I am extremely excited to share that I am no longer "on the market" and now engaged to the love of my life, Kendra Van Beusekom.
We've been dating for over two years after meeting at school during a FarmHouse BBQ (both of her brothers were in the house with me during school). Our first date was in the park in St. Paul, MN where we learned to dance to 50's music and walked the historic streets of downtown.
It's been the best years of my life with the pinnacle of our relationship coming last night (July 4th, 2012). The story, as it follows, will be told for ages and passed down from generation to generation. (I hope)
It all starts on July 3rd when we headed down to Spirit Lake, Iowa where we met up with a group of firiends that I attended high school and college with. There, many of them asked if I was ever going to "pop the question" to which i gave the normal response, "maybe in 5 years." We watched fireworks, built a bonfire, and slept in tents. It was a FANTASTIC start to the 4th of July Festivities.
After packing up our tent, eating breakfast, and taking a much needed mid-morning nap, we started celebrating Independence Day by packing a cooler and tying up few boats to float in the sun on Fox Lake (where I live). By 6:00 pm we were hot and tired. We were cleaning up for a supper with family at my aunt and uncles' Fox Lake home when I nonchalantly asked if Kendra would like to see fireworks tonight to which she replied, "I don't really care, we saw some last night at Spirit Lake, its up to you." Not the answer I expected, so I had to improvise.
"Kendra, what if we went to a quieter place to watch fireworks and didn't have to deal with traffic? We'd be done by 10:30 pm and home by 11." She fell for it... so i went on,
"Its a quiet place that I like to watch the Fairmont fireworks from, but its kind of a secret so you can't tell anyone about it," I said.
Kendra started laughing, "What do you mean a secret?"
"I mean that its top-secret, so i'll probably have to blind-fold you, so that you can't tell anyone else where it is." I wasn't sure how she would react, or if this was even what I wanted, but she played along with a willing attitude.
So I got Kendra in the truck and put the blindfold on, but I "forgot" something so quickly left to grab a bottle of white wine from the fridge, two dixie cups, and a corkscrew (almost forgot that part...) She was left in the truck feeling the back of my seat looking for where I could have gone. It took about 25 minutes to make the 18-mile trip to the home farm because I had to throw in a few wrong turns (kendra was counting turns and trying to remember the path like any good victim of a kidnapping).
I drove to the home farm and parked right under a new grain bin. Its the newest member of the "grain handling division" of Helvig Farms Inc, and it has a nice spiral staircase running along the east side making it an ideal way to allow a blindfolded Kendra to climb as high as she did. I got out of the truck and pretending to say "Hi" to people i knew. I opened the door for Kendra and asked if she had brought her inhaler because the next part was quite the hike. I raced up the steps to set up the blanket. After getting her safely secured on the top step, I popped the cork on the wine bottle and took her blindfold off. The fireworks were just getting started. It was a perfect evening with a slight breeze from the south carrying the sweet smell of swine. The bugs had gone to bed and the Moon was full. Kendra even commented that people do crazy things on a Full Moon (I now agree).
During the night I had told Kendra that one time I watched the fireworks from the top of our leg which is only 10 feet taller. (For those of you not involved on a farm the leg is a tall, metal, octopus-looking attraction that acts like an auger to put the grain in the bins) I love being on top of the grain bin because its as close as I can get to heaven while being on the farm. I find that its a great place to pray, make life decision, smoke a cigar, and drink a beer. (All things I have done)
It was a PERFECT night almost to the point where I thought Kendra knew what I was up to, so I threw in a few comments to not only calm my nerves, but to throw her off. I said, "I'm so dehydrated from being in the sun, afterwards remind me to steal a gatorade from my parents." and "This is quite the date, but don't worry I'm already planning August's date" (a joke that we only go on one date a month)
I can't say that I was necessarily nervous, but I was giddy, and if you've ever sat next to me in a class where I'm giddy you know that I move... a lot.
The finale came and Kendra started thanking me for such a wonderful date night, but the night wasn't quite over. I got down on one knee (which is awkward on a small, metal staircase) and I pulled the box out from my back pocket. I said, "Kendra, I hope you don't mind, but I kind of have a finale of my own... I've loved you VERY much for a long time and promise to continue to love you for the rest of my life." At this point, the box was open, but since it was so dark, Kendra was still looking off in the distance not realizing exactly what was going on, so I raised the box in front of her face and said, "Kendra Ann Van Beusekom, Will You Marry Me?"
She freaked out and started crying, breathing heavy and trying to talk. My hands got sweaty and my heart started racing. She said, "Yes, of course! Oh my gosh, I can't believe this is happening!"
She immediately started grabbing for the ring, but with her shaking and my intense fear of dropping a ring off the side of a grain bin, I had to stop her. I put the ring on her finger, but since it was dark she still couldn't get a good look at it. Now, this part wasn't planned, but its probably my favorite part.
I said, "would you like to see your ring" and I grabbed my phone and turned the flashlight on. From darkness to intense light, Kendra got the first look at the newest piece of jewelry that she will wear for the rest of her life!