If you saw me today, you know I'm on cloud 999, but I'm getting tired, so I will not write much of an intro here. Here is our engagement story from Saturday, December 10, 2005. By the way, if you know me, you know that I'm pretty observant, so I did have some thoughts that maybe this would be the day he would ask me to marry him - but still worked hard to not expect it :-). Galena, Illinois was the site of our first real date on July 4 this year, and we have really enjoyed visiting a few times since then as well.
Matt called and said he would be over to pick me up at 10:30 a.m. I said I would make monkey bread for breakfast, so I threw it together and put it in to be done about 10:30. He didn’t end up getting there until 11:00. He was wearing a t-shirt and jeans, so he really threw me off with his low-key demeanor and dress that morning. We drove to Galena and arrived at about 1:30. A few of the bed and breakfasts in town were hosting an open house, so we toured their main areas and saw some of the rooms. They were all built in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, so they have interesting architecture which we both enjoy. At the last B&B, the hostess asked about our plans for the evening. Matt said that we were going to look at the windows and then have dinner. She asked if we had a reservation, and he said no. She said, “On a Saturday night?” So when we left, I asked him if we should call and make a reservation just in case. He said that he figured it was no big deal – last time, we got in on a Saturday with no problem, so we’d be fine. I bought it, so we drove back to Main Street to check out their living windows displays. Considering that Waverly has a pretty awesome living windows Christmas display each year, this was quite elementary to say the least. So we enjoyed making fun of them, but we did admire the real garland and bows adorning many of the shop windows. It was really beautiful.
We stopped at a coffee shop to warm up and sit for a while. When we were getting ready to leave, he mentioned that while I had run to the bathroom, he called and made us a reservation for 8:00 (this was at around 5:30 or so). I just figured they were pretty busy and couldn’t get us in any sooner. So we continued to walk and stopped in a few shops. At one point, we were quite near the restaurant (it was about 6:30), and I thought about asking him to see if they could get us in any sooner, but I decided to just let it go. We went to a SECOND coffee shop from there to kill some more time. Finally at 7:45 or so, we went to the restaurant. This, by the way, is the only restaurant at which we have ever dined in Galena. We absolutely love it, and they have a room that is lowered a few steps from the main level when you walk in. It has stone walls and vines all around the top, and we both really like it and think it would be a very cool dining room someday. So when we walked in, she said that Matt had requested the “dungeon.” I knew she meant that room, so I was excited since we had never been able to eat in there before. There are only two tables there, and the other was empty.
Matt said he was cold and kept his coat on, and we ordered our food. When the bread and salad came, he said he was going to run to the restroom. I figured I would wait until he returned before I started eating, so I did. I waited. And waited. And waited. They seated another couple at the other table, and I’m sitting there alone with salad and bread and not touching any of it. The server walked by and asked if everything was okay – I said yes. He came back again with our dinner and asked if he should bring it back later. I said to leave it; that was fine. I didn’t have my watch and my phone died, so I have no idea how much time really passed, but it had to be about 20 minutes or so. I was feeling really silly in this little room by myself with the other couple. It took so long that I started to wonder what was going on, but I just didn’t want to let myself think anything. But I hoped that at least something cool was happening because our food was going to be cold either way. Finally…Matt came down the stairs – a vase with a dozen red roses in hand, clad in a 3-piece tuxedo (red vest, of course), and a blue box with a white ribbon in the other hand. He sat the flowers on the table and bent down on his knee. He asked me if I would be his wife. I said I had to call Jim first…just KIDDDING!! I said YES! I was quite teary-eyed and couldn’t say much else – I heard the woman at the other table say, “Oh, I’m going to cry!” They clapped when I said yes, too. That was cute. He handed me the box, but I was shaking and having a time getting the ribbon off. I asked him to do it, but he was shaking, too. We managed to get the ring out, and it is unbelievable. We’ll have to get some close-ups soon because it is so gorgeous. I seriously cannot stop staring at it. Since I don’t have a picture right now, I’ll tell you that it’s a .75-carat princess cut center stone with six diamonds in the band on each side (I think he said they are pave diamonds - he is far more diamond-literate than I - it's so cute). It’s so much more beautiful than that even sounds, though – it has detailing on the sides…oh, you’ll just have to see the picture. Or better yet, see me!!
Okay, so then he sat down at his seat. I looked at my plate and said, “I can’t eat anything!” I had totally lost my appetite and was fighting back the tears. So he ate some and told me about how he had planned it all. He was late that morning because he had picked up the roses and the florist told him that if he kept them in the trunk all day in the cold, they would die. So he stopped at Wal-Mart to buy a cooler and stuck them inside it. Then he had to exchange his vest at the rental place, so that all put him half an hour late. The reason our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:00 was because he had arranged a carriage ride at 6:00, but they cancelled all the carriages because of the weather. But to replace the carriage ride, he arranged for a limo to pick us up at the restaurant at 9:00, and we rode around and looked at Christmas lights for an hour. And not just any limo – a sweet, new Lincoln Towncar limo that seated about 10-12 people with fiberoptic lighting in the ceiling inside. It was so “wicked awesome” as Matt would say.
So we were done at 10:00 and proceeded to drive home. I finally was getting hungry, so he got me a hamburger at Burger King. I talked on the phone most of the way home – my parents, both sisters, his sister, Mandy, and his parents, Jim and Sharon, a message for Bill and Natalie, and Cindy. I asked him if it was okay for me to talk on the phone the whole ride – I think it’s generally pretty rude, but in this situation, he said it was fine. He liked hearing me tell the story to everyone. J So, we arrived in Waverly at around 1:00 a.m. I will have to post my Sunday fun later because I am getting very tired and once again, have not eaten dinner yet. But I am pretty sure I’m the happiest girl in the world today, and I wanted to share it with all of you. I wish I could see you, hug you, laugh and scream with you, and tell you in person, but since it doesn’t always work out that way, I figured this would be a good way to spread the news. Our news – we’re engaged! So, from the soon-to-be-Mrs. Matt Gidley, I love you and thank you all for sharing in my joy. It’s a fuller life for having each of you in it. Thank you for loving and supporting us. And to Matt...I love you. I cannot wait to be your wife.
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11 months ago