How We Met
Willy and I have known each other for sixteen years – since the 6th grade! We went to different schools, but hung out with the same group of friends in my neighborhood for years. I eventually transferred to the same school as Willy in 9th grade. Since both of our last names start with a ‘W’, we were in the same homeroom together with lockers next to each other all four years of high school. A relationship didn’t flourish during those years, but we remained close friends. I would visit him at college occasionally or we would get together over the breaks the first couple of years. We lost touch for a year or two, but stayed up-to-date with each others lives via social media of course. A year and a half after I graduated/several months after Willy graduated (2012), we ran into each other at a concert near our home town. We were with different groups, so it was just quick small talk, but I remember being happy to see him. Willy went on to purchase a home a couple of months later, and I unexpectedly received an invite from him for his house-warming party. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go, but a mutual friend of ours talked me into going. Since Willy was busy hosting the party we didn’t get to talk much, but he casually asked at the end of the night if he could take me out to dinner to catch up and I said I’d love to. I didn’t hear from him right away, but we actually ended up running into each other again at the local casino about 2 months later. That was the night we talked for hours and he asked if he could take me out to dinner again – promising that he’d follow through this time! Well, he did. I got a message from him the next day wanting to coordinate our date. A few days later, he took me out on our first date to The Apollo Grille in Bethlehem where we shared a bottle of Ghost Pines Cabernet Sauvignon and talked the night away. We both knew from that moment forward that we had something special. Not a day has gone by since then that we haven’t talked. And as the saying goes…we’ve been together ever since!
how they asked
Willy and I planned our 2nd annual trip to Charlottesville, VA for a weekend to visit the wineries with our two pups. The Saturday of our little weekend getaway, we went to 4 different vineyards and were nearing the end of our day. Willy mentioned that one of his customers had suggested a nice place to eat in the area, so we decided to check it out. It turned out that this restaurant was at a beautiful golf course, but when we arrived they were in the middle of closing early, so they did not have much for us to choose from in ways of food. Instead of leaving right away, we decided to grab a drink and pick at a few snacks while we enjoyed the view before finding another place to eat. Once we were done, Willy suggested taking the pups for a quick walk around this pretty pond before heading out. As we were approaching the pond, we saw this black balloon floating away in the sky. Willy pointed it out and said “I wonder what that’s all about”, and we noticed a white pick-up truck parked below where the balloon took off, and there was a man standing there with what looked like some type of tracking device. Being the curious people we are, we approached the man and Willy introduced us and asked him what he was doing. At this point we learned his name, “Scott”, who proceeded to tell us he was testing the weather because he was planning to take a couple out for a hot-air balloon ride that evening and he was waiting for them to arrive. I immediately got excited, and told Scott I’ve always wanted to ride in a hot-air balloon since I was a kid, and earlier that morning we had spotted 3 of them in the air, to which he said one of those balloons had been him! Willy asked a few questions about the weather testing process and once Scott finished his explanation, Willy turned to me and said “Leah, meet your pilot for the evening!”. In utter shock, my jaw dropped and all I could say was “WHAT?!”. Willy explained that he had plans for us to ride in the balloon at sunset! I was still in disbelief, asking what we would do with our pups, which Scott and Willy assured me they would be looked after by “Borris”, Scott’s right-hand man. I started to get a little nervous as they prepared the balloon for take-off, but once we were in the air, it was so peaceful and the views were stunning. My nerves were still present during the first 10-15 minutes of the ride while we got comfortable with our pilot and the height, and not to mention the thoughts going through my head about why Willy was surprising me with this beautiful ride!
It was about 20 minutes into the ride that Willy pointed out a winery we were flying over, and he started talking about the grape-growing process, and how he sees such a big resemblance in our relationship. He talked about needing a solid foundation for a relationship, just like vines need good soil to grow, which being friends for 16 years definitely qualifies as a solid foundation!
He continued to talk about the growth of the vines and when the fruit is ripe, it’s ready for picking to be made into a beautiful wine that only gets better with age, just like a relationship, and our love has grown and flourished and will one day be ready for the next step, an engagement, and then marriage. At this point, I had a feeling I knew where this was leading, but I was so filled with emotion and loved every word that he was saying that I couldn’t even talk. Willy then asked me, “So, Leah Dawn, are you ready to pick our fruit?”…I’m blubbering and barely able to say “YES!!!”, but I thankfully managed, and that’s when he knelt down on one knee and asked me to be his forever! I will never forget his words or that moment as it was all so perfect and so “us”. The rest of the ride while the sun was setting was the perfect ending to Willy’s beautiful proposal.