Prince George man surprises wife with refurbished ring from wedding day, 70 years ago

·3 min read

Early in their relationship of seven decades, Clarence Boudreau, 89, played a regrettable prank on his wife, Olga, 88, by giving her a bag of snakes.

Olga Boudreau, describing the moment from "a time when we were first going together," recounted how her beau had been going on about chocolate bars while clutching a paper bag.

"I was in the bedroom taking the curlers out of my hair," she said. She walked into the kitchen, and Clarence handed her the bag.

"He was talking a mile a minute and I opened the bag and there was three live snakes in there."

Olga, who is terrified of snakes, sent the bag flying and burst into tears.

Clarence Boudreau/Facebook.
Clarence Boudreau/Facebook.

So when her husband handed her a "darling little box" from under the Christmas tree almost 70 years later, Olga's first instinct was suspicion.

"I kept looking at it because he's full of jokes and tricks, eh?" she said. "So ... I said, 'Is there snakes in that?'"

But there were no snakes, just Olga's original wedding ring, re-sized to fit her after a near-fatal car crash in 2007 left her unable to wear it.

"When I opened it, he started singing a song that he had sung to me the morning after our wedding," she said, softly.

The song was Hank Snow's With This Ring, I Thee Wed and as the lyrics of the song go — "everyday you hear me say I do."

Clarence Boudreau/Facebook
Clarence Boudreau/Facebook

Olga Boudreau was 18 and a newly minted school teacher from Kelowna when she arrived in Penny, the most far-flung, remote place she could find.

The community, halfway between Prince George and McBride, was accessible only by rail.

It was there she met and fell in love with Clarence, a 19-year-old farmer and singer-songwriter. The couple settled in together and made Penny their home for the next half-century.

The Boudreaus would raise five children on their farm, become grandparents, and then great-grandparents.

Clarence Boudreau/Facebook
Clarence Boudreau/Facebook

In July, they will celebrate 70 years together — an anniversary that almost didn't happen because of the 2007 car crash.

Olga broke every rib, and Clarence had a broken back. Though they eventually recovered, spending time side by side in the ICU, the couple had to move to Prince George because Penny was too remote.

Another consequence of the crash was that Olga could no longer wear her wedding ring.

"It was too tight," said Clarence Boudreau. "So Jenny [their daughter] took the ring, had it enlarged a bit and cleaned up. It looks really nice. It's really nice and shiny now."

Clarence Boudreau/Facebook
Clarence Boudreau/Facebook

The decades they have spent together have given the Boudreaus some keen insight into marriage, though Clarence joked he didn't want to give away too much since it had taken so long to learn it.

"I guess there's certain things that you have to learn if you want to get along in marriage and one is you have to learn how to say, 'yes, dear,' and 'I'll do it later,'" said Clarence Boudreau.

"You also had to learn to say 'I'm sorry,'" said Olga Boudreau, interjecting. "That's one of the most important things in a marriage, to have a sense of humour, and to learn to say I'm sorry when you need to."

"Yeah, that's right," he agreed, smiling.

Listen to the segment and Clarence's song here: