I’ve told this story dozens of times, but I thought I’d write it down for posterity. And for future generations, should they care.
The day was Monday. June 14, 2010. My boyfriend Mike Sorensen was IM’ing me, trying to convince me to go hiking after work that day, rather than hanging out on our normal Tuesday date night. The reason, he claimed, was that the weather was nice for Monday and supposed to rain again on Tuesday. I wasn’t interested. I was stressed out with too much to do after work, and leaving for middle school summer camp a few days from then. So I told him no, let’s stick with Tuesday. He’s normally a pretty easy going guy, so it surprised me when he was persistent enough to say, “well, let me know if you change your mind…”
Little did I know he had met my dad for coffee that morning, asked for my hand in marriage, and had shared his plans to propose that night.
Later that afternoon I happened to call my dad because I wanted to get his advice on something work related. He gave his advice, then for some reason asked what I was doing that night. It’s rather amusing in retrospect, but I told him that Mike wanted to get together that night, but I wasn’t interested because I had too much to do. He encouraged me to go with Mike, which stunned me a little bit because he’s not normally one to give me social advice. Nevertheless, I respect his opinion, and he swayed me to change my mind.
I got back on IM and told Mike that yes; I’d go hiking with him after all. Laundry and chores could wait, I supposed. I didn’t want it to be a late night, so I quickly poo-pooed the idea of the first hike he suggested (Silver Star Mt), which takes over an hour to get to with extremely rough terrain. Instead we went for a short hike in the Gorge, Elowah Falls. From there Mike drove up the windy roads to Larch Mountain (Oregon), where earlier in our courtship we’d seen the Northern Lights and shared our first kiss (on two separate visits; this was our third visit up there together, at night).
Mike donned a giant backpacker’s pack for the 5 minute walk to the top, claiming he needed to practice for our upcoming backpacking trips. I didn’t think anything of it. Once we got to the top, the romantic starry sky was blocked by fog, and there was zero visibility. Furthermore, it was rather chilly, and I was shivering wearing shorts, a t-shirt and a thin sweatshirt. Mike pulled out his now standard insulated lunch box, and removed a pint of my favorite ice cream, which I happily munched on despite the chill.
He asked me how I thought our relationship was going, a standard question we asked each other from time to time. I of course thought it was going just fine, and I told him so. Next thing I remember he had pulled a large purple gift-wrapped box out of his pack, and set it on my lap without a word. My first thought was, “huh?” “That’s weird.” Then it hit me. “What if this is…” Nah, it couldn’t be. But … I bet it is!!”
Somewhat nervously, I began to unwrap the package. Inside it was a smaller package, also wrapped in purple. Now I was really starting to get suspicious. I looked at Mike inquisitively; he just stared back at me with no expression on his face. I proceeded to unwrap the second box. It was filled with purple tissue paper. (Fellas, take note: he knew purple was my favorite color. Major bonus points for thoughtfulness.) I fished through the tissue paper, now more nervous than ever. Tucked inside the wrapping paper was a jewelry box. At this point my heart was in my throat. I opened the box, and inside it was the most gorgeous diamond ring I had ever seen.
I looked at Mike, who had sat down beside me on the bench. He looked straight into my eyes and asked, “So, what are you doing for the next 70 years or so? Do you want to hang out?” It took me about 0.0003 seconds to reply, “YES!” He then got down on one knee. “Summer Hamilton, I love you with all my heart. Will you marry me?” I might have paused to take a breath before answering in the enthusiastic affirmative, I don’t recall. But we hugged, and it was official.
Needless to say, I was quite pleased that I had changed my mind and decided to go hiking that evening. 🙂