|"Love wholeheartedly, be surprised, give thanks and praise, then you will discover the fullness of your life."|
- David Steindl-Rast
Greg Housel and April Housel (was Fredman)
October 5, 2002
HOW WE MET
When I moved to Kansas City, MO straight out of Graduate School I was determined to get out and actually enjoy life for a change rather than bury myself in books or lose myself in late night study sessions.
In trying to meet many of my co-workers at Hallmark, I made a fantastic friend (Jonna) who suggested that we join the Kansas City Sports and Social Club. Seeing this as my golden opportunity, we grabbed lunch and immediately scoured the list of possible leagues to join. Finally, we decided that flag football was our “best” option and being that we were both new to the area, we called one of the few people that Jonna knew, Debbie – a friend of a friend, and invited her to become part of our “Independent” Flag Football team.
Soon after we completed our registration process, we were informed of the first social event of the season at the XO in Westport. Deciding that this was just as good a time as any to meet our fellow teammates and/or competitors, the three of us went out for a night of socializing and dancing.
Then, the big moment finally arrived. It was time for us to meet our fellow “independent” teammates and play our first official flag football game. As Jonna, Debbie, and I walked across the vast expanse of the fields, we looked everywhere for some clue as to which team could actually be ours. Finally, we spotted a small group that seemed to be missing a couple of players. As luck would have it, we were the players that this team was missing (Sorry to disappoint you Jenn! :-) ). But luck didn’t stop there because at that moment on September 21, 1999 at Roeland Park in Mission, KS, I met Greg!
To be honest, I actually saw Greg seconds before I was ever introduced to him. We were going through a line of people for our introductions and Greg was actually one of the last few people I met (sorry guys but at the moment I saw him, I sort of blanked out on the rest of the introductions). Anyway, to do this day, I can still picture him standing there behind Rick wearing his Ohio State regalia and Risky Business sunglasses!
To say that the rest is history would be tragically cutting a magical story short but, to inform you of the rest would only monopolize your time so…the next time you have a moment, ask me about our story, I can recount every detail for you (even if we were only supposed to be “just friends).
WHEN WE GOT ENGAGED
August 23, 2001
In trying to recall all of the details of Greg's beautiful proposal I decided to share with all of you an email I sent to a friend telling her all of the details of the event. I hope that by reading this, you can truly understand my sheer joy at that moment.
"Oh, I am still so excited. We went on vacation to Lakeside w/Greg’s family last week (Ok, so I was only there on Thursday and Friday as I didn’t have the vacation time for a full week but hey, it was still a vacation). I arrived at the Cleveland airport on Wednesday evening where Greg and his Dad, Bill, were waiting for. From there, we drove down to Lakeside where I met his Aunt Pat, and enjoyed a wonderful meal that his Mom, Nancy, and aunt had prepared. Ok, ok, I am not getting to my point. Thursday was the day “it” happened. It is such a long wonderfully detailed story that I need to get written down so I am only going to give you the highlights now.
We left the house that morning (just the two of us) and headed to the island. Well, first we actually had to stop off at the market and drop off some film for his mom and pick up some oyster crackers. Turns out, that we have to take a ferry to get to the island (awesome; I was so excited, I had never been on a ferry before) and we fed the seagulls all of our oyster crackers off the back of the ferry (of course, I have pictures). Since we usually go for walks in the evening here (KC) to feed the ducks and geese, feeding the seagulls was just a perfect start to our day.
When we arrived on the island (it is called Put-in-Bay) we rented a golf-cart to “tour” around the island throughout the day. First, we took one grand tour around the island and then we went to the Heineman Winery. We enjoyed a wonderful bottle of white wine and a cheese plate while we sat outside in the garden behind the winery. Actually, the funniest thing happened while we were out there. We were all alone (so totally perfect) when Greg practically leaped out of his seat yelling. Apparently there was a friendly little kitty cat that we hadn’t noticed that wanted to come up and say hello!
When we finally finished our wine and cheese we went across the street to visit Perry’s Cave (this is a terrific limestone cave that you can actually tour). We got to take the tour and took tons of “fun” pictures in the gift shop!
After that, we “toured “ around the island some more and went to lunch at a great Irish Tavern (Erie Isle). We had a delicious meal and some wonderful drink concoctions while we sat out on the deck.
Then, we saw more of the island and even took a tour of Perry’s Monument (huge tall thing!!!) We took several pictures from this vantage but trust me, not one will be able to actually capture my fear of being that far up. It was beautiful but scary!
After that, we went to the World’s Longest Bar and had a drink while playing pin ball and watching an Elvis impersonator perform on stage.
Finally though, we headed back off of the island (had to make sure that we caught the 5:30 ferry even though the last one didn’t leave until 7) and to the car. While we were in the car and on our way back to the lakehouse, Greg asked me if I was hungry. When I said that I wasn’t really hungry he suggested that we go ahead and grab a quick bite as we would be awhile at the next place and that there wasn’t anything to eat there (keep in mind now that his family has been visiting this place for the last 12 years so I never once had a second thought about this absolutely perfect day or about him giving me the grand tour).
Anyway, when we got back to the house, we grabbed a quick bite to eat and I visited with his family as Greg took a quick shower and changed (yes, should have been a big clue to me that something was going on but I was just so gullible that day). Then, just as we were leaving his Mom asked him why he was taking me away AGAIN and why we couldn’t spend some time with them. When I started to suggest that they come along also I got shoved out the door very quickly (hello…huge sign here).
We then got back into the car and once again as we were driving to the next place I was able to just look around at the area and absorb everything. Unfortunately though, that meant that I wasn’t totally paying attention to the signs that would’ve shown me where we were going. Ok, now you know that my most favorite place in the world is the ocean or any great lake w/the beach or rock jetty’s and the tide rolling in, well…Greg took me to an old lighthouse (Marblehead Lighthouse) that was built in 1821! I got so excited when I saw the lighthouse and then I looked forward and in front of me was Lake Erie whose beachfront was totally surrounded by rock jetty’s AND whose tide was lapping against the rocks!!! I happened to look out at the moment and saw that the sun was about to set when I turned to Greg and told him what an absolutely perfect day this was. He agreed and said that this place was sort of romantic (hello…it totally was and here I am with still no clue).
Then, he walked us down to a secluded rock and told me to kick off my shoes and walk around w/him in the water for a bit; which we did until I slipped and started to pull him down w/me (keep in mind that at this point, the absolutely gorgeous ring is still in his pocket). So, he told me to get my butt back up on the rock and to just enjoy the view. As I was sitting there, he asked me to move forward a bit and then, just as the sun was setting on the lake, he reached into his pocket, pulled out a black velvet box, and asked me to marry him!!! Of course, I screamed, hugged the living daylights out of him, told him I loved him and totally FORGOT to say yes!!! Only when I was squeezing him did he ask, “does this mean yes,” did I finally answer his question!"
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