In honor of my 13th anniversary – I meant to post this blog on May 8th –the actual day– but I fell asleep on the plane to NYC.
That doesn’t sound very romantic!
I thought I would write about how Casper and I got engaged – because it’s kind of magical –
It is so easy to get complacent and bogged down by the quagmires of daily life, that sometimes I forget the magic surrounding the beginning of our relationship. My husband insists that the same magic persists today– but I seem to remember a certain blatant flair about the synchronicities, back then, in the beginning, that first swept us off our feet.
I was in London visiting Casper who was filming Sleepy Hollow with Johnny Depp – I got an offer to star in an indie film, The Omega Code. Casper concocted a plan that he should play the role of my character’s cameraman – the guy gets shot in the opening sequence –but at least that way he could accompany me on location – which he thought was only fair, as I had flown twice to London to be with him. Not to mention that the locations were not too shabby – Italy and Israel.
It just so happened that one of the producers, Larry Mortoff, was his producer on Tarzan, so he called him up and laid out his plan.
Larry seemed genuinely surprised, “I thought you were not available until April.”
Casper responded, “No, I wrap in February.”
“Okay, give me a minute, I’ll get back to you.”
Literally a minute later, the hotel phone rang. “Casper, how would you like the lead?”
We looked at each other, in shock.
March 1999, we were on a plane to Jerusalem. It just so happened that we had 5 days off in the middle of the shoot and the production gave us a car and driver to take us sightseeing. Neither one of us had never been to Israel, and how I imagined the country would look bore no resemblance to the reality. It was so much more beautiful. We drove through the lush valley of Galilee, we baptized each other in the river Jordan, we floated in the Dead Sea, prayed at every holy site, regardless of denomination, climbed down the perilous cliff from Masada. And last, but not least, we visited The Church of the Nativity – twice. Twice, because, Casper had decided he wanted to propose to me there. I had a sneaky suspicion that he was up to something, but I didn’t want to assume, after all, we had only known each other for 6 months. It was quite a hassle going through all the checkpoints between Israel and Palestine – I had no idea that Bethlehem was in current day Palestine.
On March 17, we clambered back down into the musty crypt, and Casper slid across the marble floor in front of the manger where myth has it that Jesus was born.
He bellowed, “Will you marry me?” and then, with greater urgency, “The camera is almost out of film!”
I shrieked “OMG! Yes!” and we burst into peels of laughter. We were immediately silenced by a very sour looking priest.
Upon leaving the church, we were approached by a local Palestinian, ”I offer you 200 camels for the blond.”
I was impressed. That was a lot of camels. I had no idea, but camels can be very expensive!
Our guide explained that the Church of the Nativity is the only church in that part of the world to have survived destruction. Myth has it, that when the Ottomans invaded, they destroyed everything in sight. When they arrived at the entrance of the church, torches in hand, they saw a mosaic – which is still intact today, of the Three Wise Men – AKA The Three Kings Balthazar, Melchior and Caspar – whom they considered of Islamic descent. So, they bypassed the church and moved on to pillage elsewhere.
There is one building that was subsequently built right up against the Church of the Nativity – The Church of Saint Catherine.
I found it very poetic that Casper proposed to me in a place where out two namesakes are preserved, side-by-side, at the symbolic birthplace of Christianity, and have remained inseparable for 2 thousand years.
It felt like our union was sanctified through time.
Yeah, I know, pretty romantic!!J