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"Maggie, do you remember the picnic we went on?" asked Jeff. "The wind blew so hard, that the blanket upset the food!"

"And what we couldn't rescue, the ants did!" laughed Maggie.

"Sounds like fun!" said Charlie.

"Maybe, sometime soon, we all could go on a picnic," Adam proposed.

It was about here, that Charlie recognized a certain tall plant with bayonet shaped leaves, and a twelve foot tall candle-like column jutting out from the center.

"Adam!" she exclaimed. "Isn't this the same plant you showed me that night you led me to Christ?"

"You remember, then!" he said, pleased that she hadn't forgotten.

"That was the most important night of my life," reflected Charlie. "But look," she cried, taking a closer look, "the leaves aren't green anymore-- they're gray!"

"That's because this Chaparral Yucca is at the end of its life cycle," explained Adam. "And yet, next year, the seeds this plant created, will eventually make more beautiful flowering yuccas. What's the end of one thing is the beginning of another," he said, taking Charlie's hand in his. "My days as a bachelor will soon be over, and a new life will begin." Here, he took out a small circle of gold and slipped it onto her left hand fourth finger.

Charlie gasped in surprise. It was her engagement ring! In the bright Mojave moonlight, the brilliant diamond sparkled and shimmered, as if a distant star had been plucked from the heavens and placed upon her finger.

"Oh! Adam!" she exclaimed, in stunned surprise, "it's beautiful!"

"I was hoping you'd like it!" he said, overjoyed by her reaction.

"I've never seen anything like it!" amazed Charlie, now showing it to Maggie, who was eager to see this long-anticipated engagement ring.

"That's not the one they showed on TV," said Maggie, "but it IS terribly pretty, Charlie!"

"Congratulations," smiled Jeff, patting Adam on the back. "I was beginning to think you weren't going to do it tonight, after all!"

"So that's why you dragged us out here in the cold!" exclaimed Charlie, still stunned by the ring.

"But, wasn't it worth it?" asked Adam, grinning excitedly. "This is the place where your life changed forever, in the BEST way possible! It was the most special place I could think of, to give you your engagement ring. Do you really like it?" he continued, for Charlie was so overwhelmed, that words were having a hard time coming. "It was designed especially for you. I looked at a lot of different diamond cuts, but I thought the emerald cut was the nicest," he explained.

"It's the largest diamond I've ever seen," said Jeff. "How many carats is it?"

"Sixteen," replied Adam.

"Whew! That must have set you back a pretty penny!" said Jeff, with a whistle of astonishment.

"Over a million dollars," replied Adam, "but it was worth every cent!"

Charlie nearly toppled over when she heard how much he had paid for the ring! She had been incredulous about the five hundred thousand dollar ring on the news, but she had NEVER expected that he would spend a million dollars!

"It's the second most expensive thing I've ever purchased," he reflected.

"The jet?" guessed Charlie, weakly.

"You got it," he smiled with a wink. "If you look on the inside of the band, I had it engraved."

Charlie numbly took the ring from her finger and held it up to the bright moonlight, but couldn't quite make out the words in the dark.

"It says, 'The greatest of these is charity,'" said Adam. "When I was asked if I wanted it inscribed, that verse was the only thing I could think of. Are you all right, Charlie?"
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