not for the NSBE national convention, I don’t think I would have met such a beautiful woman in such a beautiful location while keeping up with some of my responsibilities as a fledgling professional.
In the spring of 2002 the NSBE national convention was held in Orlando, FL and I attended with a group of my colleagues from Morehouse College. We rode a bus down to Orlando from Atlanta and I was very excited. It was my first national convention but I had been to Orlando before and liked it so much that I was looking forward to a second visit. Hardly had I gotten off the bus in Orlando when I saw her; she was standing with one of her friends and I with some of mine. She had such poise and elegance – such an air of confidence that I immediately noticed her but I chose to say very little lest I be mistaken for someone who was only on the trip to make passes at the fairer sex. It was all about the focus thing for me.
Later that night, I attended one of the many social events that had been put on by the NSBE organizers and there she was again. This time she was on the dance floor grooving to the sounds of my native land – Trinidad. She was so comfortable in the atmosphere that I thought she had to have Caribbean parentage. Right there and then I made up my mind that I had to meet her. I had my chance the following day. Immediately following the Career Fair at the convention, a group of AUC (Atlanta University Center) students were chatting and we struck up a conversation. Before I knew it I was telling her that I had seen her the night before dancing to Caribbean music and I complimented her smooth moves (I think those words got me my first blush :)). From that moment on, things seemed to move as though in natural progression from one enjoyable moment to the next. We had so much fun for the next few days that I felt like I had known her all my life and I had met her again after a long period of absence. We visited Universal Studios and took long walks late at night. We had meals together and she sometimes gazed at the stars in the heavens while I gazed at their reflections in her eyes in her beautiful, big, brown eyes. Yes, I was enthralled.
By the start of the summer of 2002, I was in love and hopelessly so. Never in my life had I met such a woman. She was beautiful, intelligent, athletic, and creative and she loved God. We complemented each other well. There was undeniable mutual attraction. That summer I attended a research program in Geneva, Switzerland and the thing that I looked forward to most wasn’t the great scenery and the chance to see Europe. I looked forward to Jolawn’s visit midway through the summer time. When she came we visited France together and attended a day at the Montreaux Jazz Festival. We took the most beautiful pictures together. But the best images are imprinted on my heart where nobody but me can access them. The only way to see the European countryside is in love. The end of the summer saw us officially become a couple and we have been ever since. My love for Jolawn has only grown stronger over the past two years or so and we have continued to enjoy each others company and encouragement in our spiritual walks in this life. I knew that she was the one for me and had known for some time before I proposed but I waited for the right time to pop the question. You see I’m a bit of a romantic and I wanted to make the occasion as memorable as I could. So, here’s how it took place.
I remembered that we had gone out together for the first time at the NSBE 2002 convention on the 19th of March. That evening was when we started our courtship and I wanted to use the significance of that date to ask for her hand in marriage. The convention this year was held in Dallas, Texas and I planned to attend the conference without Jolawn’s knowledge. She was a member of the General Mill’s recruiting team for the convention and I planned carefully to surprise her in Dallas. We had different travel arrangements and things went just as I had planned. I arrived in Dallas before her and did a bit of sightseeing and planning in preparation for her arrival because her flight arrived later than mine did. That was the 18th of March. The next day I dressed and attended the Career Fair just as I had done two years ago. This time was different though. This time I had a diamond ring in my pocket and an excited flutter in my heart. One of my schoolmates who did not know of my plans to surprise Jolawn alerted her to my presence in Dallas and Jolawn thought that she had figured out my surprise but she only knew part of it.
Later that night after the convention activities was when the real surprise was unveiled. I asked her back to my hotel room before we prepared to go to dinner. As she sat in a chair in the room, I opened the window blinds to reveal a stunning scene. The soft golden rays of a setting sun were being reflected and refracted in all different directions by the glass that covered an adjacent hotel building. It gave the room a sort of glow. The atmosphere was perfect. I mentioned this but I also noted that something seemed to be missing. As I pretended to search around the room for what was missing her attentions turned to adjusting the name tag that she was wearing since the Career Fair. The next time she looked up I was down on one knee in front of her holding open a small gift box with a lovely diamond ring in it. I said what my heart felt and I asked her to marry me. I think her attitude could have been described by words such as speechless, excited and surprised. I like the surprised part best because I achieved my goal. Jolawn said yes and here we are today making plans for a life together. I am a happy man.