68 days until June 9… That’s when we will mark 20 years of being married up. Thought about waiting until closer to time to post this story, but then I decided to not wait. 🙂 So.. I present the story of the day I proposed to Sarah:
We were in some classes together, Philosophy with Dr. Carscaddon for one. In that one we formed a ‘study’ group and she pretended to be wowed by my dizzying intellect. lol. So we had known each other some, but our first time ‘together’ was at Homecoming 1999 (?). After the dance thing we went to the Waffle House in Gaffney. I was relegated to the back of the Isuzu Trooper while the other crew rode up front, but I reckon she was glad I was back there.
So we did our thing for the next year. Playing spades and driving to the mountains and listening to Les Mis and going to India… you know, regular things like that. Fast forward to Homecoming 2000.
I billed it as a celebration of our anniversary. I was going to treat her to a day in the life of the last year together.
So I came to get her at Stroup, where I had grown quite skilled at throwing a piece of bark at her 3rd story window to alert her of my presence. “He’s a suitor!” GW had rules about guys going into girls’ dorms and such.
She came down and we sat in our swing in between Stroup and the music building. And I read to her. Poetry. I’m a romantic, what can I say? We did a good amount of falling in love on that swing over the past year, so it was the only place to begin.
Following my wooing on the swing, we drove up to pick up the Livermush, egg, and cheese sandwiches I had on order to go from the Snack Shop. We took those foil wrapped delicacies with us down the Greenway where we had a morning breakfast by the river.
Then we came back up to watch and follow the homecoming parade down Main St. and Stadium Drive on our way to watch the football game. We stayed til halftime or so before we went back to my apartment on campus.
I had the rooms decorated. One was set up like this place in Boone we used to go to. We had found this cave type situation with our friends Jeremy and Joy and we spent a good amount of time hiking up that way. On our way to and from Macadoo’s of course. So I had one room set up like ‘the hole’ from Boone.
The other room was set up like we were in India. Sarah lived in India for a year after she graduated high school. She worked at an orphanage with a man named Samuel Thomas (see oldest son’s name). During our year together I had the chance to go on a trip to the orphanage and surrounding areas. It was wonderful and awful. I’ll have to write about that another time–and I would also love to have Sarah write about her experiences there for some Thursday entries here at Co6…
But I was glad to be able to experience the place that had formed her so much, so I had a room set up with Chai and I had borrowed a punjabi suit from my friend and I rocked it while we sat together and had our tea.
By then it was time to head down to the Cracker Barrel. I like a good schedule. We went down and ordered our usual–split the 6 veggies and all the biscuits and apple butter you can handle. Cheap and delicious. It was great until we met some friends down there, and they got to talking, and were dangerously close to putting a kink in my schedule. Whew. Don’t worry guys… it all worked out 😉
After supper we landed at the Dover Theater to see our friends perform in Midsummer Night’s Dream. By this point, I’m getting very nervous–you see I’ve had this ring floating around with me all day in various places. Or at least the thought of the ring was floating around.
So at the play, I was fidgety to say the least, and Sarah began to worry that I was feeling sick. Nope just my natural reaction to the stress of proposing to live my life with you girl… I said to myself of course. Then probably gave her the “smoulder“.
On we went then to the homecoming dance, where it all started a year before. We did the tootsie roll probably, and assuredly the electric slide, ate all the meatballs and pigs in a blanket, and then we wandered on out to Lake Hollifield by the bell tower.
I took her down to the gazebo, opened up the Jansport, lit up a dozen or so tea candles around on the rails, pulled out the boom box (you know the kind that takes 47 D batteries, placed Wynton Marsalis Midnight Blues in the CD player, and we danced in the moonlight. And I said smooth things I’m sure. I love you girl… you make me who I am girl…. this has been the best year… who was I before you… you know smooth…
After that we walked back up to the bell tower. This was before the Tucker Center was built and my fancy Stella blue escort was parked up by the tower. Sarah, thinking this was the end of a lovely anniversary, was surprised when I suggested that instead of going to the car we keep on walking down to the legendary boiling spring.
We walked down that way and I had her sit down on a bench beside the leaning tree (which was just recently removed), and I whipped out the ring, dropped down to both knees…. listen y’all I was way to nervous and unsteady to balance on one knee. I said some more romantic things and then asked her to marry me…
And she said…
And I was like…
But, of course, it was a totally shocked and surprised and elated “nuh uh”… which was quickly followed by a yes and probably some solid making out.
I had taken the risk of informing many of our friends, and when we walked back to my apartment they were all waiting for us to celebrate–with sparkling grape juice of course–because Gardner Webb.
It was a good day.