Now I don't want to brag, but I have to say that with the help of my AWESOME sister and family, I pulled off a pretty sweet engagement. I had a very whimsical idea just a week before Christmas that I could sneak Alicia down to our favorite city, Chattanooga, TN, and propose to her with a frisbee in a beautiful park on the Tennessee River. With the help of my family and especially my sister Laura, we pulled off a fantastic plan. We developed a ruse that had Alicia thinking we were driving down to my older sister Gina's house in Cartersville, Georgia, for a pre-New Year's celebration. We were in separate cars, and I told Alicia that we had time to stop off in Chattanooga for a minute. My mom, dad, and Laura were half an hour ahead of us and already in the Chattanooga when Alicia and I arrived. Alicia of course thought my parents and sister were already well into Georgia. So we parked in the city and walked the pedestrian bridge across the Tennessee river carrying a decoy frisbee. My sister had planted the real frisbee, on which I had written "Alicia 'Hatch', will you marry me?" in a bush by the River. We walked into the park and tossed the decoy frisbee around for a while as I moved us toward the bushes. When the time was right, I made the world's worst throw and tossed the decoy frisbee into the bushes. I charged into the bushes and, unbeknownst to Alicia, came out with the real frisbee. Despite it being clearly marked on the top and having an engagement ring securely fastened to the bottom, Alicia caught the real frisbee and threw it back to me three stinking times before finally seeing it on the fourth toss. She was driving me crazy! When she did see it, though, it was perfect!
Because my sister was there incognito the entire time, we have video evidence that it all really happened. If you have nine minutes to spare, check out my "smoothness" with this youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
Note, you must have this link to access the video, and it cannot be viewed from your cell phone for some reason.
This year will be hard for us as a couple. Alicia is tied to Missouri by her job and the final year of her Ph. D. work. I have very few opportunities to be in Missouri because my schedule is going to be very full and seldom includes stops in or near the Midwest. We are both chasing our individual dreams, but we support each other fully, and we know that our dreams have us on a path to a wonderful life together! Though I may not see her as much as I would like over the next twelve months, I am so proud, happy, and excited to announce Alicia Hatcher as my fiancé!