Saturday, March 3, 2007

THE story!

See all the engagement pictures here

I had been looking forward to March 3 for a long time because I had a big date with my amazing girlfriends Brynn, Christina, and Paris. We were going to get dressed up, go to lunch, then get pedicures – so girly!

We decided to go to On the Border, and we had an amazing time talking and laughing and eating wonderful food and watching ridiculously huge roaches (okay, roach) hang out on the ceiling after we were done eating. At some point, I looked down at my nails. “Maybe I should get a manicure instead of a pedicure. My hands need it.”

All three girls erupt in simultaneous confirmation. “YES!” they say. “You totally should!!”

“That’s a little odd,” I think, but then again, my nails do need it. Oh well.

After lunch, Brynn looks at her watch. “Why don’t we go walk around the mall for a little while before we go to the nail place?” she asks. “We can go to the puppy store!” Christina chimes in. I’m game – after all, who says no to puppies?

After a while of walking around the mall, the four of us go back out into the beautiful sunshine to drive back to the mall. “What a perfect day,” I tell Paris. Little did I know.

After we get our nails done (I got solar nails, which I knew would start to bug me after not too long, but hey, why not? They’re pretty!) Christina wants to go see Brynn’s dorm. “Why not?” I think. “I have a paper to write before Monday, but I’ll have plenty of time to do it. And who wants to sit inside and do homework on such a beautiful day!?”

When we get to Brynn’s dorm, she notices that the drill field (which is a sacred ground – nobody is allowed on the drill field except the Aggie band) has two people standing on it, all dressed up, getting their pictures taken. Brynn is furious, and is about to kick some trespassing-butt. She charges at them, yelling “you can’t be on the drill field!”

I’m squinting now as I try to keep up with enraged Brynn. “That looks like Mike and Casey Waun,” I think. They’re looking all nice and probably want to get their picture taken where Mike spent hours upon hours as an Aggie Bandsman and Drum Major.

I get closer, and Brynn is still yelling “GET OFF THE DRILL FIELD!” at them.

“That IS Mike and Casey!” I say. What a funny coincidence. Brynn doesn’t really care. She wants them the heck off her field.

We get over there and I try to talk to them, but both are somber. “You need to come out here,” Mike says.

“With the way Brynn just ripped you a new one? No way. You can come on over here,” I say.

“No, you need to come here,” he insists.

Okay, who am I to argue with a former Drum Major? He must know the rules. I’m heading out. I step over the little rope divider and carefully step onto hallowed ground. I think I heard a sniper cock his gun, but I can’t be sure.

“Yes?” I ask.

He hands me a note in a fancy envelope. “Pretty paper,” I think. It has flowers pressed into it. I open it and start to pull out a piece of similar flower-pressed paper with silver writing on it. I look at Mike. “That’s Jack’s handwriting,” I smile. I try very hard to read the note, but it’s difficult when I’m becoming more and more distracted with each passing moment. I settle on simply skimming the note: “blah blah blah drill field… blah blah blah…hard work blah blah blah hard work on relationship.” Good thing it’s in writing, because I’m going to need to read that later. Meanwhile, someone is taking pictures of me reading this note. I don’t really notice who this person is.

Brynn and Christina start walking again, and I follow. “We should go find Jack!” I tell them. “Jack’s not here,” they say, innocently. Whatever. Jack just put his friends on the drill field and gave me a note. Jack’s here, and he brought something shiny. Let’s go find it.

Next location: BQ Quad. Brynn hands me the note I’m supposed to get here, and I open it to try to read this one. Earnest attempt, but still can’t focus. “Blah blah blah, every morning I came out here… blah blah blah, love waking up to your phone calls… blah blah blah…someday wake up to you every morning.” Looks nice. Let’s move on. The lady is still taking pictures.

Location number 3: Corps Center. I see my friend Brittany Durie, and I’m completely excited. She, however, is a little disappointed. “You’re not crying!” she says, dissatisfied as I take roses from her and try to open my note.

“Will you open this for me?” I ask.

“Why aren’t you crying?” she asks as she slips the note out.

“Why would I cry? I’m not sad,” I say, as I start to glance at the note. “You know, we can just go on to the next one. I’m not going to read this.” There is a resounding objection to this, so I stand there for a little while and stare at this note, pretending to read. “blah blah blah… always stop by the corps center, blah blah blah… graduation, blah blah blah… meeting you was good for me.”

Okay! Let’s go. Brittany! Do you want to come with me? Yes? Okay, let’s go.

We start walking again and Brittany and I discuss a conversation we had had a few months before; she had told me she was annoyed when girls are taken on a walk around campus before a proposal and later claim they had “no idea what was going on until he did it.”

For the record, I make no such claim. I had every idea of what was going on, which is why it was good that he had some non-proposal surprises up his sleeve. More on that later.

“You know Brittany, I have NO idea what’s going on right now!” I tell her, sarcastically. “I have NO idea that Jack’s over at the century tree waiting for me.” Brittany laughs.

“I know,” she jokes. “I wonder what’s going on!?”

Brynn and Christina are still denying it. “He’s NOT here!” they insist in unison.

Brittany is my only ally here. “They’re being mean to me on my special day,” I tell her.

We continue walking and I think out loud, “wouldn’t it be cool if Emily [my best friend, who lives in St. Louis] was here too?”

“It would, but that’s a pretty far trip,” Christina says.

“You’re right,” I say. “She won’t be here.”

Meanwhile, my hair is falling out of its cute little twisted, curly, bobby-pinned thing I had done with it that morning. “My hair’s falling down,” I complain, and get a resounding “shut up and keep walking” from everyone else.

We arrive at location number four, the flag pole in front of the quad, where Paris Grice and Josh Robertson are standing with more flowers and another note.

“I was supposed to be at 2, but you screwed things up by inviting me to lunch,” Paris says. Oops. Oh well. I take the flowers, pretend to read the note again (“blah blah blah…honored to be a part of the traditions that happened here… blah blah blah…honored to have you in my life.”) and head on to the next location.

“Come on, guys! We have to go find Jack!” I tell them. I look up and finally notice that the stalker lady who has been following me around taking pictures is Jack’s friend, Dave's wife (accompanied by Mike at every stop), Dena. “Hey! I didn’t even see you, Dena!” I say, “How are you doing!?”

“Shhh!” everyone says, “you can’t see her!”

I look at Brittany. “I think I can see her. Can’t I see her?” I ask.

“Yes,” Brittany says. “You can see her.” Thanks, Brittany.

Location number 5: Academic building – back entrance. Natalie Michel is waiting here for me! I’m excited to see her, take my note and even more flowers (by the way, they’re getting heavy and starting to poke me with their thorns), and pretend to read again. “Blah blah blah…academic building… blah blah blah…so much left to learn about you.”

“Come on, Natalie!” I say. “We have to go find Jack!”

“No,” Natalie says, “I have to go to the bathroom.”

I figure it’s a rouse and she has to hand me a note later at another location. What I didn’t know is that she was the only one who was following Jack’s directions and actually meeting him at the proposal spot after she did her duty. When I invited everyone else to follow me, well, I guess it sounded like more fun than waiting around with Jack.

Location 6: Trigon. This is odd. That looks like R.J.! He doesn’t live here. I can’t believe he came! He’s standing with his girlfriend, who I haven’t met yet. I introduce myself and thank her for coming for my special day. I take some more flowers (because hey, I didn’t have enough of those), and pretend to read another card. (“Blah blah blah, lots of stuff goes on at the trigon… blah blah blah, I want you to know I love you every day of our lives.”) Awesome. Let’s keep walking.

Location 7: Kyle Field. It’s Dave and his entire family! What a surprise! They don’t live here either! I can’t believe 5 MORE people drove 4 hours to come see me and help Jack with the proposal. This is awesome. More flowers, another note. This time Mike is taking the pictures. “Blah blah blah, best memories at Kyle field… blah blah blah, best memories with you.”

Okay guys! Let’s walk! Dena has to become invisible again to take more pictures, but I now have quite the following of disobedient friends.

Location 8: Simpson drill field. As we walk toward the field, I see my neighbors and close friends the Bedenbaughs sitting up against that big tomb-looking thing on the MSC side of the field. They have been standing there for a long time and have decided to take a seat, with good reason. They see my posse and me coming and pop to attention. More flowers, and this time I read the card, because they insist I read it out loud. “We weren’t supposed to read it so we didn’t, but we’re dying to know what it says!!” Alright, I’ll appease them.

“I attended many reviews on this field,” I read aloud. “We had the corps awards presentations here. This is where Final Review took place every year. Final Review was a time to look back on the last year and look forward to the year to come. This is what I want to do with you. I want to look back and remember all the fun times that we have had, but also look forward to the many good times that are yet to come. You are such a positive influence in my life, and I cherish every moment we get to spend together.”

Hey, that was nice. I should read these more often.

We finally start walking to location 9, the silver taps memorial, and I see a super-skinny dirty-blonde standing with my last little bouquet of roses and note. Could it be? No way. That’s crazy…. It is!!

“EMILY!!!” I scream, and break into a run, 10 pounds of roses, 8 notes, a purse, falling hair and all. I tackle her in a giant hug and she giggles and hugs me back. He got my best friend to travel 811 miles to be here for this. I knew the proposal was coming, but nothing tops that.

Except… I look over to Sully (the statue in front of the academic building) where about 15 good-looking RV’s are gathered in two lines, and spot my dad, who is supposed to be in Scotland for work right now, standing by one of the guys in white with my mom and Jack’s parents.

“My dad’s not in Europe!!!” I exclaim.

I open the note and attempt to read it, but there’s no way at this point. “Blah blah, silver taps memorial… blah blah… I love you.”

My hair has now completely fallen in a strange twisted bobby-pinned mess from the insane run-hug I did when I saw Emily. I start to take out the bobby pins, putting them in an anonymous hand and take a rubber band from another anonymous hand (I think it was Brittany’s, actually). I can’t very well get engaged looking like that, now can I?

Later, when Jack watched the video of all the girls trying to put my hair back up before he proposed, he said “I didn’t know they were DRESSING you over there!”

Looks like it’s time to go over to the guys in white. I walk toward my parents and notice a bunch of people sitting on benches on each side of my pathway.

“That’s odd,” I think. “I don’t know any of these people.” Apperantly they've decided to hang out there to give Jack a little extra performance anxiety.

I get to my and Jack’s parents and apparently at this point the RV’s have lifted their sabers into a saber arch, which I hear can get a little heavy after a while.

Meanwhile, I’m chatting with my parents. “Hey I thought he was going to be in Europe! You look pretty!” Hug mom. “Good to see you!” Hug Jack’s mom. “I’m supposed to hug him [I point at my dad] first, so let the record show that I did.” Hug Jack’s dad. “You’re supposed to be in Europe!” Hug dad.

“This was more important,” Dad replies.

“I have to go now!” I say, and walk under all the shiny sabers the RVs are, by now, really tired of holding up. Later Jack said he was willing me to hurry up and come down the row because he has been one of those guys, holding up that saber for way too long, and it’s not very fun.

Jack is waiting at the other end right in front of the Sully statue, in a completely new outfit (is it “outfit” for guys?) that he bought special for today, and he looks smokin’.

I have yet to stop talking. “Hi guys! Thanks for coming! This looks really great! How are you doing today,” I blab to the RV's as I walk down the row.

I get to Jack, who is shaking. “I just walked all over campus! How are you today! You look really nice! I like this shirt! Is it new? It looks good on you. This is a really beautiful day,” I chatter.

Jack shushes me. (Does this girl EVER shut up??) Shakily, he takes my hands. “I love you so much,” he says. “I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you.”

He gets down on one knee, and I do a couple little excited bounces. He pulls the cutest little red box I’ve ever seen out of his pocket.

“Will you marry me?”

He opens the box and I’m blinded by the most insanely beautiful ring I’ve ever seen. Talk about bling! (I told my roommate later that I think God will let me take it to heaven, because that’s where it came from.)

I said yes - actually, I think my exact words were "Hmm... let's see.. YEAH!" (he had pretty much set it up to be humiliated if I had said no, though) and he put the ring on my finger. We walked back through the saber arch together and I got a slap on the butt by the second to last guy’s saber (traditions, you know).

Jack planned a “reception” afterwards at Abuelo’s, where I got to visit with a lot of people I love. He figured I would like a proposal like this because I got to be the center of attention, and he was RIGHT!

I’m completely excited and it still doesn’t feel very real. My only qualm about this event is that now it’s official – I’m going to have to be a HORNBUCKLE!!

But you know, I know another Mrs. Hornbuckle who pulls it off really well, and if I can make it look half as good as she makes it look, then I’ll be just fine.


Jessica Latshaw said...

I love this story--what a thoughtful and amazing husband you have!!!

Mandy and Jack said...

Yeah, he's not so bad. I think I'll keep him! :)