I dropped a mic a couple of blog posts ago when I announced at the end that I was marrying the guy in the picture. Haven’t said much since then. So here is our story, as written for our wedding website:
Jeff and Elise met for the first time in July 2018 at a local Purdue Extension meeting on agritourism. Elise was part of the speaker panel and talked about New Zealand. Jeff was looking for ideas for the Christmas tree farm on which he was working. The two bumped into each other a couple of weeks later at the county fair. Then, in October, before the melodrama at the local theater began, they ran into each other at the concession stand. He was buying a drink and attempted to strike up a conversation about her tour guiding experiences during the Covered Bridge Festival, but she had to tell the workers that her mother had spilled her Coke and it had surged all the way from the back row to the front row and ice was everywhere and could someone please bring a mop?
A few days before Thanksgiving, Elise’s brother asked her if she wanted to use his extra artificial Christmas tree. However, she had resolved to always have a real Christmas tree and declined the offer. After Thanksgiving, she drove to the local Christmas tree farm to scout out the possibilities.
She picked out the perfect Charlie Brown tree, a tiny Eastern White Pine. Jeff handed her the saw to cut it down, and she proudly carried it away.
When she loaded it in her dad’s diesel F-350 truck, she heard someone yell, “Is that truck big enough for that tree?”
She turned around to see Jeff with an amused smile. He had just insulted her tree.
But he was carrying a Christmas tree on his shoulder.
It was a Hallmark movie moment, really.
Or a Christmas play, which is where they saw each other next.
Elise nearly didn’t get in to see the play at the local theater because she was 20 cents short. Her time using New Zealand coins had led her to forget what American coins looked like, and what she’d thought was a quarter while counting up her change had actually been a nickel.
So as she dug through her wallet in front of the ticket booth, the person behind her asked how much she needed and then handed her a dollar.
So she entered the Christmas play.
Jeff attended the play, as well. They walked out of the theater together and realized their trucks were parked right next to each other. They stood in the biting wind for several minutes.
I really want to know where this guy is from, she thought. I can’t figure out his accent.
So she asked, “Do you want to go to Dairy Queen?”
Attempting to sound nonchalant, he shrugged and said, “Sure. I’ll meet you there.”
Since it was 9 at night in a small town, Dairy Queen was closed. The only other option for such a late Saturday evening was Pizza Hut.
So they decided that, instead of ice cream, they’d go eat some cinnamon sticks.
But as Elise looked at the Pizza Hut menu, she suddenly remembered a recently diagnosed yeast allergy. Cinnamon sticks contained yeast. She didn’t say anything, though, and went ahead and ordered some, making sure to drink a lot of water throughout the evening.
Her efforts paid off. She learned his accent was from upstate New York, and they talked so much that they got kicked out of Pizza Hut 40 minutes after the restaurant closed.
The Next Part Happened Fast
A few weeks later, Jeff and Elise were kicked out of Grand Traverse Pie Company because it was closing time and they’d been there for nearly four hours. A week later, they had to leave the Covered Bridge Restaurant because they were the only ones left.
Soon, they were going on adventures, questing for ice cream, and working together on the farm.
On the last day of the Covered Bridge Festival, Jeff and Elise took a drive through the countryside to celebrate six months of dating. Jeff said they were chasing the light for a good photograph of a covered bridge. But trees created too many shadows across the sides of Rush Creek, and a van of tourists blocked West Union.
They continued on to Mill Creek, which was built by her great-great-grandfather. However, the route to the bridge proved to be rich with photographic opportunities. Every few feet, Elise asked Jeff to stop the car so she could capture the setting sun against the woods. The usual five-minute trip took at least 45 minutes as she carefully set up shots of waving grasses by the side of the road and trees shining in golden sunshine. She even used a tripod, atypical for her photographic style.
What are we taking pictures of? Jeff thought. Grass? Weeds? Pebbles? She’s going to be taking pictures forever!
When they arrived at Mill Creek bridge, the sun was disappearing. However, there were still 15 minutes left in the Bridge Festival, so Jeff and Elise decided to walk across the bridge.
Jeff stopped near the middle of the arch.
“I’ve been wanting to ask you a question…Will you marry me?”
Elise immediately exclaimed, “Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Then, they sat on the beams underneath the arch for a while, watching the last of the festival traffic wind through the woods.
Thinking they would keep their engagement a secret for a while, they visited Elise’s grandparents for supper, as had been the original plan.
But then, Elise woke up the next morning and proclaimed, “I must tell everyone!”
So the word was out.
And the wedding planning began for May 16, 2020.
We’re getting married on a covered bridge.
So there you have it! Our story.
January was a month of planning–thinking up new blog posts and preparing for the wedding–and wrapping up a project for one of my clients. February has brought me back into the swing of writing for this blog and has started with a cascade of new ideas.
I want to focus more on creating, and to do that, I need your support.
In November, I was accepted into the local art association for my photography. As part of the association, I can display and sell large and small prints, cards, and more in the gallery. I am currently sorting through my photos and analyzing publishing options to make sure I choose the printer that will bring out the best in my images.
I also want to focus on writing and sharing with you what is happening on the farm.
My goal is two-fold:
- Purchase canvases for display at the local art gallery (in time, I may even be able to expand into online sales).
- Finish, edit, and publish a book (or two!) about my travels. I have 17 chapters written, and I’m participating in the 85k90 Challenge, in which we write 85,000 words in 90 days.
To help achieve these goals, I have set up a Ko-fi page that will enable you to support my work. This way, I can focus on my photography and writing work, alongside with working on the farm.
Thank you so much for your support in reading this blog and supporting this project of chronicling life on the farm and thinking about rural areas and travel. Without you, the readers, this could not happen.
If you’d like to support me further, consider “buying me a coffee” (I’ll actually have a tea…) at my Ko-fi page. It means a lot, and it will help me accomplish those goals I set forth above, and it’ll help me continue to provide quality writing for you to enjoy.
And in thanks for reading all the way to the end, here’s a picture of a neighbor’s newborn lamb in the snow. : )