Ten years ago today I was scrambling to get to work through a few feet of freshly fallen snow. The amount certainly caught a lot of people by surprise, myself included.
Back then I used to manage a well-to-do coffee bar in the heart of Anchorage. To help promote our downtown location, managed by my hot girlfriend, we had contracted out with the FM pop station to come and do a live remote broadcast. This should have all been relatively easy to do as they worked in the building next door but the heavy snowfall meant there was a good chance everyone was going to be late — except the radio guys.
After securing my store for the morning I hurried downtown so I could be there for the first broadcast. When I arrived it was pandemonium as the snow had indeed hindered everyone. A frantic nervous energy was buzzing as we all did what we could to get the store to open on time and ready to receive Scott and Stu: The Morning Zoo.
With no time to spare all the lights were turned on and Frank Sinatra began to sing. Now all that was left to do was talk about how wonderful our coffee was over the competition. Things went ok despite the fact that customers were sparse due to the snow which continued to pile up outside.
But the show had to go on, as they say, and so we continued with our little promotional gig that included the radio personalities ordering their favorite drinks, having a sip, then describing how wonderfully magically delicious these drinks were better than everyone else’s in town. As I assisted Stephen, an employee, with the order, my girlfriend answered questions about coffee in a way to position ourselves as having the best tasting coffee in Anchorage — which we did because everyone knows that Cafe Del Mundo burns their coffee and Kaladi Bros. freezes everything which dries all the oils from the bean, resulting in a very pungent brew.
I knew that for the girlfriend to be late for work and then to be interviewed live on the radio made her a little more than anxious — who wouldn’t be — but I was about to find out just how frazzled she was with the snow, the tardiness and the Morning Zoo.
After Stephen completed the drinks I took them over to the table where the three of them hovered over microphones. Scott took a sip, made some smacking-mouth noises and talked about how good his drink was while Stu just looked at his cup and waved his 180° coffee around in a manner that a person should not do. The girlfriend, still being interviewed, stared at me with a horrible, icy cold glance and that made two drops of pee come out.
She reached over the table, grabbed the cup out of the Zoo guy’s hand, ripped off the lid and discovered that inside the cup, a mocha was nowhere to be found inside the cup. Instead she found strips of colored paper and, deeper into the cup, a small gold ring with a tiny diamond perched on top.
Keep in mind this all took place well before ‘bullet-time’ had been invented. I can tell you, though, that the few seconds during which these events occurred dragged on for at least a minute as she tried to comprehend what was going on.
She gasped, then glanced up at me, still unsure of what was going on. I grabbed a microphone, reached over and asked live on the radio: “Cecily, I love you so much, will you marry me?”
Her eyes instantly turned to glass, and with a quivering smile she looked at me and said, “Yes.” And then she started to cry.
I’ll never forget that day. I can’t, really — the radio station recorded everything and gave us a tape for keepsake. It was such an intense morning that it’s a miracle everything went as smoothy as it did. And it did only because of a great boss and a radio station, which did all of this out of the kindness of their hearts (and for a great set of sound bytes which they played throughout the day).
And it’s one of the most perfect days of my life, so far.
Cecily, I love you so much. I look forward to another decade of Valentine Days.