Friday, February 8, 2013

The Best Engagement Story Ever!!

Valentines Day is coming up.  This holiday is always very special to me because it reminds me of when (fourteen years ago) my husband did not propose to me.  O.K., he was going to propose to me on Valentines Day, but I suspected his intentions, asked him about it, and ruined the would-be surprise.  So, instead he popped the question one week before Valentine’s Day.  Boy did he ever!

Our friends and family say that this is one of the most outrageous proposals they have ever heard.  The circumstances of that day were pretty crazy,  but to me it was more than outrageous.  No, it was  more like the best proposal ever!  Why?  Because it was the day that I fell for my man - literally.

As I mentioned, it was just about a week before Valentines Day back in 1999.  My husband David, then boyfriend, knew that I loved surprises.  The problem was that he could never keep a secret from me.  There is something about his eyes which, to this day, communicate to me everything I need to know.  Still, when I told him I knew he was planning to propose on Valentines Day, he was shocked!  He immediately cooked up a plan B.

David and I had made plans to go on a little snow skiing trip with a group of college friends.  I had never been skiing before (and wasn’t sure I wanted to try) but David insisted that I go.  Since he was going, I eventually agreed to the trip.  All throughout the week, David was talking me through the ins-and-outs of how to ski.  He told me all about the different levels of hills. He showed me how to stop and even how to fall gracefully.  Our friends chimed in on the lessons and the excitement for the Saturday get-a-way was mounting.

Then, right at the last minute, David told me he wasn’t going to be able to go!  He said that he had forgotten that he had agreed to speak at a church youth rally on that Saturday.  What!?  Immediately, I tried to get out of the trip but it turns out that our friends were in on it, and they were determined that I should go.

David and Melissa - February 6, 1999
I was soon to find out that David’s plan was to fake like he was going to be hours away from the mountain that weekend.  Then he was to show up in the middle of the morning disguised.  His hope was to get on the same ski lift with me without me knowing who he was.  So, in the mountain fresh air high above the slopes, he was going to rip off his disguise while, hold out a ring and then ask me to marry him.  The only problem.....well, I’ll get to that part.

When our group arrived at the resort, David’s college roommate and his girlfriend became my ski partners for the day.  Dave's roommate, Jeremy, coached me on the bunny hill and then gradually helped me to steeper slopes.  The day was going pretty well and I was starting to find skiing half way enjoyable.  It was almost noon when we came to the bottom of a small hill at the end of a run.  Then, my companions for the day just disappeared.  I mean they vanished; and in the middle of a conversation no less!

I decided to move to the ski lift to go back up the hill.  Suddenly, a tall strange man in sunglasses moved in line next to me.  I say strange because there was something about this guy that made me uncomfortable.  For one thing, it was a very warm day for skiing and the stranger was bundled up like there was a blizzard.  It was so warm that the resort had to manufacture fake snow for the day.  Many skiers were in short sleeved shirts.  This man beside me had on a full snow suit, a ski jacket, a large scarf, a hat and a ski mask.  Every inch of his face was covered.  The guy also stood so purposefully close to me that he gave me the chills.

Several times, I offered for him to go ahead of me in line; but he motioned for me to go first.  He would not talk.  He just motioned.  I honestly thought that he was from a different country or something.  I thought, “These Europeans... they can’t speak a word of English and they still hit on American women.”  (I have no clue why I thought he was European...)

My turn for the lift was getting closer.  The tall dude was still beside me.  For the final time I pleaded, “Sir, you go ahead.”  He again motioned that I go first.  Finally he stayed behind me in the line.

As I sat on the lift, (feeling relief to be away from that guy) he suddenly rushed and sat down beside me!  You know how ski lifts are - the chairs do not stop.  Instead, they kind of swing back a little to give you time to sit down.  Well, without forethought I went to leave my seat to get away, but the chair was already in the air.  The guy noticed that I was about to fall so he grabbed me around the waist and bear hugged me.

David and Melissa on their 13th Wedding Anniversary
So there I was.  There we were!  My legs dangled in the air while this man that I didn’t even know clung to me.  When I get scared, my first instinct  is to be mad.  Boy was I furious!  Without thinking of the potential consequences, I fought.  I kicked and screamed; and then it happened.  I fell of the ski lift!

Yep, the chair was headed up the mountain and I was headed down.

Thankfully, not much time had passed and we were only a story or two off the ground when it happened.   I remember landing in the snow (not very gracefully) and wondering, "now what?"  The worker at the ski lift saw the whole thing and halted the lift.   Another employee quickly came to my side.  A snowmobile also approached and a Ski Patrol / EMT was soon huddled over me asking me questions.

At that moment the strange man jumped off the lift and approached us.  I sprang to my feet while yelling to the Ski Patrol, “I don’t know this man!”  “I don’t know this man,” I repeated.  “He tried to grab me!”  David kind of freaked out.  Fearing he was going to get arrested, he quickly took off his disguise.

I could not believe my eyes!  As a matter of fact, I did not believe my eyes.  In shock, I turned again to the Ski Patrol and said, “Sir, I do NOT know this man.”

David retorted, “Melissa!  It’s me!”

Again, I did a double take and then gasped, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE?!”

“I...I....a.....”  David didn’t know what to say.

The resort employees soon understood that we knew each other.  After making sure I was okay, they left us alone and went back to their duties.  Still incredulous, I let out another gasp, “What are you doing here!?”

Poor David was still speechless.  He then reached into his jacket and pulled out a ring and stuttered,  “Will you marry me?”

Tears immediately flowed.  You can imagine the gamut of emotions I had experienced all in about five minutes!  David says that it seemed like an eternity before I responded; but I did eventually say, “yes.”

It's funny, I found out later that both David’s and I’s parents happened to be at the same conference together in a different state.  When David’s parents told my mom about his plans she said, “Oh no!  Melissa will never get on a ski lift with a man she doesn’t know.”  If only David would have known that before hand!  Well, he knows now.  What I know is that every day that goes by I love this man more.

A couple of years ago we had a Carbon Monoxide accident in our house that poisoned David and left him disabled.  Despite his physical deterioration he is still the same happy-go-lucky guy who would do anything to surprise me and make me happy.

So, that is why these few days before Valentine’s Day are special to me.  It is when an adventure started that has not stopped.  Life has never been the same.  For me, this truly has become the best engagement story ever.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Here is a video of my husband telling his side of the story....