Tuesday, February 17, 2015
For a decade, Christopher Jacob Ross, known affectionately as “CJ”, had contemplated asking his beautiful girlfriend, Reena Nadler, to marry him. Paralyzed by fear, CJ could never embolden himself to utter the magic words. The words were never just right, the situation was awkward, or the timing was off were all a part of his stone reasoning.
Meanwhile, CJ’s family got to know Reena. Year after year, she’d stand by CJ’s side in fine times and dark times. Each Christmas, he’d trek to his aunt and uncle’s house in Roanoke with Reena happily along for the endless banquet. Reena, who grew up in a house without Christmas, received an education. Wine, trashy reality TV, uncontrolled board games, bizarre letters to and from Santa, and ripped packages to the ceiling were her lessons.
It was over Christmas this past December that everyone sensed that CJ had a more determined outlook regarding his future with Reena. Perhaps it was the fact that Reena’s identical twin had successfully married last year. Perhaps, he was realizing that no person could put asunder their love. All of us wondered when and how he would pop the question.
As fate would have it, CJ won an Amway promotional trip to Snowbird Resort. His team signed up more team members than any other team in the eastern region. So CJ and Reena dashed off to Utah, and he thought that THIS would be that magical moment. Armed with a ring and his gumption, CJ planned the perfect romantic proposal.
In his head, CJ played out the whole scene. They’d take the lift to the top of one of the most remote runs and then would ski together down the slope drinking in the intoxicating beauty of the stunning vistas. There, halfway down, CJ would motion for Reena to stop. He’d release his bindings and drop on bended knee in presentation of the ring framed by the magical words.
Yet things didn’t go exactly as planned.
Reena, a direct person, consumes her space from point-to-point. CJ, the calculated one, missed this variable. Once at the top, Reena rocketed down the mountain, leaving CJ staring at nature’s beauty and a ring in his pocket. No worries. He figured that he’d be more ready the next time down. So he began exploring his way down the mountain, seeking wayward cross-over paths and virgin snow.
CJ also neglected to consider one other variable. When CJ was 14 or so, his uncle was tossing the football with him at a church vacation bible school. A dedicated receiver, CJ dove for an errant pass and crashed into the concrete stairs of the church building, smashing his clavicle into several pieces. Such is his athletic fortune.
It’s unclear how CJ ended up in the ravine off-trail with a wrenched knee. Perhaps he was gazing at the pristine snow-capped peaks. Perhaps he was consumed by proposal fear. Regardless the cause, CJ found himself alone on a seldom-used spur trail with a ring in his pocket. His dream was shattered.
Reena, meantime, had made it to the bottom and headed over to the brunch bar to await CJ’s arrival. She figured she could sneak in an early lunch without him knowing. Time passed. Lunch was over. CJ had not appeared. She knew that something must be wrong. CJ was never late. Connected and attuned to each other as they had been for a decade, she knew that there must be trouble.
Decisively, Reena trammed back to the top to search for her love. She made it to the point where she left him for her early lunch and brought her focus on CJ to think like him for a moment. He most likely would have fallen into a ravine somewhere on a spur trail, she thought. Carefully she explored each possibility, looking for spurs where only lonely tracks could be seen. Finally, she saw promising tracks. She veered off the main run and onto the spur through a stand of pines. She followed. The tracks then disappeared over the edge. There, lying at the bottom of a shallow ravine was CJ, her love. He grimaced in pain and explained his plight.
Reena, fully understanding his dire plight, zipped away and sought help. She returned to CJ and worked her way down the steep to be with him as they awaited medical assistance. It was there, as they waited together in that lovely spot gazing at the beauty of the western world, that CJ asked Reena to marry him. Of course she said, “Yes!”
When the ski patrol arrived, they really couldn’t understand why the two were laughing and crying. It took just a moment for Reena to explain that CJ had proposed. They placed CJ in a splint and sledded him down the mountain after taking a picture of the two of them together on the slope.
The real story from Reena
Jacob fell into a ravine and twisted his knee (but he's fine now!) I skied back to attempt to rescue him and there we were, stranded on a slope overlooking the most beautiful vista we'd ever seen. He asked me to marry him while we waited for ski patrol medics to come evacuate him :) The best laid plans of mice and men...