Emilie and Zebulun
how we met
My mom had just started working for a local heating & air conditioning business. It was only a five-minute walk from my bus stop, so I would frequently walk down after school so that I could have her car. The first time I walked into Eichelberger & Sons, she told me I had to go to say hello to one of her bosses, Steve. He was working in the back with his nephew, Zeb. I’m a really shy person, so I literally begged her not to make me go to the back of the shop. In true motherly fashion though, she dragged me behind her to go and meet them. Zeb was sitting on a stool in the back and I said a quick and awkward, “Hi. It was nice meeting you. Bye.” At the time, I was working as a waitress at a small restaurant on Main Street that the Eichelberger’s frequented. All I knew about Zeb was that the people I worked with called him “Church Boy” and that my mom said he was sometimes sassy (still true). So, considering the facts that he had a full-time job, a truck, and a beard, I assumed he was 26 years old and being that I was only 17, I put him on my “Not Gonna Happen” list.
For about a year, quick hellos in the shop were said back and forth and neither one of us thought much of it until after I graduated high school and we began planning my graduation party. About a week before my party, my mom and I made plans to go to lunch together. When she found out that Zeb was going to lunch alone, we both decided to go eat with him. It was the first time I had really talked to him and my mom found every chance to leave us alone. He gave me some graduation party tips, since he had just gone through it himself. Of course, all of the Eichelbergers were invited to my party and when I saw him there, it was like seeing a brand new person. He was no longer wearing his maroon work shirt, and suddenly he looked younger and a lot cleaner than he does at work (what a relief). It was that day that I found out he was only 19 years old! He impressed me when I saw him playing with the younger kids and his siblings, and the day after, I added him as a friend on Facebook (which is surprisingly an important part of our story).
A week later, my mom with the rest of her coworkers came to the restaurant where I was working the lunch shift, and Zeb happened to get a hair in his food. He didn’t want to tell me and make a big deal out of it, so he tipped me $5 (more than he tipped anyone else). I didn’t find out after he left and his brother told me what had happened. I messaged him on Facebook and apologized for the hair in his food, and told him that next time, his meal was on me! From then on, we began talking regularly, and I even gave him my number so we didn’t have to use Facebook messenger. A couple weeks later, Zeb and his family we at Deep Creek Lake in Maryland, and I happened to be spending a weekend there with my cousins. His family owns a cabin on the lake and is there almost every weekend in the summer. He knew we were there and came and picked us up on his boat (which was super cool) and took us to get ice cream. That was our first time seeing each other outside of work or lunch and he was the perfect gentleman. Our first “date” happened shortly after that at Starbucks where we talked about everything and anything. We were open and honest with each other and laughed and joked like we were old friends. From that day on, he was and still is my truest and best friend.
how he asked
Sunday, January 29th started out as a typical Sunday in my eyes. Zeb picked me up for church, as always, and he took his seat up in the choir, while I sat with the rest of the his family, who I lovingly call: the Eichelberger clan (Zeb is the oldest of 8 kids). Once church ended, we headed to his house to eat lunch with his family, as we often do on Sunday afternoons. The first thing that was out of the norm was Zeb’s sister, Lydia, suddenly and immediately told us she was leaving to go with her cousin, Amy, to look for clothes. She left without even eating lunch, and Zeb’s parents seemed a little bit angry with her. In the moment, I felt bad for the talk she would face when she came home. They sure fooled me! I had become very close with Zeb’s cousin Amy, and my feelings were hurt when I wasn’t asked to tag along! After lunch, we sat on the couch for what felt like four minutes before Zeb promptly stated, “Okay. Let’s go for a walk.” I thought he was crazy, because it was literally freezing outside! Love is crazy though, and lucky for him, I would follow him anywhere.
We drove to Twin Lakes Park in Greensburg, Pennsylvania, singing and dancing in the car on the way. When we got to the lake, Zeb began acting strange, stopping to tie his already tied shoe, trying to walk on a balance beam, and honestly, I was a bit irritated! It was so cold; I think my fingers were turning purple. Then he stopped to tie his (already tied) shoe for the second time.
At this point, we were on a beautiful stretch of the walkway, with the perfect view of the lake. He was down on one knee and looked up at me and said, “Wow. This would be a great spot to propose. If only I had the ring with me.” I was so angry with him, I started to cry. I even told him I wanted to turn back around and go home!
On our way to the lake, I thought that today could possibly be the big day, but after that comment, I was totally thrown off. I’m happy that I didn’t throw too much of a tantrum, because as we began to walk around the corner through a walkway lined with tall trees, I saw a small white box sitting on the ground ahead of us.
I didn’t know whether I should be angry at him for tricking me, or happy because I had been hoping for this for at least a month! We got to the box, and he got down on one knee (for the second time that day) and this time, asked me to marry him!
The only word that I could remember how to say was, “Really?!” After saying it a million times, something clicked in my head, and I remembered that I was supposed to say yes! Pure joy was flowing through me and after a couple moments of hugging and laughing, I turned to see Zeb’s sister Lydia, and his cousin’s Amy and Kara, standing there, cameras ready.
I was thrilled to have part of Zeb’s family there, not only to capture the moment through stunning pictures and video, but to be witnesses to the best moment of our lives thus far.