How We Met
Zach and I met at a fundraiser event in Tampa called the Pig Jig. Every year, Tampa hosts the Pig Jig along the river walk and it is a big BBQ cook-off that raises money and awareness for NephCure Kidney International. They bring in bands and throw a nice concert. One of my best friends and I were meeting her cousin there. Later that afternoon O.A.R. was about to get on stage and Zach came down to meet my best friend’s cousin, who he works with.
Small world, but Zach and I hit it off over discussing the setlist of the performers. Then we bet on a beer as to what song would be next. It was down to one of the last songs and he bet Thousand Horses would play their most popular song last and I bet against him. I obviously lost, but really did so on purpose so I could buy him a beer. I quickly went up to the beer tent and got him a Goose Island IPA, but he wouldn’t let me pay. I said, “a bet is a bet” and moved his card out of the way… and well, the rest is history.
Zach managed to find the law firm I worked at on Google and he sent me flowers before our “first” date, they said, “I can’t wait to get to know you.” Our first date was a few weeks later to a Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey game. Then the one after that was a Ribfest event on the water to see one of our mutually favorite artists, Whiskey Myers. We were inseparable after that. Being from two different states but having so much in common between the way we grew up and our hobbies and love for music really drew us closer and closer as we learned more about each other.
How They Asked
Ok- so the story kind of starts out sad, but bear with me, it’s worth it, which is why it makes it so great. In 2009, I (Phoebe) lost my dad to a heart condition. I was a daddy’s girl growing up so losing him was extremely difficult for my mom and I but we had each other so we were able to get through it and remember his life and hold onto the memories. My parents gave me my love for the outdoors. My dad specifically was a gardener and had a tremendous green thumb, he could bring any plant back to life and his vegetable garden was truly impressive. He loved to fish and I was his fishing buddy after school.
Immediately upon meeting Zach, I introduced him to who my dad was. I love to talk about him and bring him into the conversation when I can. Though Zach never got to meet him personally, he valued my relationship with him and he knew what a great man he was through me. When we moved into our new house in 2018-2019 it was a whirlwind of emotions for both of us, a lot of new and exciting things we were sharing together. However, it was extremely tough for me solely because I missed my dad. Everything about the new house reminded me of him. It was a huge milestone in my life and I wanted him there. It was the house I had always dreamed of owning, right around the corner from my mom. Everything was perfect about it, but I wanted to share it with my dad and to see how happy it made him too. We had a lake right outside our back porch and Zach and I had the luxury to fish whenever we wanted, I started my new garden, and I was doing all the things I grew to love through him and I missed him tremendously. Zach recognized that and made the best out of it for me like he is always so great at doing.
So, here is a special part. We were approaching my dads 10-year anniversary since he passed, it had already been a tough year but we were four months into homeownership and loving every minute of it. On my dad’s 10-year anniversary I woke up and went to work and so did he per usual. We had planned on taking the johnboat out later that evening to celebrate my dad’s life and go fishing. Well little did I know, Zach left work at lunch to sneak home to plan a very intimate and special proposal. Might I add, I had absolutely no clue, as we just bought a house, I pretty much took that as a proposal and was not expecting anything anytime soon. Anyways, Zach had told me he was going to try and leave early to make it home so we could go fishing before dark. I thought that was a little weird because it was Monday, and he is never able to leave work early on Mondays. I just brushed it off, thinking he knew how rough this year has been so far for me with missing my dad so he’s just being sweet and going to do what he could to comfort me. I get home, and Zach had everything ready, the johnboat was in the water, the fishing poles were geared up and before I could even put my purse down he was rushing me out to the porch so we could beat the rainstorm that was coming. I quickly threw on more lake appropriate clothes and grabbed a flannel from the closet that happened to be one of my dad’s old torn up ones. We get out on the lake and we threw a couple of lines in, and Zach says “I have something I want to do..,” at that point, my heart started racing. BUT, instead, he says “I have these little Jack Daniels bottles I figured we could salute to your dad and his life.” My dad was a big Jack Daniels drinker, the only thing he drank. After we saluted, he said “I have one more surprise,” and he pulled a black box from his tackle box and got down on one knee on a very unstable johnboat, haha. Shortly after the proposal, the overcast clouds from the storm brewing parted and the sky was spread blue and we both knew there was someone up there very happy for us. We both pretty much blacked out from emotions but it was so surreal and very thoughtful and personal. AND A COMPLETE SURPRISE. Zach had taken a very sad day for me and truly turned it into one of the happiest days of my “our” life. About a month before the proposal he drove about an hour to one of my mom’s music festivals she was camping at to ask her permission to marry me. My mom has loved Zach since the moment she met him, so that was a very easy question for her to answer. Zach had gotten my best friends/sister’s opinions on the custom ring he was designing and kept his parents involved as well. How he managed to keep this from me with so many people in on it still impresses me.
Favorite Photos from our journey so far.