Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Proposal

So as promised, here are the details of my proposal of marriage to the future Mrs. Melissa Jane Engstrom Livingston, not to be confused with Melissa Madeline Weilenmann Livingston, heretofore referred to with the self-given title of “Mama Melissa.”

Anyways, the following is a tale of masterful trickery and near perfect planning. I hope you enjoy:

I am a gentleman of high propriety; I am old fashioned and believe in tradition. I could not think of asking for my sweetheart’s hand in marriage without first consulting her parent and receiving their permission. I also wanted to follow Melissa’s desire to fully and completely surprised by the proposal of marriage and not tip her off by letting her know of my meeting with her parents. This past Thursday, Bert and Eileen, her father and mother, came into town to see his sister’s play being performed at the University of Utah. Under the guise of church meetings, I was able to sneak over to their hotel and over the course of conversation, ascertained permission to marry their daughter. So now with the third-base coach waving home, it was time to put a plan in action.

I had been suffering from the dreaded disease mononucleosis for the past month or so, requiring me to take lots of naps. These “naps” (not all were real) gave me more than the usual amount of time to gather the necessary items to propose marriage to someone. I bought an absolutely lovely engagement ring during one such nap, and proceeded to ask Melissa several weeks later to remind me what styles of rings she likes so I could find the perfect one. This threw her off my scent. One weekend Melissa went down to Cedar City for burton’s (her nephew) birthday party. I really would have liked to go, but being sick, I stayed home and instead bought an old table, sanded it, painted it, and then antiqued it. It turned out beautiful. I hid it under a tarp in my basement.

The finished Table

So Saturday, the twelfth of March came along, and I had to take another nap. This time I was at the floral shop and hobby lobby buying some last minute decorations. Then I got ready to accompany Melissa and her family to the play.

Now a little caveat: I would like to just say how great this play was. I was seriously impressed by the characters and the way I, as a member of the audience, became invested in the plight of one Ignaz Semmelweis. This man was a medical pioneer, whose discoveries could have saved thousands of lives if the established minds of the day would have just listened to what he had to say. Instead, he was laughed to scorn and ended up dying in an insane asylum It was very compelling.

After the play and our congratulations to Melissa’s aunt Fae for the terrific job on the play, we started driving back to Provo. The time was approximately ten p.m. As we drove, Melissa began to doze off, and I began to sweat profusely. My prescription strength antiperspirant was no match for my nerves. As I took the Orem center street exit she awoke and wondered where we were. I told her that we were just in Orem and asked if she wanted to go on a little adventure. That piqued her attention and gave her a shot of energy. We began to dance to ke$ha as we drove towards the mountains overlooking Utah Valley.
At this point, Melissa had no idea what was going to come. She thought that we were just on a search to find the best view in Provo. She did not know that I had bought a ring or talked to her parents about the prospect of marriage. We continued to climb the foothills of Provo until we reached a huge house near the dead-end of a street. I parked the car and asked “Are you ready for the dangerous part of our adventure?”

“What are we doing?” there was a tinge of nervousness in her voice. “Are we breaking and entering.”

I got out of the car and started to cross the street towards the large iron gate in front of the house. She followed a few steps behind me. I turned around, “Get out of the light, don’t let anyone see you!”

I walked up to the gate and typed in the access code, and it slowly swung open.
“Whose house is this?” she asked.

“I don’t know.”

The gate fully opened and we walked into the front yard.

“Okay, run! There are dogs and they’ll get us!” I grabbed her hand and she screamed as we started running across the front lawn to escape the imaginary dogs.

We went through a small chain-link fence into the back yard, and there was a gazebo overlooking the entire valley. A sign hung across read “Greg & Melissa.”

The Decorated Gazebo

“Looks like it was made just for us,” I commented.

“Yeah, it has our name on it!” she said.

(Parenthetically I will add that this is the moment when she realized what was going on.)

We walked into the gazebo and saw the table I had made a few weeks back decorated with flowers, rose petals, love poems, and a book. She began to read some of the poems and asked if I had written them.

The Decorated Table

“No, “ I said, “but I did write this.” I handed her the small book and she began to read it.
“A love story. By Gregory Scott Livingston. Dedicated to Melissa Jane Engstrom.”
She proceeded to read all about how we had fallen in love and now never want to be apart from one another. In the last pages, she found a cut-out in which her ring was tied-in with ribbon. I dropped to one knee and asked for her to be mine forever. And then she said “YES!”

The Book (hand bound by Mama Melissa) with the Ring

I put the ring on her finger and we proceeded to spend the next hour jumping around in the gazebo, too happy to know what to do next. After it had begun to settle in, we drove back to her apartment where our friends and family were waiting to congratulate us.

It's so shiny!

It really could not have been more perfect. I have to thank one more time my roommates Kendrick and Preston, along with my former roommate Jared and his new roommate Mindy, and my little sister Megan for their help in decorating the gazebo and Melissa’s sister Camille for help in coordinating all of the events. It really was perfect.


MissyJEE said...

beautiful. nice work, gregory. :) i'm crying. :) ohhhhh i love you two!

Bjarnsons said...


Melissa forwarded us the link to your blog. Such a wonderful story of how you and Liss got engaged. I loved reading it! We are so excited for you to join our family Greg. And I am just so happy for you and Melissa!

Melanie(Melissa's sister)

Julia H. Doolittle said...


It was so fun to have your mom over to our home, show me the beautiful book (before it was finished), take note of your writing ability, find a punch for Mama Melissa to make the cut outs with and look forward to the formal announcement. What a treasure you will both have in that little book and the memories it will bring to the forefront whenever you see it.

I look forward to meeting your Melissa! Courtney thinks she is great! Congratulation to both of you!

Katherine said...

So, so unbelievably perfect!