Two of my closest pals got engaged over the weekend. I've known Jon since our college days, even before Ashley entered the picture. Over the years, I've discovered one crucial piece of information which informs everything Jon says or does: He's one of the most excruciatingly thoughtful people you'll ever meet. True to form, this camping trip evolved over a litany of emails, maps, plans, phone calls, and more emails. Every single detail of this elaborate choose-your-own-adventure-style engagement was painstakingly and meticulously wrought. From the Field Guide notebook he filled with instructions for the journey to the ring bearing his own fingerprints, Jon made sure the weekend was suffused with his sense of whimsy and imagination.
One rarely knows where to begin when it comes to Ashley. She's a black belted, zombie-slaying, BBC fanatic with a penchant for digging in the dirt and sucking down Slurpees. In other words, she's a 12-year-old boy stuck in the body of an adult woman, with the imagination of a comic book geek and an unerring commitment to the movie Lost Boys. And as it turns out, she's Jon's ideal woman.
It took them a long time to get here, and there may have been a few casualties along the way, but at last, eight years after meeting, they've finally decided to take on the zombie apocalypse as an ass-kicking pair.
Since we had no cell reception, our instructions relied on the accuracy of napkin maps.
The field guide Jon put together to guide Ashley on her trek, our campsite, and the ring in a custom geode box.
Ladies and germs, this is a lady who is about to get engaged. She wore potato sack pants with one cuff rolled higher than the other. Put the flirty dresses away, because she wins all rounds, hands down. Having received her walking stick and field guide, Ashley consults the manual before proceeding.
But danger lurks around every corner! Along the trail, Ashley encountered zombies and one very reluctant vampire.
DIE! DIE! KILL! KILL!
In the foreground, a dead vampire. Ashley marches on, unfazed.
Carnage from the kill.
After 20 minutes on the trail with an special playlist, a bag of supplies, and instructions, Ashley met Jon and he led her to this outcropping where she found a box of treasures.
The PANTS. Oh, how I love you, Ashley. This is the part where Jon proposed. IN SPITE OF THE PANTS.
She said yes.
Jon also formally invited Ashley, previously a lone wolf, to join our wolf pack (friends and family). They returned to find the tribe waiting at the campsite with a few surprise cross-country visitors.
Emily Weiss created the wolf ears for the pack.
"OMG are those his fingerprints molded into the ring?" YES. Yes, they are.
Everyone contributed veggies and meat for hobo stew.
Congratulations, you two. It's been a long time coming.