Wineka column: Buddy Poole asks for his Southern belle’s hand in marriage at a Yankees game
Give Salisbury’s Buddy Poole credit. He knows how to make a grand gesture.
Friday night, in the middle of the fifth inning during the Boston Red Sox-New York Yankees game, the giant center-field scoreboard posed this question:
“Diane Harrington, will you marry me? Love, Buddy.”
And Diane, to the delight of Poole and the capacity crowd at Yankees Stadium, gave an emphatic “Yes.”
They got a standing ovation from the crowd.
“There’s no bigger place to propose,” Buddy said days before the secret marriage proposal. “I wanted to make her feel special.”
Buddy’s son, Lance, who lives in Burlington, flew up with his wife, Jessica, to be at the game for the proposal. “He’s excited for me,” said Buddy, who also has a daughter Stacy in High Point.
Poole, owner of the WSAT Memories 1280 radio station in Salisbury for the past 11 years, arranged a Marquee Charters & Tour bus for more than 50 listeners that included a game in Baltimore on Thursday night, the ”proposal” game Friday night in New York, “Jersey Boys” on Broadway tonight and a Sunday game in Philadelphia.
Harrington likes sports, so going on the charter trip with Poole was nothing unusual. Her own children, Wesley and Maggie, were athletes. Diane’s brother, Chris, now an attorney in Birmingham, Ala., earned a football scholarship to Georgia Tech.
Since meeting Poole last summer, she also attended most Catawba College football games with Poole, who is the voice of the Indians. They’ve been to a Washington Redskins-Carolina Panthers football game, and earlier this spring, the couple traveled together on another chartered bus for baseball games in Atlanta.
“She’s a Southern belle,” Poole said of his fiance. “We just have so much in common.”
Poole said his friends think Harrington is “the greatest thing since sliced bread and canned beer.”
Harrington lives in Tega Cay, S.C., and Poole resides in Salisbury, so they’ve dealt with long distances.
Since meeting at a mutual friend’s wedding, when Poole looked across the room and said to himself, “there’s who I want to dance with,” the couple found ways to take shag lessons together, meet for weeknight dinners, go to church on Sundays, attend concerts and, yes, take in sporting events.
Poole couldn’t escape how charming and smart she was. Harrington works as human resources director for Otto Environmental Systems in Charlotte.
Poole’s first wife, Helen, died in January 2012. They had been married 46 years.
Poole said making the arrangements with Yankee Stadium for the scoreboard proposal took about a week. There was a fee.
Poole was able to keep another important secret when talking with the Yankees’ stadium staff.
He’s really a Red Sox fan.
Contact Mark Wineka at 704-797-4263, or firstname.lastname@example.org.