Our Engagement Story

Pete’s Side of the Story

I wanted the occasion that I proposed to Mary to be fun, memorable, and romantic. I also wanted to incorporate all the things that we enjoy doing. However, before I could start planning the actual proposal itself, I had to decide where I was going to do it. Like we learned in the Army, the “Battlefield” can have big impacts on an operation. The last thing I needed was for this operation to go south. Mary and I have been known to go on a number of hikes, and we’ve found those outings rather enjoyable. We had been on a hike in New Mexico before that we both liked, so I figured another hike would be just what the doctor ordered. I picked a real peach of a hike up near Las Cruces, New Mexico. So, I knew that I would be doing this in rather austere conditions with few amenities. Any props that I might have needed had to be portable.

Now it was time to plan how I was actually going to propose. I started to brainstorm all of the things that define Mary and my relationship. The first and most obvious is the fact that I live in El Paso and she lives in Portland. I had to woo this fine lass over many miles, which for most men would be a daunting task, but for me, a mere bump in the road. To overcome this distance, we “travel dated.” We had taken trips all over the United States. So there I had my first component. I had to include traveling. I then easily came upon the second component. It also had to with the distance of our relationship. I’ve sent Mary numerous love poems over our iPhones. I had to include poems. And finally, we both like playing games. Euchre, board games, backgammon. It doesn’t matter. That was my third component, games.

Love LettersSo, I devised a game. I created a scavenger hunt. The clues would be poems recalling our travels and adventures together. But it had to be portable. So, I put the clues inside envelopes marked with the different nicknames of the States we’d been to. But, I couldn’t just give her the envelopes of the States we visited, I needed all 50. So I threw in a bunch of decoys of the States we’ve yet to visit. I tied them all up in a bow and threw them in my back pack. I figured I had it all, a fun game, romantic poems, and memorable desert view.

Now, some of you might be wondering, “Pete, were you nervous.” I tell ya, I was cool as a cucumber. There was no doubt in my mind that she would say yes, especially since I had asked her on numerous occasions if she would marry me. Her answer was always, “of course.” I felt pretty confident. Now, I was nervous when I asked her dad if I could propose, especially since we were in Bass Pro Shop, and firearms were readily accessible. Now I’ll hand it over to Mary for her side of the story.

Mary’s Turn

Pete’s made his intentions (about wanting to marry me) very clear from the beginning.

After the holidays, where we both had the chance to meet each other’s families, I figured that it was only a matter of time before Pete proposed. Both of us knew it would happen before he moved up to Portland, and since Pete is a man with a plan, I knew that it would happen on his terms, mostly likely in a highly creative and romantic way.

Before I arrived in El Paso, Pete was pretty adamant about us taking a hike during my visit. This was fairly routine for us, as it seems like every time we’re together we end up doing a hike of some sort. I found it a bit odd that he was as persistent about our hike outing as he was; for example, we were definitely going hiking on Friday, he had picked out the hike beforehand (instead of figuring it out the day of), and we brought along more supplies than we normally did.

We started the hike at the trailhead, but after hiking for about an hour it was clear to us both that we were off the original path. (We were supposed to end up at a pretty waterfall, but there wasn’t one anywhere near us.) Pete insisted on climbing up the steep hill like mountain goats (he later gave me props for going along with this impromptu plan of his), so up we climbed. Once we arrived at the top, we sat down and pulled out our snacks. After munching on our granola bars, he turned to me with an envelope in his hand and said, “I have a surprise for you.”

Keep in mind that Pete is a pretty romantic guy. So, when I saw the envelope, I figured it was a love poem (of which he writes many). So, I smiled and opened it up. To paraphrase, the letter said I had to read the following clues and figure out where to go next. (This is when Pete pulled out a stack of 50 envelope — one envelope per state.) I figured out the clue for the first state, found the corresponding envelope, and opened it up to read aloud the next clue inside.

Engagement PhotoAbout eight states in, I got to the poem that rendered me a bit speechless. The very last line in this very last poem read, “Mary, will you marry me?” I was so surprised I think I may have stuttered that last line, and before I knew it Pete was down on one knee in front of me, holding a beautiful ring in his hand and proposing. He slipped the ring on my finger, asked me if I’d marry him, and I of course said “Yes!”

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