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Last week I shared how Kathleen and I met and how we've been making music together for the past 25 years. Today is the anniversary of our engagement.

Kathy shares the story of our engagement as she experienced it:
I had just come through the worst graduate class created on the face of the earth - Anthrolopogical Linguistics. It was the last class I needed to have my clear teaching credential. I'll tell you what, I just did not understand that class. I could not figure out how one African tribe's dialect differed from another's, and why I should care. In 20 years of teaching, I've never needed any of that information. Oh well, that aside. I had just finished the final exam. That's the background information you need to know.

We had arranged to have dinner with a couple with whom we sang in choir. Their daughter was going to be in my kindergarten class the following school year, and they said they wanted to get to know me better. Janet said she would stop by and pick me up, and we would pick her husband up from work before meeting Eric at a restaurant for dinner.

Janet's husband, Steve, was a flight instructor out of Burbank airport. On the way to the airport, about three blocks away, Janet's car broke down - I later learned this was not part of the plan. We walked the rest of the way.

When we got inside the lobby, I told her I was going to find a phone and give Eric a call to tell him we would be late. As I walked across the lobby, I looked out the big picture window and saw Steve and Eric standing outside. I expressed my surprise, and Janet steered me out to where the plane was parked.

Eric pulled out a rose, and told me we were going on an airplane trip to celebrate the completion of my class.

Steve and Janet promptly put on their "Peter Pan" and "Tinkerbell" identification tags, and we were off.

We flew to Santa Barbara, and Steve took the plane to the end of the runway. There was a restaurant there, The Elephant Bar, and we were dropped off. Steve and Janet taxied away. Now I was really confused. Why were our friends, whom I thought were celebrating my class being over, going away?

We were taken to a corner table, where I was presented with another rose - by the way, did I mention that I received roses throughout the day? At work, and in my apartment. Well, the love of my life asked me to marry him, and I was shocked that he pulled off this surprise. I knew the proposal was coming - after all, he had already asked my father, and several times over the previous weeks he would say, "Now, IF I were to ask you to marry me, what would you say?" He really had me believing that it would happen the following weekend, though.

Of course, I accepted, and was given a beautiful engagement ring. The silly waiter snapped a picture of us, and himself, and we had a delightful dinner.

When we finished, Steve and Janet were waiting outside with yet another rose. Did I mention that I love red roses?

We then did something I always wanted to do, fly over the coast and Los Angeles. We even flew down to Long Beach and over the Queen Mary.

Now, along the way, we stopped at the Oxnard landing strip, and were greeted by Eric's friend, Rick. He toasted us, from his tailgate, with sparkling cider and another rose.

When we arrived back at Burbank, we were greeted by another friend from church, who presented me with another rose, and he drove us back to Eric's condo. There, we were set up with more sparkling cider, cheesecake, and more roses!

To say the least, I was absolutely blown away with the attention to detail and love that went into this. So many people worked together to help me feel special, and they did a fabulous job!

So, Eric, thank you for asking me to marry you 15 years ago today. The years have been full of the good and the bad, but I'd do it all over again to be with you. Love you lots!!!

Posted at 5/26/2005 8:57:14 AM by Kathy Mack

The next day, we celebrated our engagement by spending the day at Disneyland.
25 years ago I was pursuing a pretty girl in the choir. I'm still pursuing that pretty girl in the choir 25 years later.

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Although we sang in the same choir, we never met until one night when half the singers were out sick and Peter Beers asked everyone to move to the center, which put me right next to this very pretty girl. I promptly introduced myself and struck up a brief conversation with Kathy (sorry Peter). She seemed nice, was very pretty, and appeared to be single -- all good signs for me. Thinking we could go out for a soda (remember when folks used to do that?), I politely asked her what she was doing after choir. She responded that she was going home to bake cookies for her children. Ouch! Next week, all the choir was healthy, so we moved back to opposite ends of the row. Needless to say, I didn't pursue her further at the time.

It turns out she really did have children -- wonderful children, more than 20 of them in fact! (What I didn't know was that she was a kindergarten teacher, and very nice, and very pretty and single.) Many months later I spoke with her again, and once we got that sorted out, I watched for her at rehearsal and on Sundays. Then, I asked her out again. But that's another story for another day.