Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! This day holds great significance in my life. 9 years ago today I asked my wife to marry me. I thought it’d be fun to recount the story.
I made phone calls and sent emails and had it all plotted out. My brother was in on it and at the time he was living a few hours away in Akron. We worked it out that he would send a few emails to me and we’d “plan a visit to go see him”. That was the cover up. We packed our bags and headed out but instead of going west on the highway we headed east. Of course she knew something was up right away. I told her she wasn’t allowed to ask questions.
We drove to Chicago – perhaps our favorite place to go. We did some sight seeing and eventually made our way to the Navy Pier. I kept checking my watch to make sure the time was right. Then the time came. There on the edge of lake Michigan, while the sun was beginning to set behind the skyline I acted like I was going to take her picture with her looking at the sunset. While she was turned around I got the ring out. When she turned back around I was on my knee. I asked her (and she said yes) to the delight of some onlookers. (To this day we can go back and visit the very spot.)
Then I told her we had to hurry because we had dinner reservations about 10 blocks away. So we ran across town to the John Hancock building where we had reservations at the Signature Room on the 95th floor. We had to change into our “nice” clothes in the lobby bathrooms in the basement before heading up. We enjoyed an elegant (expensive) dinner overlooking the glittering city lights.
After dinner we began the long pedestrian journey back north of town where our car was parked. We passed party after party with people spilling out of bars wearing green plastic hats – over-celebrate the holiday. One man put his arm around me and told me how great I was. That was half awkward and half funny.
We stopped at a Barns & Noble to enjoy a hot chocolate before making it finally to our car. The drive home was pretty ruthless since we left at, like, midnight. We had to stop midway at a rest stop for some shut-eye so we might actually survive to see the wedding day. The final leg of the trip ended with a torturous sunrise greeting us in the east as we made it back into town.
The unfortunate epilogue is that all our photos from the trip were ruined (along with the camera) in a parking lot flood. But we still have our memories. And this day will always stand out as one of the greatest days of my life.