He said, she said: Time for an introduction

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 5, 2015

It’s time that I make a very important introduction.

Salisbury Post readers, I’d like you to meet my fiancé, David McDowell.

He is simply amazing, and I get to marry him.

I think the things I love the most about him are his big heart, genuine spirit and quick wit. The fact that my parents love him doesn’t hurt, either.

Originally from Maryland, David moved down to Salisbury in 2005 to attend Catawba College. After graduation, he did a brief stint in Fuquay-Varina before returning to Catawba to work part time in the athletics department. He moved to Durham for a full-time position at a television graphics company, but eventually returned to his alma mater for a full-time position. He was recently promoted to an assistant athletic director position at the college.

Now, I suppose many of you want to know our story.

David and I met a little over a year ago in our Bible study at church.

I was fairly new to the group, and David had missed a few weeks because of work.

So, when this new (to me) guy walked into church asking who had the Summit Church (my church back home) bumper sticker on their car, my heart sank. I thought for sure that he had hit my car in the parking lot. But when he explained that he attended that church when he lived in Fuquay-Varina, I knew he had to be special.

So, I greeted him with the stiffest, fully-extended handshake I could muster. There’s no denying it – it was awkward.

I think David felt sorry for me, because shortly after our awkward first encounter, he started inviting me to hang out with him and his friends. Since I really didn’t have many friends of my own, I gladly obliged.

I had a hunch that he liked me, and I’ll admit, I resisted it at first. Falling in love here in Salisbury didn’t fit into my carefully crafted life plan.

I’m not exactly sure when our relationship morphed from friendship to flirty banter to true affection.

Perhaps it was the weekly Walmart grocery shopping trips where I first experienced his friendly teasing, or the time he hosted a movie night and I realized he knew every word to the songs in “Frozen” (he claims it’s just because he watched it on repeat with his nephew). Or maybe it was the day he came over to help me move the last of my stuff into my apartment and my cheeks hurt from smiling and my abs hurt from laughing when he finally left.

Around Christmas, we began talking about the what-ifs of a future together, and by spring of this year the “ifs” had become “whens.”

In mid May, my parents came to Salisbury for the weekend. David and my dad went to the NASCAR All-Star race, and my mom and I went shopping and to the movies. Before the race, David asked my dad if he could marry me (even though he swore up and down that he didn’t, just to throw me off his trail).

He initially planned to propose in July when we go to the beach with my family. He had everything carefully planned out, from how he was going to lure me out to the beach to where my dad could stand unnoticed to take pictures.

But of all his many virtues, patience is not one of them, and by the end of May, he just couldn’t stand it anymore.

We had already planned to go on a date May 22 to celebrate one year of dating, so he decided to take advantage of the fact that we’d already be dressed up and propose two months early.

Earlier that day, I mentioned our date at work, and my boss announced to the newsroom, “Jeanie’s getting engaged tonight.”

I laughed it off and brushed the thought from my mind. I knew David planned to propose at some point in time, but he had been telling me for weeks how there was no way he could get a ring until the end of summer.

David had picked me up from work that afternoon because I was having some car trouble. He dropped me off at my place and said he wanted to run home to shower and change before our date and promised to text me on his way over.

So, I spent my sweet time doing my hair and makeup, waiting for his text to wrap it all up.

About an hour later, he showed up at my door – without his promised 10-minute warning text. Of course, I wasn’t ready for his arrival. So, as I finished putting on my makeup, he was pacing around the kitchen putting things up while we chatted back and forth. What he was really doing was setting up a video camera to record the surprise.

After a few minutes, he asked me to come out into the living room, and as I did, his knee hit the ground and he asked me to marry him.

I, of course, said yes.

It’s amazing how many feelings wash over you in the moments after you say “yes.”

I remember thinking, “Is this for real? Did that really just happen? Oh my goodness, that ring is amazing! Wait, when are we going to get married? Oh, wow, we have to plan a wedding! Oh … we have to plan a wedding.”

David brought me back to reality when he informed me that he had already reserved the chapel at Catawba for April 23.

When we talked about our “what-ifs,” I had told him I wanted to get married in either April or May and that I wanted to get married at Omwake-Dearborn Chapel.

Even before he proposed, he had reserved the venue for the wedding of my dreams.

That’s when I realized that wedding planning with David was going to be different than anything I had ever imagined.

My mental image of wedding planning closely reflected a romantic comedy – I’d be in a flurry of activity, while my man would nonchalantly just nod, smile and say “yes dear” to my every whim.

David, on the other hand, has opinions about wedding things, and he actively wants to be involved. On top of that, he is organized, efficient and has much more event planning experience than I do.

We make a good team, though. We talk about things and work them out, and together we’re able to come up with better ideas than either of us could have come up with on our own.

As we embark on this exciting (and slightly nerve-wracking) adventure, we thought it would be fun for readers to hear both of our perspectives. So, instead of just hearing from me, you’ll get to hear from David as well.

Over the next 10 months, we will each be writing once a month about our wedding planning process. I invite you to follow along and enjoy the journey with us.