Discovering how forever feels.

| August 31, 2011

I’ve been around the block a time or two
Done almost everything a boy can do
I’ve done some living, yeah I’ve had fun
But there is one thing that I haven’t done
I want to know how forever feels
– Kenny Chesney

My friend, Dave Lieber, proposed to his wife via a column in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It became the title of his successful book, “The Woman of My Dreams but the Dog of My Nightmares.”

I decided that I didn’t want to plagiarize Dave. I developed my own proposal plan.

I made a reservation for Jeff Ruby’s restaurant in Louisville.

Jeff was a dear friend of my father and a pallbearer in his funeral. He is now one of the most successful restaurant owners in the region. I knew that Jeff would provide the perfect dining experience for a proposal.

Karen agreed to marry me, but we had a couple of bumps along the way.

On the online reservation form, I had checked “anniversary” because I wanted a private booth. I didn’t want to make my pitch in front of someone leering from the next table.

I got the private booth, but the hostess, the waiter and the staff at the entrance kindly greeted us with their cheerful wishes of “happy anniversary!”

When Karen asked what anniversary they were talking about, I told her, “The first one.” Then I tried to give her my pitch, which I had written out in my semi-legible handwriting.

After three or four attempts to read it, she finally grabbed her reading glasses, figured out what I was fumbling around about, and said, “Yes.”

I felt like I’d won the lottery.

She later got up to visit the ladies room. On her way back to the table, she slipped and fell and broke her thumb.

We made it through dinner but spent the rest of the evening tracking down an urgent care center, getting X-rays and a cast. She had surgery a few days later.

I knew she really had to be hurting because normally she shakes off pain better than Sylvester Stallone in the early “Rocky” movies.

Karen grew up on a dairy farm. Cows have to milked and fed every day. Nobody got a day off, sickness, illness or otherwise. She is now the principal of a large Catholic school in Lexington where she doesn’t want to hear about aches and pains.

Unless she is infected with bubonic plague, Karen is going to make it to the classroom.

She will have her ring to remember our special moment. And she will also have her thumb. I’m sure it will seem funny someday, maybe after the swelling and bruising go down.

We found a ring she liked, and I purchased it. I stunned her by getting down on one knee, presenting the ring and again asking her to marry me.

It wasn’t the question that stunned her. It was that with my age and body type, I was able to get down on one knee. She was even more surprised that I was able to get back up.

Proving that, like Toby Keith, I may not be as good as I once was, but I’m as good once as I ever was.

Karen and I come from very different backgrounds. Her father is a dairy farmer in Cecilia, Ky., and her mother is a retired school teacher. Her parents and siblings have college degrees and beyond.

My father was a professional gambler in Northern Kentucky. Until this May, I was the only McNay to graduate from college and the first to graduate from high school.

Karen is media-shy. She would never brag on herself. I operate in a totally public spectrum. I tell the world about my finances, my weight, my family and what I think about the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

It would never occur to her to write a public statement about our engagement. It would never occur to me not to.

We are both very independent and have been single for several years.

During that time, she raised three wonderful children. An accountant by training, she made a career move into education. For a couple of years, she made the 200-mile round trip from Winchester to Cincinnati, two or three days a week, to get her Montessori certification and master’s degree in education from Xavier University. She then taught at a private school. Along the way she got her rank one and principal’s certification from the University of Kentucky.

She writes for well-known education publications, speaks at national education conferences, and for the past seven years has been principal at Christ the King Elementary School in Lexington.

She didn’t need me “to complete her.” Her life was complete without me.

I stay happy and busy. But, as Kenny Chesney noted, the idea of knowing “how forever feels” has an overwhelming appeal.

I look at my most successful friends and at my daughter and son-in-law. They are in stable and happy relationships.

Most of my friends have been married for a long time – or at least got the right partner on the second try. Their marriages are partnerships built on love, sharing and trust.

When you start thinking about merging families, households, incomes and what to do with the pets (her dog hates my guts; her cat worships me as an ally against the dog), it can seem simpler to stay single.

Then I look at how she adores me – which is truly a reflection of how I adore her.

So it all goes back to the Tina Turner question, “What’s love got to do it with?”

In this case, everything.

I am going to find out how forever feels. So far, it feels really good.

Columnist Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC of Richmond, Ky., is an award-winning financial columnist and Huffington Post contributor. He is the author of the book, “Wealth Without Wall Street: A Main Street Guide to Making Money,” which is available on Kindle and will be released in hardback on Sept. 20.

Category: Don McNay

About the Author (Author Profile)

Don McNay
Don McNay, CLU, ChFC, MSFS, CSSC is the best sellling author of the book Wealth Without Wall Street: A Main Street Guide to Making Money.

McNay is an award winning financial columnist and Huffington Post Contributor.

He is the Chairman of the Board for the McNay Settlement Group ( which provides structured settlement consulting for injury victims, lottery winners, and the families of special needs children.

McNay founded Kentucky Guardianship Administrators LLC, which assists attorneys in as conservators and setting up guardianship’s. It is nationally recognized as an administrator of Qualified Settlement (468b) funds.

Don has appeared on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric and over 100 radio and television programs.

McNay has Master’s Degrees from Vanderbilt and the American College and is in the Eastern Kentucky University Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Don is a Quarter Century member of the Million Dollar Round Table and has four professional designations in the financial services field.

Comments (1)

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  1. Carol Cecil says:

    Don: Karen is a very lucky lady, surpassed only by YOUR good luck! We wish you and Karen a Happy, Loving, Fun-filled life together, marked by great events and stories,but, please…don’t break any more bones to make the stories more interesting!!
    Ron and I have been happily married for 46 years and “Forever” feels great!
    Carol Cecil