I’ll start by saying that Frances Jo and I were friends for two years before our friendship evolved into a love affair. I have to say, friends first is a game-changer. Frances is the love of my life, and we’ll be married on September 26, 2020.
This is the story of how she surprised, proposed to me on August 10, 2018, our first-anniversary date.
Frances asked me to meet her at one of our favorite bourbon spots in Delaware, Ohio, Vito’s. When I walked in, there were two table tents at the bar with our pictures on it saying ‘Reserved.’ I sat in one of the chairs awaiting Frances.
She walked in, and her smile filled the room. We had one bourbon and left Vito’s to our next favorite spot, the Backstretch. But there was a heart-shape stencil in the ground before we got there. As I got closer, the stencil was surrounding an engraved brick read, “My Heart Raced A Little.” That was one of the first things I said long ago when I hugged her and knew that my feelings for her were changing.
We walked into the Backstretch, sat at the bar, and had a bourbon and an appetizer. The second hour came and went, and it was time for us to get to our final destination. Which is our favorite spot in Delaware, Barley Hopsters. As we walked out of the bar, I noticed more heart-shaped stencils all the way down the block towards Barley Hopsters.
There were nine more engraved bricks installed in the ground that were sayings that Frances and I would say only to each other.
We got to Barley Hopsters the patio where we always try to sit was empty. Mind you, this whole time; I’m thinking to myself, “what an incredible FIRST-anniversary date! How the hell am I ever going to top this?” We sat at ‘our’ table, and there were two more bricks laid face down.
Our favorite song was playing in the background, “Harvest Moon” by Neil Young. Frances pulled out her writing book and began reading to me how much our friendship and the love affair has changed her life. Slowly, she turned over one brick and engraved was, “Will You Marry Me?” She turned over the other brick that read, “Just Say Yes.” She slowly kneeled and presented me with a ring. My response was, “Are you serious!?” Of course, I said, YES!
As we’re hugging and crying and laughing, I hear cheering inside. At first, I thought they were just strangers watching from inside. No. Frances put together a private Facebook group and planned to have my family and dear, close friends be there and witness. I broke down when they all started walking outside, congratulating us.
Frances’ proposal to me was like a fairy-tale. And every time we tell it, that’s exactly what people say.
Photography by Fox and Twig