My story is really two parts…The night we got engaged and the engagement that never happened. First, let me tell you the story of the engagement that never happened.
My first date with the woman would eventually be my wife was incredible. We had met at a party of some friends and talked all night long about anything and everything. There were a few phone conversations after that and I knew I wanted to see her again.
Imagine my surprise when she called me and said. “I’ve got ball game tickets thru work, would you like to join me?” WOULD I? You mean to tell me that this woman who I wanted to see again anyway is asking me to the ball game. SCORE!!!
So we went to the game at Turner Field and saw the Braves take on the S.F. Giants (yes guys, Bonds homered that night) walking through the parking lot I got to hold her hand and to this day, I could walk you to that exact spot in that parking lot.
Now fast forward to the pre-engagement. I knew I was going to take her right to that spot. Sure it wasn’t the most romantic spot in the world, after all it was a parking lot at Turner Field. The coolest thing out there was a marker that commemorated the spot where Hank Aaron’s 715th homer landed, significant in my mind but not hers. But that was the spot. The place I would fall on bended knee and ask this woman to marry me. The place I first held her hand. I decided to do it at the last home game of the 2003 season. I was saving and saving, putting all my money aside for this ring.
I was well on my way to having the money saved. Then I got a phone call. It was a call that would change my life forever. It was August 15th of 2003 and it was my Mom calling. She told me she had cancer. The next 8 weeks were spent driving back and forth to St. Louis every chance I got, spending the precious time together that was ticking away. The last home game of the season for Atlanta came and went. No trip to the parking lot, no proposal and my only concern was Mom. Through it all; all the pain, all the tears and all the trips to the hospital, there was Christy picking me up when I didn’t think I could make it another day.
We lost Mom on October 15th of 2003. I knew the holiday season was going to be a tough one for us. We had just gone through a horrible family tragedy and Christmas was my Mom’s favorite time of year. We decided to take a little mini vacation before the hustle and bustle of Christmas to spend some much needed quality time together. I asked Christy what she thought of NYC. I had always heard that New York during the holidays was something magical. I had heard right. It was like no sight I had ever seen. The lights and the magic of that city did so much to put us in the holiday spirit. We were able to do something we hadn’t done in a long time, just enjoy the time together.
Now I know everything you’ve read to now seems like one long set-up, but it is crucial to the proposal because in NYC there is a place that is like no other in the world during Christmas. Rockefeller Center is the place. This is where I would propose. Christy told me the one thing in NYC she wanted to do more than anything was to ice skate at Rockefeller Center. “I couldn’t agree more” I said. On December 12th we went to the rink at the Center and waited in line. It was a long, long, long line. About an hour into it, she said to me “Honey, we really don’t have to wait to ice skate. It’s okay if we don’t do it.” NO WAY! This was my time. We were going to wait in that line to skate if it killed me. After all, I had a diamond ring in my coat pocket. So after a couple hours, we got on the ice.
Now I don’t know if you know this or not, but the rink at Rockefeller Center isn’t very big. It’s actually below street level, so people above can look down into the rink and watch the skaters. Neither one of us are great skaters (we live in the south), so we’re mostly hanging out along the railing, going at our own pace. I turned to her to say lets go out to the middle. She looked at me like I was nuts. So we get out there and I’m nervous as they come, shaking in my skates to be exact. I’ve got it all in my head all the things I want to say.
Well to make a very long story short, I have no idea what I said but I do know this. The ring was in my buttoned up coat pocket. So in the middle of pouring out my heart to this woman in 20 degree weather, I say “I’m kind of hot. I need to unbutton my coat.” I know, real slick. Anyway, I unbutton my coat, got out the box and dropped down on one knee. The next thing I hear is the roar of about 1500 people that are there watching us. After all this is NYC during the holidays.
Remember the baseball story? Well as I’m down on one knee, I couldn’t help but feel like I just hit the game winning home run. I don’t even know what I said, but I do remember this beautiful woman with tears in her eyes saying yes. It was incredible! The crowd was cheering and the love of my life saying yes on center ice at Rockefeller Center under that huge Christmas tree. It was Mom’s favorite time of year. It was amazing. We were married July 10th of 2004.