How We Met
Alison and I first met in a Firefighter training academy where we were both recruits in our newfound careers. Both of us were in different relationships when we got hired, but as our training started, we had less time for personal life and our relationships were increasingly difficult for of us to maintain. A few weeks went by after each of us ended up in different break ups. Being in the Fire Academy, we shared a lot of the same struggles, physically and academically…and as it turned out, personally as well.
Coming from a military background, I was always the first person to criticize interdepartmental relationships, but the Academy really brought about a great camaraderie that catalyzed a relationship between us that grew stronger exponentially faster, due to having to physically train together, study together and literally practice saving each others’ lives 5 days a week, more or less, for the duration of a our 6 month academy. We were assigned to be in the same company (a 3-4 person group) together, go figure. Everything we did, was mandated by our instructors that we do it together. Perform CPR, search for victims, breath off of each others’ air supply, breach walls, carry and drag each other…you name it. Everything we did in the Academy we did together. Alison was a Paramedic when she got hired.
The first week in, she tripped up the stairs to our classroom and cut her knee open pretty badly. She didn’t cry or complain once. She patched herself up and proceeded to crawl around on her hands and knees as required in order to complete certain firefighting tasks and scenarios. Our first date was at a local brewery when we went out with some friends from the Academy.
While the drinking ensued with our new friends, we nursed a beer and really hit it off. I was really attracted to how straightforward she was and how she didn’t sugarcoat anything. A rare radical honesty that I quickly became addicted to. I am used to girls who cry and cancel dinner when they bite their tongue. It was really liberating to be with someone who was so tough, unapologetic, independent, strong-willed, assertive and at the same time very feminine. Completely transparent. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with her. We hid our relationship throughout the academy but it was pretty obvious towards the end.
When we moved in together I found a much more gentle girly side of her that she didn’t reveal in uniform. Working in a predominantly male profession, she doesn’t always get a chance to be the girly girl I have come to discover. This gave me a great sense of purpose and fulfillment, in that, I take great pleasure in making her feel beautiful and going on romantic adventures. I love her more than I can describe and I am so happy that I am going to marry her
how they asked
A few years back I read about place where a solitary mailbox was tucked away in the dunes of a remote beach in North Carolina. Its about a mile and a half from the nearest beach access and the only way to find it is to hike. Forty years ago a man placed this mailbox there for his girlfriend at the time to leave notes in a journal, hoping that others would find it and make journal entries of their own. The mailbox has since been found by many people from across the world, and is filled with journals left by the Kindred Spirits who endeavor to find it (here’s a video about it).
The mailbox, given the name “Kindred Spirt,” has gotten so popular that a local Author comes by occasionally to collect the journals where they are then archived at the Randall Library at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, thus ensuring that the passages written in their pages can viewed in the future and live on forever. When I fell in love with Alison I knew this was the place I intended to propose to her.
Before our engagement we had gone on many vacations to various places in the Caribbean, Appalachian Mountains, the beaches of the Outer Banks and many short day trips together. All of which would have been great places for me to propose. But this mailbox was still stuck in my mind. By this time I had the ring in hand for about a month or so. I couldn’t wait any longer. So on October 23, 2017 while she was at work, I drove 5 hours from my hometown in Virginia to the Southernmost town in North Carolina, Sunset Beach. When I arrived it was raining heavily, but I had to find the mailbox. I started to hike down the beach with our dog George.
A mile and a half later I found it. Standing alone with nobody around for miles in the pouring rain was the Kindred Spirit mailbox. When the rain let up for about 10 minutes, I opened the mailbox, grabbed a journal and began writing. The entry I made was not as articulate as I would have liked, but I had to write quickly so as not to destroy the journal in the coming rain. I wrote about all the things I have already told you about Alison and how much I love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her, ultimately ending the entry with the question: “Will you marry me?”
Five days later, I booked a room at a hotel in Sunset Beach, NC for us to have a weekend getaway together. I told her that we were going on a hike to find an alleged shipwreck, which was nothing more than a wild goose chase that would, unbeknown to her, lead us to the mailbox. I coordinated with her best friend Brittany and my sister Kelly to hike in ahead of time to find and decorate the mailbox with flowers and candles.
When we finally arrived at the mailbox, she was confused. Why is there a lone mailbox in the middle of nowhere? Why is is decorated? And who is it for? I told her to open the mailbox and look for a red notebook inside with a bookmarked page tabbed with her name on it. She turned to the indicated page and read the entry that I wrote five days earlier. By the time she was finished reading, I was down on one knee behind her. When she turned around I asked her again in person, “will you marry me baby?” And as the cameras peaked up from behind the dunes clicking their shutters like a covert reconnaissance team, she said yes. Her best friend Brittany popped out along with my sister and parents. She was very surprised and happy. I will replay that moment forever in my mind. I love her so much and I felt obligated to share our proposal on here, because Lord knows she’s been reading these stories and anticipating this moment for a while. I hope this inspires others to check out the Kindred Spirit mailbox. Its a truly special place.