The Bird Cage burnt down. It was a bar in Prescott, AZ in a place called Whiskey Row. A total loss.
But this story begins at an ATM machine.
The Huntington Bank next to COSI had a high tech video remote station. You could contact Huntington Bank and open an account, dispute some drunken charges or secure a loan. Using my 1988 Honda Civic as collateral, I bought Miss Sally an engagement ring.
I took the ring home, wrapped it in tissues, snuggled it into a beer cap and then kept it in my 5th pocket of my jeans, waiting for the right moment to propose. The right moment took about three months.
Over Christmas, I bought Sally a camera. To her mom’s dismay, I didn’t propose over Christmas. While I was out of her house at the grocery, her mother set the camera on her left hand and claimed it was an engagement camera. They told me about it when I got back. I laughed, the ring safe in its tissue lined bottle cap nest.
Then towards the end of January, we went out west to visit Sally’s best friend Tanya. She lived in Phoenix at the time. We spent one night in South Mountain Park, the largest city park in the United States. We hiked up to an old helicopter pad. It was the perfect night. The sun was setting. It was beautiful. But we were drunk as all get out and I didn’t want the moment to be spoiled, even though I knew that Sally might have to be drunk to say “yes.”
Later on that week, we drove north to Prescott. We stayed in this hotel where all the rooms are themed out. Ours was the Christmas Room. Tanya's boyfriend and I decided to put on suit jackets and we all hit an area of town called Whisky Row. There were several “historic” bars in a row. Inside one of the bars called "The Bird Cage" were bikers. Bikers in leather. Bikers in chaps. Bikers with cigarettes. Bikers with hats.
We drank and laughed and watched the bikers.
Around midnight, I could take it no longer.
In this smokey bar, filled with drunks and bikers and drunken bikers, I asked Miss Sally to sit down on a stool (which almost made her taller.) I’m sure I said some really dumb things and then I pulled out the ring and I proposed.
She was stunned. And she said yes.
People ask me when I got engaged and I have to tell them that I’m not sure. It was around midnight on January 31st so it might have been February 1st. It was in a rundown, old famous bar called The Bird Cage surround by guys in chaps.
And last night the Bird Cage burnt to the ground. It was a total loss.
I'm not sure if they'll rebuild. I'm not sure if Miss Sally and I were the only ones the ever get engaged in the bar. But it's been almost 16 years since that fateful night and I am sure that if the biker bar you got engaged in burns to the ground, your wedding is not automatically nullified. But it was Arizona and you never know what the laws there are like.
I love you, Miss Sally. I think the traditional 14th year anniversary gift is leather.
Did I mention that I had a goatee at the time?
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