Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Proposal (9/19/10)

Mallory didn't know it was coming.

From time to time she would gently needle me about it. "When are you going to propose?" she'd ask. I'd smile and say "someday," or something equally frustrating.

The night before the proposal we had dinner with her parents. She asked again, and as I shrugged it off I was thinking to myself, "Soon...sooner than you think."

About that time she said, "I bet you don't even have the ring yet!"

Little did she know...

I had the weekend off and we had made plans to go to the Applejack Festival in Nebraska City. It was a bit of a rainy day but we didn't mind. (It actually helped because it made it easier to hide the ring.) As we were leaving, I intentionally left my camera behind so that I would have an excuse to run back inside and slip the ring box into my jacket. Sneaky, no?

So off we went down to Nebraska City, the ring box poking into me the whole time. We started out at the car show downtown - how awesome is it that she likes going to car shows with me? - and it was there that I realized I had forgotten something Very Important.

No, not the ring. Otherwise there wouldn't be any point to this part of the story.

No, what I had forgotten was the battery for my camera. See, part of my plan had been to grab a random person and get them to take a picture of us...and then while they were taking the picture, go into the proposal. Good plan, yes?

Would have been better with the battery, but oh well. I still had the important item - the ring. If there were no pictures of the event, well, so be it.

Having walked the length of the car show, it was back to the truck for a trip over to Arbor Day State Park. We wandered through a craft show in a barn and meandered among all kinds of apples and apple products for sale (we came back with apple pie, caramel apples, apple wine, even a jar of apple cinammon syrup) before heading up the hill toward the Arbor Lodge, where I planned to do the deed.

We had just finished visiting the carriage house - all kinds of neat horse-drawn vehicles from the late 19th and early 20th centuries - when Mallory's phone rang. It was her mother! Knowing we were at the festival, they had decided to come down too. I think Lori suspected what I was up to, but that was okay. Time for Plan B.

While we waited for Lori, Mark, and Adrianne to arrive, Mallory and I decided to go ahead and tour the Lodge. It's a neat old mansion in a setting that reminds me of Virginia - a grand old house, all white with columns and porticos, surrounded by apple orchards and rose gardens. I had already decided that one of the porticos had to be the place, and after walking around I fixed on the south portico, the one overlooking the rose garden, as the perfect spot.

We had just finished walking through the house when her folks walked up. Go time. I asked if they could take a picture of us. They had no cameras, but they had camera phones. They'd do.

We walked around to the south portico and posed for a couple of pictures. Then I reached into my jacket, got down on one knee, and reached for Mallory's hand. She looked confused for a moment and started to give me her right hand. Then she realized what I was doing, said, "Wrong hand!" and gave me her left.

"Mallory," I said, "I love you and I want you to be my wife. Will you marry me?"

When it comes to certain questions, it is very important that you know what the answer will be before you even ask. This is one of them. Through tears she managed to get out a "Yes!" as I slipped the ring on her finger. Adrianne was taking pictures the whole time. Mallory gave me a great big hug and then started bouncing for sheer joy. It was absolutely adorable. There were hugs all around and then the phone calls began.

Finally we started back for home...engaged at last.


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