Cracker Jacks and Airplanes
Nate and I had been together just about two years when he
asked me to marry him somewhere between Atlanta and Little Rock.
I’d actually love to know where he proposed, but we were
some 30,000-plus feet in the air on our way to Arkansas for vacation.
I should have known the question was coming, but I still
wasn’t prepared for it. Nate had always said we’d be engaged before I met some
of his family, but we boarded the plane at Philadelphia International Airport
to do just that and my finger was still bare.
I remember being bummed and chalked it up to him being a guy
who’d simply ask when he was ready.
Don’t get me wrong. Nate and I are definitely meant to be
together. We’re opposites in all the right ways.
I can’t believe I was lucky enough to find someone who both
complements me so well and lets me do the same for them.
OK, back to the popping of the greatest question I’ve ever
There we are, sitting on the plane and anxiously awaiting
our arrival in sunny Little Rock.
As is typical for most travelers, Nate had
packed some snacks for the flight.
This flight’s selection? A box of Cracker Jacks.
But this is
no ordinary box of Cracker Jacks.
As Nate starts munching away, he kindly shares the
deliciousness with me. Eventually, we get to the prize in the box and he tells
me to see what we were lucky enough to score.
Normally, I’m all about the prize in the box. I don’t know
why, but those silly stickers or temporary tattoos really hit home for me.
That flight, however, I wasn’t feeling it. I simply didn’t
want the prize.
At one point, I actually took the little white and blue
envelope out, ate more popcorn and put it back in the box.
(Side note: who does
Growing impatient, Nate again urged I open the prize. With a
deep sigh, oozing with a slight annoyance,
I took the prize and tore it open.
There it was. Shiny, stunning and perfect for me.
I looked at Nate with tears welling to the surface and just
stared at him. I possibly muttered something along the lines of “are you
serious?” or “is this happening right now?”
And there he sat. He had a huge smile on his face and asked
me to be his wife.
You’d think for a journalist I could better quote how this
all happened, but it’s a blur now. All I remember is the order of events and
how perfect it was.
Until I started to panic. I’m sitting on a plane with a
bunch of strangers and possibly a U.S. Marshal. I couldn’t react in a shout-y,
typical bridal manner.
Even as I tried to keep my cool, the woman across the aisle
from me noticed my sudden change in demeanor and silently mouthed “are you OK?”
I quickly assured her I was fine and that the best moment of
my life had just happened.
I was to be Mrs. McClure one day.
If you think people on airplanes keep to themselves, you are
wrong, my friends.
Apparently everyone within five rows of us heard me.
I’ve never seen so many passengers hit their flight
attendant light so quickly.
At least 10 dings went off in our little section of
Our happiness was no longer our own.
Within minutes the attendant was on the PA system announcing
our happy moment to the flight. Congratulations were loudly issued through applause
and a few “woo hoos” of my own.
I obliged in showing off my ring to whoever asked and I’m
certain Nate got a few shoulder pats from the crowd.
We went from a private moment of pure joy to something you
see in movies.
It was beyond any expectation I could have ever had.
The excitement finally died down and we landed in Little
Rock. We were greeted in Arkansas with a shout-out from our captain (again over
the PA system) and the flight attendant who took a picture with us to brag to
her friends about.
This moment, something I’ll never forget, was almost two
years ago now. We’ve had a long engagement – the result of moving to a new
state three weeks after the proposal – and now we’re soon to be Mr. and Mrs.
We’re set to tie the knot this weekend in a garden wedding
complete with female guests in large hats adorned with feathers. It’s on that
afternoon when our real story begins.
Side story: While the Cracker Jack proposal could seem
random, it held a special place for us. When we first started dating Nate often
joked how if we ever got engaged it would have to be a Cracker Jack ring since
the real deal would be too expensive.
Posted by caitlin.dineen
on April 16th 2014