In Bakersfield, a Modest Proposal

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By: Miki Johnson

Longtime Bakersfield Californian reporter Steve Swenson believes in creative marriage proposals. Having proposed to his first wife in a column on the paper’s editorial page, he thought his “Eye of Bakersfield” blog on the paper’s Web site was the perfect place for the second time around: “I’m kind of a public person anyway, and I like to have marriage proposals be unique and peculiar to me.”

Although Mary Creswell Smith eventually posted, “Yes, yes, a million times yes,” at his blog, the proposal didn’t go quite as smoothly as he’d planned.

Swenson, who contributes breaking news to the Web site, posted his proposal at a time when he could call Smith at work and tell her to view it. But she read one of his other posts, about cell phones, first. In it, he wrote, “I have seen $900 phone bills,” a reference to Smith’s daughter.

“When are you going to say something nice to me?” Smith snapped back. Before he could explain she’d seen the wrong message, her boss came to talk to her, postponing her response for an hour, during which Swenson says he was “sweating bullets.” But after her positive response, comments poured in from their children, editors, as well as fellow bloggers who Swenson only knew through their online entries. Swenson and Smith plan to be married on a Princess cruise to Alaska on June 26.

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