The four of us went to dinner that first night aboard the Inspiration and found our places. Due to our numbers we were seated with 4 handsome recent college grads. Not a bad way to start a trip. Each night after dinner it became ritual for our 2 groups to hit the same karaoke bar or chat on the deck. I was drawn to Patrick. He had an easy way about him, funny, and we had all too much in common. Not to mention he was easy to look at.
5 nights, a few sunburns, and a lot of fun later it was time to head back home. On the plane ride home I thought..”wow that was fun!”..and “that’s the kinda guy I hope I find one day”. With little contact info to go on I assumed I’d never see him again. But then…there was FACEBOOK.
I looked him up not long after I got home and to my surprise he had good news that his family was visiting Gatlinburg TN in a few weeks (just 30 min outside Knoxville). We met up a few times that week and it was evident to me this wasn’t just a little summer romance. He was something special. From there, road trips to and from AL and TN defined summer 2009. I learned AL wasn’t so bad, and he learned to tolerate and even love TN.
Soon his move to MS for law school was upon us. Time to make a decision..So the 7 hour road trips began. A year later Patrick found an internship at a law firm in Knoxville for the summer of 2010. It was nice having him so close. December came fast. Graduation time. Where to look for that first job. Another easy one for me. Oxford, MS here I come.
how they asked: Around October 2010, with my M.S. graduation coming up fast, we went to spend a weekend away with our dear friends, the soon-to-be Mitchells (Jess and Erin). A quiet cabin near Asheville, NC, was the meeting place and some hiking and relaxation was on the docket. Patrick and I went to hike Chimney Rock on Saturday and planned to grab a geocache along the way.
After a break for lunch, he grabbed the GPS and said there was one just a few yards away. However, we were already past the “DO NOT ENTER” part of the park that was “under construction” and I was sure a park ranger was waiting in the bushes to arrest us…so I told him he was on his own on this one.
He was sweet and went and found it himself. He retrieved a plastic box wrapped with duct tape, as most caches are. He let me open this one. I removed the lid and saw it was filled with a stack of pictures, a wooden box, and a note. I thought “this is interesting”! As a pulled the note out I recognized his hand writing and thought “how sweet”.
I asked him to read it to me..which oddly caught him off guard. His voice started shaking as he read it..and I thought “what is wrong with him”? I missed most of what he read as I was trying to figure out why he was acting so weird. After he read the last line he started apologizing and pulled out the box with a ring in it. I thought wow that is a REALLY nice gift! I looked at him…he was still acting strange. I said “Are you asking me to marry you!!?”.
He said “well yeah”! Ha. And immediately, he says, “I’m sorry..can I do that again?”. We both sat there shaking realizing what we were really asking and giving to each other. It was the first time marriage and the future had ever been discussed between us and it was perfect that way. A wonderful surprise and an answer to a question I knew I would give if he ever had a want to ask. The hike down was one I barely remember…we truly felt on top of the world.
We kept our news and secret to ourselves the ride home and the afternoon, til Jess and Erin came home and soon discovered I had a new accessory. They were too sweet…and cooked a beautiful dinner for us. We celebrated with some champagne and a quiet night of discussion in the hot tub above our mountain cabin. It was perfect.
On our drive back to Knoxville, we shared the news with our family. The only ones that knew his plans were his friend Devin and my parents, who he had stopped and had dinner with on his way to our weekend getaway. Good idea to get the Mom and Pop’s permission.
I have been living and working in Oxford since January. I love my patients at the hospital/nursing home. They make me smile, laugh, and other times want to cry on a daily basis. I am blessed with great coworkers and a rewarding job. Patrick continues to work hard with his school work and it’s so wonderful to be in the same city again. Oxford has a sweet, unique southern charm to it that I’m growing to enjoy and appreciate.
I find something new to love about him every day and thank God and my sweet friend Samantha for placing him in my path. We can’t wait to celebrate our marriage with our close family and friends in Charleston!