One spring day, Arlo stopped by the cubicle of his friend, Gary, to talk about interesting things we wouldn't want to bore you with. Mandie's friend Angie, who sat next to Gary, heard something interesting (probably not what Gary and Arlo thought was interesting) and had a brilliant idea. So, Angie asked Gary if Arlo was single. This took Gary by surprise as he knew that Angie was happily married and pregnant at that time. This was all quickly explained as Angie continued: I have a friend...
So, Arlo and Mandie were given each other's phone numbers and told that they would enjoy getting to know the other. It was a slow start. They were both hesitant to make the first move. It didn't happen until Angie intervened. She was shopping with Mandie and would not let her out of the car until she sent a text to Arlo. (One time electric locks have come in handy.) That started a conversation that would continue over text and email for the next month or so.
It finally came to a point where Mandie and Arlo spoke on the phone. After a few hours of great conversation, they decided to meet in person. Neither wanted to go too fast, so they met at common ground - a Barnes and Noble store. They went to lunch. They enjoyed a walk through the aquarium. History was made that July afternoon. The journey had begun.
September 21st, 2014, we were out for the Battle Spelunker Annual Mountaintop Dungeon hike. It was a very wet and chilly day, and we were convinced by the rangers at the Timpanogos Cave National Monument to buy "ponchos" (effectively garbage bags with head and arm holes) to keep the rain off us on our way up. They didn't exactly work, but we weren't going to let that slow us down. That was the job of the hike.
The entrance to Timpanogos Cave is at the end of a mile and a half long trail that winds its way up the mountainside, rising about a quarter mile. My brother and his girlfriend were the only people to accompany us this time, and both are in significantly better shape. As such, they reached the cave quite a bit before we did. But being great hiking partners, they helped us push up the final stretch by singing out the Rocky theme song as we trudged to the covered alcove that marks the cave entrance.
Feeling both victorious, and overexerted, we marched into the darkness (well, it actually has pretty good lighting throughout). The cave was familiar and, when compared to us, somewhat dry, and in no time we had again gone through the mountain only to descend down the same path in more rain.
Afterwards, we went up the canyon to have a bite of lunch and wander Cascade Springs' beautiful paths, rife with the colors of autumn.
This is where I was going to pop the question. I had been trying to get her out here for weeks, since this place held good memories for the both of us. Life had gotten in the way of coming here for a month now, but I had finally prevailed.
That is, I had prevailed in getting us there. Life, it would seem, was not yet done with it's obstacles. Mandie was not feeling well, probably due to overexertion. My brother's girlfriend was barefoot, as her shoes had become soaked on the hike. There were many large families there, made up of mostly unhappy and entirely damp members. There was also a tremendous amount of shouting. It kinda had the feel of a Wal-Mart one week before Christmas. All romance had been scared away for the day. So we headed home.
That night, I realized that the "perfect moment" wasn't a time and place I should wait for, but rather one that I should make. (Or maybe I was just too exhausted to be nervous. For soaring narrative reasons we will pretend it was the realization and not fatigue.) So as she turned to transfer lunch leftovers from the cooler to the fridge, I pulled the ring from my pocket, knelt down on one knee, and waited for her to turn to ask a question that would change my life forever...