Proposal Narrative
 from Justin Holley to Ali


I still nearly tear up, in a wonderfully heartfelt sort of way, each time I remember back to Christmas time of this past year.  Upon further pondering, this phenomenon most certainly has more to do with Alicia Grivno (my beautiful future bride) than my own actions.  No amount of planning on my part could have compared to how I feel for her, but here is our story nonetheless:


To get to the end of this story I must briefly start you out somewhere before the beginning.  This, sometime before the beginning, happened to be Thanksgiving at Ali’s parent’s house in Ada, MN.  I had already made up my mind that Ali was the woman I wanted to spend the rest of my days with, but asking her father for her hand was an entirely different matter.  Luckily for me, he and I both have a habit of being up and about by six in the morning and with sweaty palms and a bit of stammering I managed to get a thumbs up and a smile - no verbal exchange was needed.  Next came the easy part.


Over the course of the next few weeks I put my plans in motion.  First came the ordering of the custom engagement ring.  I was so nervous that it would not be done on time, but true to their word, Ken K. Thompson delivered a beautiful, sparkling band that truly deserved to sit on the finger of my beloved.  What came next took a little more pondering.  I knew what I wanted to accomplish and how, but getting it just so would prove tricky.  It was all about the timing and there was little room for error, so first was a visit to the hardware store where I purchased an outdoor remote and several strings of outdoor Christmas lights (it was the season after all).  Next I found a nice size “Christmas tree” in my back yard and shoveled a wide path to it through the snow with a place next to the tree wide enough for what I planned to do.  I then strung the lights, which you can take my word for was an adventure - on several occasions I was afraid that I may be in the hospital rather than proposing.  Albeit an adventure, a few scrapes and bruises later I had a lit tree that I was happy with.  I lastly plugged the extension cord into the remote sensor and, like magic; I had an outdoor “Christmas tree” that would light upon a touch of my finger.  I still had a few days before the big event and during that time I wrote a poem that would say the words that I knew would be difficult to produce on the spur of the moment. I also devised what I would say to lure Ali outside, into my back yard, in the dark – a challenge in itself.  Then the big day finally came:


Let me start off by saying that I was nervous.  My stomach churned all day, but if I was going to pull this off as a complete surprise (please keep in mind that Ali is a mental health therapist) I had to be on top of my game.  Ali, who lives in Detroit Lakes, met me at Keith’s pizza on the Southside of town.  Through the meal my mind was elsewhere, but I must have pulled off the illusion of casual conversation because she never noticed my anxiety.  Even today she would tell you that I was “as cool as the other side of the pillow” when inside I was sweating like a pipe in one hundred percent humidity.  We then drove to my house and got her bags unpacked.  She informed me at this time that she still had Christmas cards to write out and needed to do it immediately.  I was so impatient – didn’t she know that I had something even more special to do?  By this time I was about to explode.  Despite my eagerness, by about eight-thirty Ali had finished with her cards and I asked her if she would care to go for a walk.  Her reply was; “in the dark?”  Now I knew that Ali was scared of the dark and that this could be an issue, so I thought quickly and did what any American boy would do – I lied.  I responded with; “my stomach hurts and I could sure use a walk… and the company”.  She gave me that look that said, “Do I really need to go with?”  In the end though she came willingly enough and we set out on our “walk”.  We go for walks often and usually down the drive way, so as you may expect, Ali heads down the driveway.  She was already leery of the dark, but probably a bit more so as I suggested we take the nice path that I had shoveled to the back yard.  Her first question was; “Why did you shovel a path?”  I muttered something about having attempted to shovel down and make a skating rink as I started down the path hoping there would be no more questions.  Luckily there wasn’t, so armed with a ring in one coat pocket and a remote and poem in the other I walked with my girl down the path to the dark back yard.  We talked about many things that I can’t quite remember, but when we finally reached “the tree” I managed to hit the remote and “the tree” lit up perfectly.  While Ali was still pleasantly shocked and the lights danced in her beautiful blue eyes, I removed the poem from my pocket and asked her if I could read her a Christmas poem.  She nodded her consent and I read.  The last line was the proposal, but I never made it that far.  As I uttered the last words and produced the ring from my pocket Ali was already kissing me and saying yes.  Then, as the snow fell gently around us, my trail camera went off to capture the moment for posterity – one we will always cherish.           

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