Valentines to wed after proposal in newspaper

February 21, 2005|by BRIAN SHAPPELL


Many men ask themselves the question every Valentine's Day: What's the perfect way to say "I love you?"

Robert "Bobby" Rider said he believed the perfect way to let everyone know how much he loved Nancy Grams was to propose to her in a newspaper advertisement.

Grams, who said yes to Rider's proposal, joked that it will serve as "a contract" that every day will be Valentine's Day for the couple, as promised in writing.

Like many, Rider, 68, a Virginia native living in Hagerstown, chose Valentine's Day to propose to his sweetheart. However, Rider said he wanted to do something original that everyone would notice, so he took out an advertisement in The Herald-Mail, asking Grams to marry him. He then left the page out, with a ring box, and told Grams to look at her gifts.


"I was kinda nervous at first because she said she'd never get married again," Rider said.

The two began dating in November 2004.

Grams, 63, a Martinsburg, W.Va., resident who lived in Hagerstown for more than four decades, said the young aren't the only ones who get to be romantic and spontaneous.

Grams said she was shocked and started crying upon seeing Rider's "presents."

"I figured ... why not?" Grams said. "We're not getting any younger, so go for it. Love isn't just for youngsters."

Since the Feb. 14 advertisement, the couple has felt almost like celebrities at times, Grams said.

She said it was especially the case when the couple was looking to buy a house early last week.

"(A real estate agent) said, 'Are you the Bobby Rider in the paper?'" Grams said. "Everywhere I go, people come up and say they saw the ad and asked if I said yes."

Rider said he took some ribbing from relatives and co-workers who saw the advertisement, though they were happy about the news.

"They said anybody crazy enough to do this has got to be in love," Rider said.

Rider and Grams said they met at a Knights of Columbus singles dance the day after Thanksgiving. Rider said he had generally not wanted to go to such events, but figured he'd go "that one time." Rider said he was hooked within days.

"Some things that happen in your lifetime, you just know early on," Rider said.

Grams and Rider said they plan to be married by September in a ceremony at City Park in Hagerstown.

Grams said she has not had much of a chance to relax and think about Valentine's Day 2005 because of house shopping, wedding planning and answering questions from those wondering about the proposal.

"I still say, 'Don't pinch me. I don't want to wake up,'" Grams said. "It's not real yet."

Rider joked, "It must be reality. We signed our names on the title."

But Rider was not the only one with a sense of humor about their engagement. Grams said she was going to hang up the advertisement in the bathroom to make sure Rider honors his written words, "I promise every day will be Valentine's Day."

"I said, 'It better be Valentine's Day every day,'" Grams said. "You signed your name. It's a contract."

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