How We Met
I met Dutch officially when I was thirteen. Of course, with our eight-year age difference and his “extraverted-ness”, we didn’t notice each other back then. As one of my sister, Mandy’s, first roommates, “Dutch” quickly became a familiar name I’d hear around town.
Years later, I ended up bartending with my other sister, Chantal, at a local tourist spot where Dutch worked as a bouncer. I didn’t think he remembered me from six years prior, so being the shy person I was, I didn’t bother to re-introduce myself. Both known for being the life-of-the-party, Chantal and Dutch ended up hitting it off. The two “fun” kids stayed together until Dutch quit the restaurant at the end of the summer.
Fast forward a few more years, and I was still bartending to put myself through college. Dutch had become friends with a few of my college classmates and made himself a regular at my bar. Although I’d become more outgoing, I found his hyper personality obnoxious and intolerable. Still, he’d always make a point to say hi whenever he came into the bar.
Years after I graduated college and left the bar scene, I hadn’t heard much of Dutch’s name. After getting a new job, I needed to find a cheap place to rent a little closer to my work. I told Chantal of my situation and she mentioned that Dutch had a spare seasonal room available. Knowing the party animal he used to be, I was hesitant to pull the trigger, but the price and the location were impossible to beat. Only a few short days after I moved in, I realized that Dutch was nothing like the person I thought he was. He was kind, caring, responsible, and finally grown-up. He was someone I’d “known” all my life, but never really “knew” at all. Within a few weeks, we made it official.
How They Asked
Dutch loves going up to his camp in the summer, and it was always our little getaway the summer we first got together. We we’re coming up on our one-year anniversary on July 4th weekend, and we decided we were going to take some time off work and head up to camp for a long weekend. With Independence Day falling on a Thursday, we planned to throw a 4th of July party that Friday night complete with a barbecue, a bonfire, and fireworks.
Dutch said to me shortly after we first got together, “If I still feel this strongly for you in a year, I’m going to propose”. By the third month of our relationship, we already picked out a ring together, because we both knew it was inevitable. So, initially I had a strong feeling he would propose on the 4th, especially since he has a knack for predictable surprises. But our 4th didn’t turn out to be the one-on-one day I’d been hoping for, and with us saving for a big move in the fall, I knew the ring didn’t fit in this month’s budget. By the end of the day, I was sure the proposal wasn’t happening, but I was still excited for our party the next night.
On Friday, all of our friends and family arrived, including a close friend of mine who’d flown in all the way from Tennessee. I was elated and amazed that everyone we invited actually made it. I spent the entire day celebrating with food and drinks, and I didn’t think much of it when Dutch said to me, “wait to have another drink until AFTER the fireworks”. Again, I’d written off the proposal so I had no idea what was going to happen next.
At nightfall, everyone gathered around the edge of the lake with their phones out, while Dutch lit off the fireworks we’d picked out together a few days earlier. Running away from the fuse he just lit, Dutch ran directly up to me. Thinking he was just going to watch the fireworks beside me, I was shocked when he dropped to his knee and pulled out our ring. He was so nervous he’d opened the ring box upside down!!!
I’d been so anxious for this moment that I didn’t know how to respond other than to laugh. By the time I managed to muster a “yes”, the moment hit me. I never thought in a million years that he would be it, but I’m so glad that he is.