On Monday of last week Rick and I met Arlen and Elizabeth at the Alameda Open Space. We had to sit in the car for a bit to wait for a storm to blow over. As the old saying goes “if you don’t like the weather wait ten minutes and it will change.”
Elizabeth wrote a few paragraphs about how she and Arlen met. I have added them below.
HOW WE MET
We met our junior year of college at Christ the Redeemer Church in Spokane. The first Sunday Arlen attended he met my mom, instantly discovered the New Mexico connection, and she introduced him to a group of Whitworth girls (I was part of that group). Arlen and his roommate attended CTR sporadically for several years. We talked on Sundays, but never made contact outside of church. Right before I moved to Albuquerque, Arlen asked me out to dinner. And…he stood me up. Even after a “?” on Facebook it took him several days to remember our date. Arlen asked me out again to ice-cream and remembered. It was an inauspicious beginning to a wonderful relationship. We emailed that summer and slowly got to know each other. Arlen came to New Mexico several times to visit his family and I picked him up from the airport. Even after acknowledging feelings for each other, neither of us wanted to start a long-distance relationship. In November I went to Spokane for Thanksgiving, my birthday, and to see if things could work out. We started dating three days later. We dated long-distance until Arlen graduated from Gonzaga and moved to Santa Fe. After more long-distance, he moved to Albuquerque. Sixteen months after he asked me to be his girlfriend, he asked me to marry him.
Arlen had spent a week in California for a business trip, and even before he left we made a dinner date for the Sunday he returned. I knew the proposal would come sometime soon and hoped it might happen that night, so I painted my finger nails just in case. Arlen picked me up at around seven after cooking and (as I found out later) otherwise preparing for the entire day. We drove towards the mountains because the plan was to have a view of the sunset. Unfortunately, not only was the park Arlen wanted to go to already closed, but cooking took just enough longer than he had hoped that the sun had already set anyway. Oh well… We drove until we found a gorgeous view of the city lights and, as it was March and dark, we set up dinner in the back seat. After the meal Arlen said there was a special dessert and asked me if I wanted some (hint, hint). I said, “Oh, not quite yet. Let’s wait a while” It took a lot of patience for Arlen not to repeatedly ask me if I wanted dessert, since he had put the ring in the trunk next to it. Finally, I was ready for Girl Scout cookies. Arlen dashed around to the trunk and grabbed the cookies and a book he had made about our “Seasons” together. They included long-distance, time in Spokane, New Mexico, more time apart, and finally together in Albuquerque. The book had a false bottom with a lock on it, so when we reached the last page all I saw was a date – March 9th, 2008 – and a locked compartment. Arlen knelt outside the car, pulled a key out of his pocket, and asked me to make that day the first day of the next season of our lives, and to walk the rest of the days of our lives together: “Will you marry me?” We were both crying by now, and I said an emphatic yes. I took the key and opened the lock on the book to find a breathtaking engagement ring. After recovering from the moment, we went to my parents’ house where they had surprise champagne and dessert, just in case we dropped by. My entire family had known for a week that he would propose, but there was nonetheless jumping and laughing and much retelling. It was a wonderful proposal.