(Photo by Mark Wood)
Three decades ago, Cliff Cubbage (of Allen) proposed to his bride-to-be Linda in his car. But Saturday night in McKinney, Cliff was more public, this time asking his wife to renew their vows while on stage in front of a comedy show audience of more than 400.
“When I first asked Linda to marry me, I chickened out and instead of asking her over dinner at Red Lobster, I asked her in the car. [A couple years ago], Linda said it would have been nice if I had asked her in the restaurant,” Cliff said. “I was going to take her to Red Lobster again [this year] with everyone in the family and ask her to redo our vows for our 30th anniversary.”
Enter McKinney’s all-female comedy troupe, the Four Funny Females, who came into the picture after the Cubbages attended one of their January shows.
“Sitting there at the show, I was thinking [they] might be able to help me go above and beyond my own expectations,” Cliff said.
Cliff met with Bartlett to share ideas about a special surprise for his wife, and she asked him if he’d mind the re-proposal being built into the show.
“He said he was game for anything,” Bartlett said.
During this meeting, Cliff related to Bartlett the circumstances behind his request, which dated back to 1995 when a bad fall dislocated his left shoulder, lower back, and left ankle, and crushed his right knee, leaving him in pain and disabled.
“[At one time], I was taking 39 medications. [A few years ago], I was rushed to the hospital three different times. That last time, when my wife walked in the room, [the way] she looked at me, I knew I had to make some changes,” Cliff said. “I stopped taking 22 of the medications, I started reading the Bible and what I was reading told me I needed to fix my marriage.”
The idea of renewing their vows seemed the perfect way for Cliff to rededicate himself to Linda.
“After I heard his story, I knew we needed to make this more special than just inviting him onstage,” Bartlett said.
A few phone calls to local businesses explaining the romantic request resulted in donations of special touches for the evening: a tuxedo rental from Men’s Warehouse (in Allen), a bouquet of roses from The Lily Pad Flower Shop, a romantic dinner at Café Malaga, and sweets from Nothing Bundt Cakes. The comedy troupe also gave the couple a special-label bottle of wine from Landon Winery, and Bartlett contacted Red Lobster (in Plano), who donated a gift card.
The night of the Feb. 9 show arrived, and Cliff and Linda took their seats at the McKinney Performing Arts Center, ready for an evening of laughter followed by dinner with the family and friends attending the show with them. Cliff had taken Linda to have her hair and nails done and had bought her a red gown for the evening out, so she had an idea he was planning something.
As headliner Linda Stogner took the stage, Cliff excused himself to the restroom, when in reality he was sneaking into the MPAC Green Room where the comics helped him do a quick-change into the tux. Comics Jodi Hadsell and Sherry Belle, who had finished their sets, worked with the back-stage volunteers gathering the goodies and listening for their cue. As the show ended, Belle went into the audience to escort Linda from the front row onto the stage.
"Come on Huuuhhh-neh,” Belle said in her thick Louisiana drawl, grabbing Linda’s hand. “You're come'n with me!"
“You think you’re just here for a night out with family,” Bartlett told Linda, as they stood center stage. “But you’re really here because your husband wanted to make this a special evening for you.”
The tuxedo-clad Cliff appeared from behind the curtain, walked to center stage, handed the roses to Linda, and took a knee in front of his stunned wife. The audience cheered.
“To the world, you are just a person, but to me, you are my world,” he said, holding her hand. “Buttercup, will you be my Valentine?”
Following a kiss and more enthusiastic applause from the sold-out audience, Cliff continued.
“I love you with all my heart. Linda Marie Friend Cubbage, will you marry me all over again for the second time?” he asked, pulling the ring box from his pocket.
Barlett held a microphone for Cliff so the audience could hear the proposal, adding her own narration, “She said ‘yes!’,”eliciting more applause and a standing ovation. “And she said ‘yes’ again!”
Backstage after the show, the Cubbages posed for photos with the comics.
“I knew he was doing something, but I just thought he’d do something while we were having dinner with the family,” a beaming Linda said. “My husband’s never done anything like this. And I’ve never even seen him in a tux! I’m still in shock!”
The Cubbages will renew their vows on Sept. 4, 2013, their 30th wedding anniversary.
For more about the Four Funny Females, visit FourFunnyFemales.com. To see more photos of this event (including backstage shots), visit the MCVB Facebook page, Destination McKinney Texas.