FROM READERS: Columbia author shares his proposal story

Thursday, October 25, 2012 | 10:00 a.m. CDT; updated 11:40 a.m. CDT, Thursday, October 25, 2012
Joe and Betty Dillard are shown in 1960. This is the picture Joe carries in his wallet. (He likes to tell people he was married before color film, though of course it's not true.)

*CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story misstated the relationship of the quiz author to Joe Dillard.

Joe G. Dillard, a longtime Columbia resident, recently published his first book, "A Full Cup of Joe," a humorous autobiography of his funny life experiences thus far.

The quiz below was contributed by Dillard's nephew*, Andrew R. Killen. 

Sweet Beginnings – A story from “A Full Cup of Joe”

If you can ace the quiz about this story below, you have:  A. Already read it in “A Full Cup of Joe”, B. Are just plain lucky, C. Should read the "rest of the story" below, or D.  You are a member of the Dillard family who are tired of hearing this story. 

So, here is the quiz.

Joe proposed to his wife Betty by having her: 

A.      Close her eyes while eating.

B.      Look at the score board in the stadium.

C.      Reach for a Life Saver and find a ring.

D.      Check her pocket for the car keys.

All are good answers, but the real answer is: C. Now, for the rest of the story. 

Sweet Beginnings. 

This is a story of our engagement.  Betty and I had been going together for over two years and things were progressing nicely.  I thought it was about time we took it up a notch as the saying goes. And, as is my style, it had to be something just a bit different and quite special.

Well it came to pass that Tom Adams, our minister at Liberty Methodist Church, about 8 miles south of Chillicothe, who was living in Kansas City at the time, decided to have our youth group up to his house for an evening meal and worship one Saturday night.

After a wonderful meal prepared by his wife, Luella, I whipped out a roll of Life Savers, took one, and passed them on to Betty.  She reached in to get one and it turned out to be an engagement ring. What a surprise that was to her and everyone else in attendance. That was in 1959, but it is still a very sweet memory!

We celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary on June 25, 2010 with a reception on June 27 for friends and family. And surprise of surprises, Tom and Luella plus the Reverend Lee Ray Russell and his wife Louise (yep, it took two preachers to get us hitched) were there to help us celebrate.

At the time, I told several friends that the preachers that married us would help us celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary, and they said, “Oh my God, how old are they anyway!” Well, they aren’t that old, and believe it or not, we see Tom and Luella regularly since we all live in Columbia.  What a blessing it is to have such a good marriage and such good friends. 

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer. 

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