Samantha and Colby

How We Met: I began my freshman year of college in the fall of 2009 and pretty quickly got plugged in with the campus ministry Cru. At one of the first meetings, I met this random, older guy named Colby who didn’t actually go to Wake Forest but was helping lead worship. Quite honestly, I initially had zero interest in him. I thought he was one of the strangest people I had ever met since he was pretty quirky and said silly things. We hung out in groups a lot and eventually made the connection that we had grown up about 15 minutes apart and attended rival high schools. I thought this was super cool – Colby, not so much. In March of 2010, Colby decided to go to Chile to teach English for close to a year. Having developed a friendship with Colby, I was a little bummed to see him go, but knowing he would be back made it easier. While Colby was in Chile, we communicated rarely until November 2010. Colby sent me a Facebook message asking how I was and I, thinking it was a bit strange but wanting an excuse to procrastinate, engaged in the conversation. After that, we talked pretty regularly, developed a stronger bond, and got to know each other until Colby came back to the US in January 2011. By the time Colby had returned, I had realized that Colby had a lot of the characteristics I had always wanted in a husband, but decided to keep those thoughts to myself. Eventually, as we hung out more over the next few months, we realized that we both wanted to pursue a relationship and the rest, as they say, is history… :)

2010

One of the first pictures of us together from January 2010 – “Rolling the Quad” (a tradition at Wake Forest after a big win)

us

How He Asked: One of my biggest challenges was figuring out where to propose. We had our first meal with just the two of us at a swanky IHOP near Statesville (NC) right after I got back from Chile, so that was out unless I wanted to introduce her to tetanus and lots of carbs before getting the ring. We had first held hands while watching HGTV at a place I don’t live at anymore. We had plenty of moments, but never had a “place” that was ours.

Ever since I started my pediatric rotation in Salisbury, I had spent a lot more time at Samantha’s house. It led to us having walks through Tanglewood, the park nearby. We walked until we were semi-lost one day and we came across the “wildflower trail” next to the manor house. After a short walk, it raised up into a grass clearing with the trees circled around. Samantha said “I could get married somewhere like this.” BAZING! That’s all I needed to hear. She wouldn’t be getting married there, but an engagement was highly possible.

After securing the indelible Ethan Groce to secure our photography of the act, we decided on a day: Thursday, April 16th. Thursday was rainy, fresh tulips (Samantha’s favorite) were scarce in Salisbury, and time crunches caused us to abort mission. So, Friday it was!

On Friday, Samantha and I started with a pretty fun day, but nothing that would tip her off. I went with her to class, but while she was in it, I made a phone call. She told me later that she saw me on the phone. I brushed it off, but I was really procuring some yellow tulips with red accents seen in the pictures. After we had lunch, she remarked on how nice of a day it was. “Want to walk around Salem Lake?” Normally, my response would always be “yes.” Not today. “Let’s go back to your house and go to Tanglewood later.” No argument from her there.

We got back to her place, and I knew some flowers were waiting for me. She said she was going to Lowe’s with her mom and asked if I wanted to go. I said “no,” which was probably the first odd thing I did that day, since I’d normally always tag along. Figuring she’s probably starting to suspect something, I decided to go full weird. You never go full weird. But I did it. I just left her house without saying “bye” or anything. She called me soon after asking where I went. “Oh, I just found a deal online, going to pick it up now.” I got the flowers.

After grabbing them, I headed to Tanglewood and met Ethan. Samantha called me. “I’m going to give you instructions in 15 to 20 minutes. Follow them.” Oh, she was suspicious by now.

We went up to the grove down “wildflower trail” and set up the scene: a sheet anchored by mason jars (Samantha loves those) and the tulips in the middle. I had originally planned to light candles in the jars, but due to fire risk and stubborn matches, that was aborted (also, I tried the lighting dry spaghetti on fire trick to reach the candles, and I blowtorched that pasta to no effect. Darn you, humid day!). I didn’t think she’d notice the lack of candles anyway. (She didn’t). I gave Samantha the instructions to park inside the park (ticket for double parking? Bad joke? Ok, moving on).

She showed up confused as can be and nervous. I drove her to the manor house and started leading her down the trail. At the grove, I asked her to close her eyes and then led her up to the area.

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When she opened her eyes, I was on one knee with the flowers and ring in hand. I said something along the lines of “Four years….love you….will you…spend life…with me”. I don’t really remember what I said. She doesn’t really remember what I said. She was shaking. I was shaking. In the end, I heard a “yes.” I put the ring on her finger and half expected a meteor to hit the Earth. But, it didn’t. I still was shaking. I was still a little bit hungry. Oh, one thing did change though. I had a fiancé.

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Samantha had told me I would do well as long as I didn’t propose to her in a public place or in her room, so I think this was an A+ in comparison. There weren’t fireworks. I probably slurred my engagement speech. She noticed the not-so-inconspicuous white man in the bushes. I’ll never try to light a candle again. But, at the end of the day, it was a beautiful chaos. Because, it was us.