Tobie and Moose
How We Met
In the fall of 2016 were both living in Clemson, South Carolina, he was in his senior year at Clemson University and I was working at a local bar called The Esso Club. On Wednesday nights we have bingo and it typically draws a rather big crowd, this past season a majority of that crowd was made up of Forestry majors. It was always the same people each week so they all quickly became regulars. Well this particular Wednesday we were extremely busy but through the packed out bar I saw him walk in. This tall rugged guy with wavy blonde hair longer than mine wearing a flannel over a graphic tee, a pair of cut off army green corduroy shorts and black high top converses. I remember crossing my fingers and saying aloud “please sit in my section, please sit in my section.” And he did. I walked over and tried to play it cool and hopefully hide the fact that I was ten shades of red from blushing. I didn’t know him at all but just being around him made me smile like crazy. I gave the rest of the the guys there the normal lighthearted hard time and then introduced myself.
I asked him what he wanted to drink he said PBR, I went, grabbed it from the bar and took it over to him and he smiled so big, it was crazy busy so I couldn’t stay and chat. He eventually got one more PBR and as Bingo ended everyone began settling up and headed down town. He and his friends all tabbed out, I wrote “thank you :)” in the cutest handwriting I could form on his credit card slip, but only on his. As I walked his card back I looked at his name, I’ll admit I may or may not have been planning on Facebook creeping him once I got off. No shame. William Preston Durham. What I name. I said “William Preston” in a silly old British accent as I handed it back to him, he laughed and told me his name was Preston but everyone calls him Moose. I said well my names Tobie and everyone calls me Tobie, he laughed again. As everyone got up to leave he asked me did I want to meet him and his friends downtown, I told him I typically don’t go down town but that I would try. He smiled really big and walked out the bar. I don’t think I’ve ever done my cut work so quickly.
I hurried home to change real quick and then headed down town with some other girls from work. I found him as soon as I got there and we spent the next 2 hours talking about anything and everything. My friends decided to leave so I put my number in his flip phone and told him to text me later. This part of the story varies. He claims I walked out, came back and kissed him and ran out BUT I remember it the other way around. We both stick to our stories and will die before we admit the other is right. After that night we texted here and there and he would come in every Bingo but I always found an excuse not to hang out. Honestly I was in a dark place and hung up on a previous toxic relationship and wasn’t ready for anything. He remained constant in his attempts to pursue me, and I mean that in the most respectful kind ways. Fast forward to January. Out of the blue I made spaghetti for dinner and randomly decided to text him. 9pm “do you like spaghetti?, I made way too much wanna come share?” He came over. We hung out, watched Making of a Murder and then several episodes of The Office.
I had never met anyone that loved the Office as much as me until Moose. We hung out every night that week and it was so nice. I could be myself and be silly around him. It felt so natural. I had never laughed with anyone as hard as I did with him. He was SO kind. It terrified me. I wasn’t used to that at all and so I pulled away again. A month later he came into Bingo again after missing a week or two. I couldn’t deny how happy I got when he walked in or how good his hug felt. So when he asked me to come play pool when I got off I didn’t hesitate. My friends and I met him and his friends at a local bar and as it got late his friends whom he had rode with decided to leave, later on when I decided to leave he kinda just looked at me all puppy eyed with his giant blue eyes and I laughed and said I’d give him a ride back to his car. We got in my jeep and he complimented me on my ability to drive a stick and some of my preset radio channel choices.
We talked about music and I told him some of my favorite bands were Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, Heart.. etc and he told me he had all of those albums at his apartment. “You have a record player?”-me (This was before I knew Moose at all so I was taken back that this redneckish* burley guy was into vinyl, oh little did I know.) “Yeah…. do you wanna come over and listen to them?”-Moose It was already past midnight and I had to work early but I happily said yes and followed him in his jeep over in mine. We stayed up until 5 am ,now knowing Moose and how his bed time is 9pm it shows me exactly how much he wanted to spend time with me, listening to our favorite bands talking about everything you can imagine. I taught him how to play rummy and then he braided my hair for the first time. It was better than I can even braid. I remember laughing so hard and telling him it was crazy to say and think but that I loved him. I left and he almost immediately texted me “You’re Neat.”. We were inseparable day in and day out from then on until I got on the plane and left Oregon after driving across the country with him.
How He Asked
After a cross country road trip moving Moose up to Oregon for graduate school at OSU from South Carolina there were very few things I was excited about seeing as my best friend was now over 2,000 miles away from me. That was until Moose told me that on my next visit out to see him we could drive down to California and see the Redwoods. We are both extremely outdoorsy, hiking, camping, climbing anything that can give us an excuse to get us into the woods. It’s our happy place. His undergraduate degree is in Forestry and it’s what he’s currently getting his masters in now so the woods are kind of our lives in the best way possible so naturally seeing the Redwoods has been on my bucket list for as long as I can remember so I was over joyed and couldn’t wait to experience that with him.
Fast forward to me visiting at the beginning of August. After not seeing Moose for over two months I was honestly overwhelmed with how happy I was once back in his presence, familiar smell of tree sap, the comforting feeling of scratching his beard while he drove and his quickly and naturally we fell back into our little routine after flying in late Thursday night. We decided to leave Corvallis around 4 Friday night. So as anyone who knows Moose would know naturally meant we left at 5:30. We headed for Crescent City California which is where Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is, we had planned to get a hotel in town and wake up super early and go hike through the Redwoods the next morning then swim in the Smith river after lunch. Well, little did we know that there was a fair in town that seemed like every person in all of Californian was visiting for so everything was booked in town….everything.
So on to plan B, which is normally the plan we go with because A rarely works, we decided to camp out in his jeep, which would usually be no big deal at all but for some reason Moose was getting so flustered about it and apologizing and saying he wanted everything to be perfect during the trip which confused me because camping out in the forest with each other is our definition of perfect. Like y’all, we slept in a cave during a massive thunder storm in Arkansas during our big road trip… camping in a car shouldn’t have been anywhere near a problem for us. So for him to be worried about it so much was so surprising, he’s not the kind of guy that gets nervous or flustered. He’s just Moose. But he’s always been such a hopeless romantic with me so I just brushed it off as him just wanting to make my Redwoods trip really special. We didn’t have any of our over night camping gear so we ran to Walmart grabbed a couple pillows, a big blanket a bag of cherries and headed for the State Park.
We found a turn off and drove deep back into the woods and parked among the Redwoods and made a pallet in the back of the jeep. It was unreal. Even in the dark the trees were incredible. I was so excited for the next morning I could barely sleep. After he apologized several more times for our sleeping situation followed by promising that the next day would be the best day of our lives, around 2:30 am we finally fell asleep. The next morning woke up at around 7 am. We stepped out of the car and just gazed up in wonderment and aimlessly walked around in our pajamas just taken back by the miracle that was all the gigantic trees surrounding us. We got dressed, packed up the car and headed deeper into to park so that we could go hike a certain area that was home to the largest Redwood tree in that specific State Park. Once we got there Moose pulled out two bright yellow balloons, handed me one and kept one for himself, they had big smiley faces on them, we playfully blew them up, gave them names and started down the trail.
Surreal is an understatement when it comes to how amazing the Redwoods were. We climbed on, around and through them. We wandered down to a river and stacked rocks, Moose naturally popped his balloon on accident on a pricker bush and as we got back on the trail he began to tell me he wanted to take a video when we got to the biggest Redwood that the park is known for. In the video he wanted it to look like we both had wandered around the tree from the depth of the woods and stumbled upon each other. I laughed and told him we could do that and as we got closer to the tree he got much more vocal about how he wanted it to look and even took my camera from me and set it up to get the perfect angle. I was so surprised because normally it’s me taking the pictures and videos and this time he was being such a perfectionist about every detail but I still just thought all he wanted a silly video of us being goofy.
Around this time a little family came down the trail, they had two very young sons with them who both showed a great interest in my balloon, so of course without hesitation I gave it to them, but only after they promised me they would share it. After taking a few photos the family headed down the trail leaving Moose and I alone with this mythical sized tree. He proceeded to made us practice the “skit” once before the “real deal” and I immediately tripped over a humongous root while looking up and then almost fell twice more after that. After the first practice run he goes “okay! let’s just do it for real!” in an very excited tone.
So i got back in my starting spot in the rear of the tree and he said 3,2,1 Go! I began to back around the tree only looking up in wonder and amazement like he had made me practice doing and when I got to where I was supposed to bump backs with him I was met by his hand bracing me and as I turned around I saw him down on one knee…. We were out in nature doing our favorite thing, we were surrounded by the most amazing forest I have ever seen and then there was Moose. My Moose. The man of my deepest prayers down on one knee holding up my dream ring and he asked me to marry him.
That’s when I grabbed a hold of him and proceeded to say “you’re so stupid” at least 27 times which I can only conclude is my brains way of saying “OMG I LOVE YOU MORE THAN ANYTHING IVE EVER KNOWN, THIS IS SO PERFECT, OMG REALLY?!”….. I look back now and I can honestly say I’m pretty positive I blacked out from pure joy.
I held him for so long and after finally letting him go and regaining brain functions from overwhelming happiness we happy danced in the woods together. We hiked back to the car and once inside while I was staring at my hand that now showcased the ring of my dreams Moose told me two things: He first told me that he had bought my ring 2 weeks after we moved him out to Oregon over two months ago.
He then told me he had given me the balloon earlier that day as we started our hike because on our first date he asked me what kind of proposal would I want if I ever got married and I told him I didn’t know but I knew I wanted it to involve balloons. He did just that. Fate would have it that his balloon popped on the trail and that I gave away my mine to those little boys.
Just as fate would have it that moments later he “popped” the question and I “gave away” my heart to him forever.