Man Goes All Out for ‘Anniversary’ Lunch Date at Barnegat Lighthouse

Jul 11, 2018
Photo by: David Biggy As a surprise to commemorate the day they got engaged, Jay Timmerman set up a lunch date with Raquel Rodriguez and daughter Rayne for July 5 in the exact spot next to Barnegat Lighthouse that he popped the question in 2013.

With the midday sun blazing down on him on July 5, Jason Timmerman for the better part of an hour gave the many passersby along the walkway near Barnegat Lighthouse something to watch besides the boats cruising through Barnegat Inlet and the dozens of people fishing.

He set up a sight to behold, something hardly ever seen on the beach – a blue-topped pop-up tent 65 yards east of the lighthouse shading a table tastefully adorned with a white tablecloth, red place mats and breakable dishware, including champagne glasses.

“This is a really special day for me, and this spot is a really special spot for me,” said Timmerman, a 40-year-old garage door technician from Lacey. “It means everything to me, actually. I would have had a red tent, but they don’t make them in red.”

Timmerman, dressed appropriately in a red T-shirt and white shorts, had planned something special for two important ladies in his life, Raquel Rodriguez and their 3½-year-old daughter, Rayne.

“I met Raquel on July 5, 2012, and I proposed to her, right here in this spot, a year later,” he said. “We had our daughter’s blessing here in 2015. So this day and this particular spot have a lot of history for me, and today I wanted to commemorate that.”

When the guests of honor arrived a few minutes after 2 p.m., Timmerman greeted them with – what else? – bouquets of red and white flowers. Lunch included salad, sushi and shrimp for the adults and chicken nuggets and French fries for the little one.

“Jay just told me to meet him here with Rayne,” said Rodriguez, also 40, who works as a substance abuse counselor and real estate agent. “I had plenty of thoughts as to why, but I knew not to ask too many questions because he wasn’t going to tell me. He’s always been romantic, so this is not surprising.”

However, what is surprising is that Timmerman and Rodriguez didn’t get married after all.

“We broke up Jan. 8, 2016,” said Rodriguez, also of Lacey. “Some things happened and we didn’t get married. Then we were going through some emotional stuff with Rayne. She was having some problems and she was going through all kinds of tests and procedures to determine what was wrong, and that was just too much. That’s when things went bad for us. ”

Timmerman said no matter how hard they tried to make things work as a couple, outside influences – and some of their own mishaps – kept getting in between them, and “at this time last year, she didn’t even want to look at me.”

Ultimately, the two decided remaining friends and being the best parents they could be was the way to go for the time being, perhaps forever.

“We still get along and I hope we get along forever,” she said. “We have a beautiful daughter together, and we’re not ever going to stop being her parents. We see each other almost every day, when he stops by to see Rayne before he goes to work. We’re still friends, and that’s good because a lot of people in our situation aren’t friends.”

So, why did Timmerman want to have lunch with his ex-fiancé and their daughter – by the way, also dressed appropriately in red and white – on a day that, realistically, signifies something that hasn’t developed into the marriage for which they both originally had hoped when she said “yes” five years ago?

“I wanted to change the mood of July 5,” he said. “As far as I’m concerned, this is my family, so I wanted to change the history of this day. Instead of this being a bad day, I wanted it to be special again, for all of us. This day is about us and I want it to be that way forever.”

— David Biggy

biggy@thesandpaper.net

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