Grandma and Grandpa Zitiello traveled from Cleveland to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday with their Florida family. Normally they would stay in Cleveland to be near Cathy and her children, Mary and Missy, Tom’s three sisters. But, we had convinced them to make the trip south this year.
Tom and I had a secret to keep. Certainly it was difficult, but, we realized the importance of containing our excitement and remained tight lipped.
Each day we awoke to the question; could this be the day? Lindsay had no idea of the life changing event that was about to happen. She continued her routine, work, eat, meet up with friends home for the holiday and of course being with Matt. The air was filled with anticipation.
The ring was due to arrive on Tuesday so we knew from that day on it could happen. Thanksgiving Day came and went and the Grandparents were starting to discuss their return trip. Maybe they should leave sooner to avoid the holiday traffic. Of course Tom and I constantly plotted to persuade them to stay.
Saturday rolled around and Lindsay and I were preparing a picnic lunch for she and Matt. They had planned to spend the day together in St. Augustine, nothing unusual for them. I made sure there was a nice bottle of wine to go with the turkey sandwiches. She left with the scrumptious basket around 10AM to meet Matt.
Shortly after she left the house the phone rang. It was Matt asking if we could have all the relatives from both sides of the family at our house at 3PM. Today was the day. I agreed and immediately called Publix Bakery for a congratulatory cake. The doorbell rang and it was the florist with a huge arrangement. The card read “To the future Mrs. Garrity, we love you so much! Can’t wait to be there to celebrate with you. love, Samantha and Audrey.” All arranged from San Francisco. Phone calls were made, family invited. Everyone was wondering what was happening.
Back to the lovebirds.
Matt and Lindsay were en route to St. Augustine. Just south of Ponte Vedra Matt pulled off the road and told Lindsay he was giving her an early Christmas present. She would need to be blindfolded and he placed the black rolled napkin over her eyes and tied it behind her head. She was laughing while trying to guess what it could possibly be. Just a few months before they had gone to the Jacksonville Beach Air-show. Lindsay had remarked she would like to one day ride in a stunt plane. Little did she know, today was the day.
They arrived at the St. Augustine Regional Airport and Matt escorted Lindsay to the prearranged area where pilot Craig Fordham and stunt plane “Yoda” stood waiting. Matt said, “Merry Christmas, you are going for a ride.” Lindsay was helped into her parachute and into the rear seat on the airplane by pilot and crew and before she could refuse they were taking off down the runway heading north toward Jacksonville Beach.
The airplane is a training plane equipped with cameras on each wing, the nose and the tail. The pilot and passenger have sibilance headphones so they can communicate with one another and also the ground crew and air traffic control. Throughout the flight the pilot asked Lindsay how she was doing as he looped and spun his was along the sunny beaches of St. Augustine and Jacksonville all the while capturing her reaction on video.
Suddenly Matt was speaking to her in her headphones. ” Are you enjoying your wild ride?” he asked. “Yes,” she said. “This is crazy.” ‘Would you like to take another wild ride with me? Will you marry me?” he asked. “What?” she said, screaming in delight. “Yes, oh yes.” The pilot also came into her ear saying, “Would you like to go back now?” “Yes, please “, she replied as the cameras rolled capturing her tears and surprise.
Back at the hangar the ground crew was preparing for Yoda’s landing and had a camera crew to capture what was about to happen. Matt went down on one knee as Yoda approached. Pilot Craig helped Lindsay out of the plane and she ran to Matt and the ring box extended to her. He placed the platinum solitaire diamond on her left hand ring finger and they embraced in a romantic kiss.
After several pictures Matt and Lindsay left St. Augustine airport and went to the park to eat their lunch and share some private time. On the way they phoned the parents to tell them the good news. When Tom and I heard the phone ring we BOTH picked up the telephone. “Mom, Dad, I am marrying Matt” Lindsay screamed into the phone. We told her we were very happy for them and we loved them both.
The Garrity and Zitiello family began to arrive at our house as well as Matt & Lindsay’s friends and some of their parents. The bottles of champagne were on ice . When they finally arrived we all rushed to the front door to greet the happy couple with congratulations and many hugs and kisses.
After things calmed down Tom raised a glass of champagne and gave a wonderful toast to the future Mr. & Mrs. Matthew Christopher Garrity, followed by a toast from Jack Garrity, Jack Sherrod and Blake Sherrod. It was a beautiful day. I know the Grandparents will never forget being there to share every moment of it.
Matt had shown both his creativity and his romantic side in a beautiful way. And, one day, if God blesses them with children, they will be able to watch the engagement proposal of their parents right before their eyes!
We are certain Matt loves our daughter and she loves him. What more could a Mother and Father ask for their only daughter?