Will you marry me … again?

Stop the Presses column by Chris Graham

Three years ago this month, I did just about the stupidest thing I think I could have ever done in my life.

I proposed to my wife.

Wait a second.

That didn’t come out right.

(I’m in the doghouse, big time, and I’m what? Like, 50 words into this thing?)

Ahem. Let me say that again.

It wasn’t that I proposed to my wife. It was how I did it.

Those of you fortunate (read: “unfortunate”) enough to have been fans of my column for years might remember that I proposed to Crystal in the newspaper, at the end of one of my columns that appeared for three-plus years in The News Virginian.

Those of you who are new to reading my drivel are probably thinking to yourselves right now – He did … what?Yep. I did it.

Right there in print.

I wrote the words, “Crystal F. Abbe, will you marry me?”

Then I added a parenthetical reference to how I was “waiting breathlessly for the answer,” for posterity.

If you read the words that day – Oct. 29, 1999 – you might not know that I was reading them with you, and I really was breathless, more or less.

It was either she would say yes, and we’d get hitched – or she’d say no, and I’d be …

I don’t know.

Reporting in Siberia right now.

“Where do you come from, Mr. Graham-ski.”

“Waynesboro, Va.”

“Oh, you are the man whose girlfriend said no when you asked her to marry you in the papers? Hahahahaha.”

Luckily for me, she said yes, and here we are today, on Oct. 7, 2002, celebrating our second wedding anniversary.

Thank you, thank you.

Yes, it is a cheap pop.

I’m sorry.

I thought the best way to share this news with you was to reminisce a little.

Thanks for indulging.

It’s not entirely a function of me wanting to relieve my past. I still hear from folks who wonder if that really was the way that I popped the question.

Pretty much every time I go to the grocery store.

“Was that for real, or …”

“What did she say?”

“Who put you up to that?”

“Excuse me, sir. Do you know where the automotive section is?”

It was a fairy-tale romance, this romance between Crystal F. Abbe and I – and because of my willingness to exploit every small detail of my life for the greater good of my literary ambitions, I shared it all with the world.

When Crystal was out looking for wedding dresses, I wrote a column.

When we met with the wedding planner, I wrote a column.

When we were talking about who would be the groomsmen and bridesmaids and all that, I wrote a column.

Then something happened.

A month before the big day, I changed jobs – out of the area – and the columns stopped.

We got married a month later.

In virtual silence.

“That was really mean, what you did.”

I hear that all the time.

“You had us going, and then you walked out on us.”

“You dolt.”

I’m interested in making it up to you, though.


Here goes.

He knew she’d be reading his column on her lunch break.

She always does.

She scans the ‘Net while she eats.

Sometimes, she even laughs.

As she read, she wondered to herself if he remembered that this was their anniversary.

Oh well. Maybe he would so something later, surprise her.

Wait a second. Surprise her?

Is that …

What’s he doing here?


“Crystal Abbe Graham …”

He’s down on one knee.

And is that?

A dozen roses?


“Will you marry me … again?”

UVA Basketball Fans!

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Team of Destiny: Inside Virginia Basketball’s Run to the 2019 National Championship, by Jerry Ratcliffe and Chris Graham, is available for $25. The book, with additional reporting by Zach Pereles, Scott Ratcliffe, and Scott German, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018 through to the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.

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