To: Family Members and Friends
Date: September, 2002
Sallee and I are officially engaged!
* * * * * * * * * * * *
Thursday, September 26, 2002:
I proposed; she accepted.
Friday, September 27, 2002:
Hot air balloon ride over Albuquerque. Lunch at the Route 66 Diner.
Saturday, September 28, 2002:
Sunrise over Pojoaque. Flights to Tennessee to ask parents blessings and support.
Receipt of parents' blessings and support. Visit with family and friends.
Sunday, September 29, 2002:
Church. Flight back to Albuquerque (Joshua).
Final surprise presentation of "our song" and token of remembrance.
Monday, September 30, 2002:
Flight back to Chicago (Sallee).
* * * * * * * * * * * *
I picked Sallee up at the airport on Thursday afternoon. We went to the restaurant, High Finance,
which sits at the top of Sandia Peak. To get to the top of the restaurant at over 10,500 feet, we had to
take the world's longest tram up to the 2-mile high restaurant beginning at about 5,000 feet. Refer to
the website below for pictures. We will make pictures we took available shortly. The timing was wonderful
to experience a sunset evening full of color and amazement.
We started with appetizers after I had
to get a tad-bit indignant with the host for not cooperating
with getting us the window table that I wanted. It worked out because that was not the time to stress the
I suggested we venture out to take some
pictures during the sunset. We did. After taking a couple of
pictures on the deck of the restaurant, we ventured out to the mountain point overlooking a cliff. There
we looked out over the world as though we were standing on top of it together and nothing could harm
us. We reflected about the movie-musical Brigadoon, which is a must see for all you romantics out there.
That set the stage for me to quote Shakespeare's "The Passionate Pilgrim."
Live with me, and be my love,
And we will all the pleasures prove
That hills and valleys, dales and fields,
And all the craggy mountain yields.
There will we sit upon the rocks,
And see the shepherds feed their flocks,
By shallow rivers, by whose falls
Melodious birds sing madrigals.
There will I make thee a bed of roses,
With a thousand fragrant posies,
A cap of flowers, and a kirtle
Embroider'd all with leaves of myrtle.
A belt of straw and ivy buds,
With coral claps and amber studs;
And if these pleasures may thee move,
Then live with me and be my love.
And that was the question, and I added
some of my own words of love, adore, and truly blessed to have Sallee
as a part of my life and I got on one knee and asked the question directly.
She said, "Absolutely." I asked
if that was a "yes," and she said "yes." I asked if I could rise
get my knee off of the pointed jagged rocks that were pointedly kneading my flesh. She said yes, closed her
eyes, and I placed the ring upon her finger. We stayed out there on the 40-degree temperature mountain
holding each other for quite some time, warm through our love and commitment to each other.
As we headed back to the restaurant and
approached our table, a dozen of red roses were awaiting my fiancée.
Others in the restaurant smiled and wished us well and seemed to have their own memories to remind them of
love, forever, and the blessings of finding that true soulmate to spend a lifetime with...
Sallee could not eat nor hold her glass
of water. I asked if she wanted me to come over to that side of
the table. She said "yes." I came over to hold her and comfort her. I believe she may have been somewhat
surprised. Eventually, she would ask that I "please get me out of here." I suggested that we had to at
least taste our engagement dinner before having it packaged to go. I fed her bites of the linguine and
the penne pasta. Then, we left.
I had to make a quick stop at the restaurant
at the bottom of the mountain, Santiago's. There Shirley led
us to a candlelit table on the patio/balcony overlooking the valley. Sallee was much less
catatonic at that point. We enjoyed after-dinner drinks and dessert. (I know, we didn't really have
dinner.) Shirley, the manager, as we had arranged turned the restaurant music down and allowed me to
play the CD that I had made with many of our favorite and most meaningful songs on the boombox I had brought
along, as well.
We danced on the balcony overlooking the lights of the valley to the O'Jay's "Stairway to Heaven."
When the bartender came out to present
our drinks bill because the desserts were "on-the-house," we were
engrossed in singing Pure Soul's "We Must Be in Love." He could not bring himself to put the bill down and
had to fight back his emotions. He as well as both staffs wished us well and thanked us for allowing them
to share in such a special evening.
Then we went back to the Hyatt where I
had rooms reserved for us. We toasted from one of the upper
rooms overlooking the city and with our mountain in the background. Tears were flowing. We listened to
more of the CD and eventually retired to our rooms.
We were ready to depart at 6:00 a.m. The van picked us up in front of the hotel. It had "Great Escapes
Hot Air Balloon Rides" on the door. We helped prepare the hot air balloon for flight and we were off. It
was a spectacular morning to soar above the clouds and rise with the rising of the sun. It was AWESOME!
After helping to break the balloon down
as well, we were then a part of a Champagne Brunch which turned
out to be our first unofficial engagement party as another couple became engaged on their balloon ride.
We had our balloon to ourselves with our pilot, a Methodist minister/comedian who was prepared to
perform the ceremony right then and there. The other balloon had about 6 folks in it. Our balloon ride was
about an hour to an hour and a half. We were prepared for a hard landing and to be dragged a bit. It was
much better than anticipated.
Afterwards we went back to the hotel and
played "acey-deucy," one of our favorite games. Sallee beat
me bad. We then had lunch at the Route 66 Diner. Route 66 connects Albuquerque and Chicago. When I had
a meeting in Albuquerque in 1999, I sent her a postcard asking if she would meet me halfway.
Then we headed back to Santa Fe (Pojoaque)
absolutely exhausted. We pushed dinner reservations at
Gabrielle's back to 9:30 but still could not find the strength to make it there.
We awoke at about 1:15 and Sallee helped me do my hair. We then got about 40 minutes of sleep before
venturing out to watch the sunrise over the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. I wanted us to view it at Nambe
Lake; however, the access gates were locked. I had driven to the lake overlook during the preceding week
and as soon as I saw the lake, I immediately turned my head and got back in my truck. It was so beautiful in
the split second that I saw it that I did not want to view it in its full magnificence and splendor until
Sallee and I could view it together. Guess what two things are on the list for the next trip?
When we got back from watching the sunrise
and seeing the low-hanging clouds and fog, I made breakfast;
Sallee rested; and then I packed.
I suggested we get dressed and go for
a ride. I also suggested that Sallee bring her clothes and luggage
because we might not make it back before church on Sunday and her Sunday evening flight.
Well, I was still torn between going back
to see if they had opened the gate to Nambe Lake and making our
appointment. So, I asked Sallee to look in the glove compartment and verify that we did or did not have
time. There she saw a Southwest Airlines itinerary with both of our names, Nashville, and September 28th.
She approached that catatonic state again.
Well, we were off to Tennessee to tell
her parents and ask their blessings and support. They were the first
that we told as I had asked that we not tell anyone until Saturday afternoon/evening so that we could have
just some "us" time before announcing this to the world. This was also so that Saturday could truly be
a surprise to her folks as well.
We played acey-deucy on the plane and
I was unstoppable. When we landed we made some exploratory
calls to find out where her mom and dad were. We found out that both would be home in about the time it
would take us to get to Murfreesboro. We approached and parked out of site and rung the front doorbell.
We could have used her keys, but thought that death from a shotgun was not as attractive an option as life
Her Dad opened the door and was surprised
to see us and was like what are we doing there? I said we were
simply in the neighborhood and decided to drop by. Her mom came out of the back and hit her. Hit her
HARD. It was a play hit, but it was HARD. Because Miss Dimple (Sallee's grandmother) was transferred to
a nursing facility that Friday, her mom, Miss Kitty, thought we had come back to check on the two of them.
Well, that was a bonus. As her mom and dad made themselves comfortable in the den, we hung close to
each other hiding behind the sofa. Eventually, I got around to telling them that we had had a wonderful
weekend and that I loved Sallee and was truly thankful to God for the blessing she has been / is in my life
and that this was also our engagement weekend and that we are asking for their blessings and support.
Sallee's Dad gave us a bit of a hard time
for about 45 seconds or so. Then he said we had his support and
blessings. Miss Kitty followed and said I already knew her answer a long time ago. I shook his hand
again, hugged her mom again, and then I took my coat off and breathed again. Even though we were given a
bit of a hard time, Sallee's Dad would arise early on Sunday morning and make us breakfast. And he whistled
the entire weekend.
Later that evening we went to see her
grandmother. Miss Dimple was so thrilled to see us, and we were
glad to see her. Later, Sallee's brother Scamp and her best friend Kim came by and we all talked about
the weekend and actions/reactions, and so forth.
During this time, we were also able to call Jocelyn, Aunt Jet and Ces.
Again, we were exhausted all over again.
We awoke early Sunday morning, and Sallee finished my hair by oiling and twisting my locks. I believe her
mom and dad had flashbacks to her doing his hair as I sat on the floor between her legs while she sat on the
couch making her man look tight!
We went to church and folks gave us their
congratulations as well. Sallee's minister, Reverend
Archibald, clowned us as usual, but this time it was for a different reason. It was a great opportunity to
share in such a blessed event and occasion.
I would fly out that afternoon.
I had rented a car and needed to return it, so Sallee's mom and dad let
her ride with me to the airport and they drove to Nashville to pick her up so that we could spend a few
When Sallee got back home, she found a
package waiting on her bed. It was a shadow box containing the
CD-single of our song, "Could I Just Spend My Life with You?" by Eric Benet and Tamia. On the glass
there was an engraving, "Live with me and be my love" and "September 26, 2002."
...and I have not come down out of the clouds yet!
We will provide more details in person or via email or telephone, etc.
--Joshua and Sallee--
As promised, these are a couple of websites
with virtual reality tours of the proposal site atop the
mountain and the ballooning on Friday.