Loren and Vincent

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How We Met

Vince (Vinny to some) and I first met on the bus to Arlington High School the fall of his Sophomore year. That October, unbeknownst to eitherapy of us, we were invited to one of the infamous Manna Halloween parties and were formally introduced. After that, I admit I had a bit of a crush, so sat with Vince some mornings, often sharing an ear-bud to listen to music or trying a bite of his favorite fruit (mangoes).

Believe it or not, we never dated in High School. We attended the same parties, rode the same bus, and hung out after school at the improv. club our mutual friend Jess founded called Horizons. We even shared a skit or two in the annual show the club produced. Summers, Vince would visit me and my parents, sometimes taking over the kitchen and producing amazingly tasty meals, even then! (He’s a Culinary Institute grad and sous chef!)

After graduation, we saw each other periodically through our college days, but did not stay close. One memorable visit was when Jess, Ryan and I dropped by Vince’s house one afternoon on an “expedition” as part of a new game. We wound up spending the afternoon together driving all over the county and that old crush resurfaced a bit.

Reconnecting, Romance Blooms

Years passed and one day, while at work, I noticed Vince had updated his Facebook profile picture. Stricken by nostalgia, I commented on it and, much to my surprise, he commented back! After a flurry of back-and-forth, we agreed to meet for drinks after I got out of work that Thursday afternoon.

We met at what was then “The Dubliner” in Poughkeepsie and caught up, even inviting other friends, Rosie and Dan, to join! After much laughter and delicious Irish Spring Rolls, I suggested we all meet again the next week at my new apartment. Vince, ever the chef, offered to cook for us and we of course accepted. I think we even drooled in expectation.

The following week, Vince and I talked via text, flirting harmlessly, just as we had in High School. Then, once Thursday finally rolled around, my mom called at work to tell me a very close family friend had passed away after a hard battle with cancer. Sad, but still looking forward to the evening with friends, I decided not to cancel the dinner.

Vince made a delightful pork loin with a hazelnut coffee rub and gobs of polenta. We laughed, played games, and reminisced late into the night. Finally, after Rosie left, Vince mentioned he needed dryer sheets and suggested we take a drive up to the Kingston Wal-Mart… offering me the chance to drive his sporty new Scion TC. He was cringing the whole time while I adjusted to a foreign clutch and laughEd at me when I stalled a time or two.

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On the way back, Vince drove with the windows down and moon roof open with music I hadn’t heard since High School blaring from the speakers. I danced in the passenger seat and watched the stars go by overhead. Once we got back to my apartment, I invited him inside to bring home some of the leftovers. I thanked him for being a welcome distraction after the sad news earlier in the day and went to hug him good-bye when he laid a knee-melting, shiver-inducing kiss on my lips. When I pulled away for air, I asked, “What was that?” “Just another distraction,” was his smooth reply.

The following week we had our first real date… the power went out and we played monopoly by candlelight. I quickly learned playing Monopoly with Vince is a terrifying experience, haha! We’ve been together almost 4 years now!

How He Asked

Almost four years later, Vince suggested we go for brunch the Sunday of Labor Day weekend 2016. We ate a sumptuous meal at Crave Restaurant in Poughkeepsie followed by a lovely walk down by the Hudson River at Quiet Cove Park in Hyde Park. At home I suggested we see a movie later and Vince agreed. While killing time before the movie, Vince stepped outside, returning with a smile and a “surprise.” When I opened my eyes, he handed me a large, white jeweler’s box. I opened the box and discovered what I initially thought was a rather unattractive necklace, but soon realized was actually a dog collar!!

Vince told me he had made an appointment to pick out a puppy!! He was not prepared for me to burst into tears and throw myself into his arms, but he laughed and held me a moment before urging me to get dressed. I threw on shorts and a t-shirt and was ready!

We arrived at the Dutchess County SPCA in Hyde Park and were told they would be taking our picture throughout the visit for the organization’s upcoming 145th Anniversary Gala. Both being rather photogenic, we agreed. We met with three dogs, finally deciding the 1-year-old brindle pit bull terrier mix named Chip was the pup for us!

We, along with the SPCA staffers who had helped us, returned inside to complete the paperwork and I ecstatically turned to Vince. “We’re getting a puppy, baby!” I remember seeing a rather deep, concerned look on his face and was about to ask what was wrong when he got down on one knee!!

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Hyperventilating, I asked, “REALLY??” Vince told me in a choked voice, “I want to start a family with you!” and could barely speak after that. I squeaked out a yes amid tears and he held me tight. We turned to snuggle Chip, telling him, “We’re gonna be a family, bud!”

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Seeing movement behind us, I stood, only to be surprised, yet again, by the sight of all of our closest friends, parents, cousins and Uncle rushing down the hallway to congratulate us!

After the tears, hugs, and congratulations calmed down a bit, Vince finished the adoption paperwork and everyone headed to my parents’ for an engagement party of epic proportions. Needless to say, we never made it to the movies.

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