A Waterfire Proposal

By Steven Sixt, Geo client and friend since 2008


Please don’t rain, please don’t rain, please don’t rain…

The weather report was about as useful as a wicker canoe.  It was a simple plan…

1.) Rent Venetian-style Gondola during the night’s Waterfire festival in Providence, RI

2.) Mask the outing as a late birthday present

3.) Wait for signal from Gondolier and propose (Bam!)

Seems pretty straightforward, right?  The directions provided with my new coffee maker were more complicated.  

The day started in familiar local watering hole O’Rourke’s in Warwick, RI.  As I sat enjoying perhaps the best wings this Buffalo native has ever had, I could feel the ring box in my pocket, no doubt the most important thing I had ever purchased to date.  I knew exactly what I was going to say because I had rehearsed it so many times before in my head.  The boat had been rented, the Gondolier had been instructed and the plan was in full swing.

One word came to mind when I glanced out the window and saw the first drops fall.  I’ll let you use your imagination for that one.  It was the only thing that could possibly ruin my plans.  I sat and watched Mother Nature toy with me for the next few hours. 

It wasn’t until we were sitting down for dinner near the docks when I experienced the panic.  I played it off like it wouldn’t have been the end of the world if the ride had been cancelled, but with no backup plan in place, I started to worry. 

I winked at the Gondolier upon our arrival.  He winked back in acknowledgement and handed me an umbrella.  I refused and started to pray.  We watched others board and return while a soft Rhode Island mist masked the sweat on my forehead.  And then it started to come down.  We were next in line and it was raining.  The fires on the river started to sway and flicker.  I could see it was a matter of discretion but they boarded us anyways.  We wandered away from the dock, past the floating fires and the surrounding crowds.

And then out of nowhere, the rain let up.  My prayers had been answered.  The wine was poured and I was awaiting my signal.  Signal?  What was the freaking signal?  Was he going to jab me or jump off the boat?  He never told me!  My anxiety was soon relieved as the Gondolier started singing an Italian love song.  At least I presume that’s what it was. It could have been the latest Powerball numbers put to music for all I know.  I looked at Cassie and said we needed a picture to capture the moment.  Instead of producing a camera, I pulled the ring out of my jacket and got down on my knee.  At first Cassie seemed to be more concerned with the wine I had just spilled but soon realized what was happening.  I spoke the words I had rehearsed so many times before and breathed a sigh of relief as Cassie responded with the words I was waiting to hear.   

I pulled it off!  We returned to the dock and stepped out of the boat.  I estimate a total of 45 seconds passed before the sky opened up and let loose….


Waterfire gondola trips are a great way to celebrate a birthday, anniversary, engagement, wedding, or simply enjoy a truly unique night out. Reservations are strongly recommended. To reserve your trip call: (401) 421-8877.