Karen Burry

When I met my now-husband in 2008 I had told him that I had not gone on any vacations in my adult life. He took this as a challenge to whisk me away to exciting adventures at every possible chance. So I had no suspicions when he planned a trip for us on my birthday in June 2010 to Mackinac Island in Michigan. He insisted on driving the entire 8 hours himself and I was at a loss as to why he seemed so stressed out by the time we got there (I know, I’m oblivious). We took the ferry from the mainland and were immersed in the special place that is Mackinac. If you don’t know, one of the most awesome things about this island is that there are no cars allowed – so everyone gets around by horse. It has created a little bubble in time for the island and those who live on it. Its yearly inhabitants only number in a few hundred because of the fact that the island is unreachable except by snow mobile when the lake freezes over in the winter. It really is a charming place. And the Lilac festival was being held the weekend after we were there – lucky for us the lilacs had bloomed a little early and the entire island was fragrant and awash in purple. The one plan Daniel had made before we got to the island was to make reservations for dinner the last night we were there. When he had called the hotel we were staying at to make reservations he had asked the owner (who happens to also be the mayor, it turns out) where she and her husband would go for a special dinner. That was the place we were going to have to take a 45 minute carriage ride to for our special dinner. Of course, we were a bit late getting ready, so our carriage actually left without us! Daniel was sweating bullets at this point. But we called the company and they sent another carriage right over and we were on our way. It was a bit chilly so Daniel offered me his jacket. I was certainly content cuddled up to my man being driven through lush, quite woods on a brisk June evening. Dinner was delightful (I had the Michigan cherry stuffed chicken) and Daniel and I went to take a walk around the grounds of the beautiful hotel where we had eaten. As we came to a cliff which Daniel insisted we were going to have to climb down to get to the shore, I glanced in disbelief from the steep drop to my nice heels. As I was attempting to argue with him that this was a bad idea, he hugged me tightly and told me how much he loved me, that his life had been all leading up to meeting me. I was wondering if this was a ploy to try and get me down that ridiculous hill. Then he dropped to one knee and I honestly have no idea what came out of his mouth next. I think it was something like “marry me”, or at least I hope so because I whispered “yes” as quickly as I could. He stood up and hugged me and we kissed one of those beautiful movie kisses that make everyone in the theater swoon. Afterwards I found out that Daniel had looked at the satellite image of that area and did not realize the drop between the hotel and the shoreline – he had wanted to propose with the Mackinac Bridge behind us. I also found out he had already cleared this with the manager of the hotel so they had champagne and desert waiting for us when we came back in. He had also arranged for a private carriage to take us back to our hotel – one that would circle the entire island for a romantic ride under the stars. And as we sat in our carriage for two, he broke out a laptop, opened it up, and played a beautiful video for me. The first part was filled with pictures of our relationship – the great times we had had together, and was set to the song “Over the Rainbow” from 50 First Dates (one of our favorite movies). Once the song ended, I was greeted by the smiling face of my father. It turned out Daniel had driven the 3 hours both ways to ask my father’s blessing several months before our engagement. He had then asked my father and step-mother to make a video congratulating us! The next video included Daniel’s parents, the next our best friends, and then the last was my mother’s family. A month before this trip we had taken a trip to Houston to see my little cousin graduate high school and my mother’s three brothers had all been there – and Daniel had asked each of them for their blessing since my mother had passed away and could not give it herself. The end of this video was my Uncle Roger in a fish lens telling Daniel, “If she said ‘no’, call me… immediately!”. Well, thankfully, I said “yes”. Daniel and I were married 6 months later in a small ceremony that is still the talk of our families. And we look forward to even more wonderful adventures.