How My Sweetheart Proposed

• by Carolyn Hrdlick •

I met my husband Neil in April of 1994.  I quickly learned of his LOVE of biking. I told him, “Have I got a place for you!”  That summer we made our first of 15 annual pilgrimages to the Island.

Of course he was quite happy to see no less than 150 bikes in the Surfside bike racks on his first trip.  We tried to make tracks on most of the bike paths that year.

In July of 1995, we returned to the Island and stayed at Bed-n-Breakfast on Lovers Lane.  Unbeknownst to me, this was going to be a VERY memorable trip to my favorite place.  This trip we decided to bring just our bikes.  As we walked onto Straight Wharf, I suggested that we throw our backpacks into the back of an Island taxi so our bike ride to Surfside would be a bit more pleasant.  As my soon-to-be fiancé quickly ran to the then A&P with his pack on, I should have known there was something more precious than his clothes in that backpack.  My soon-to-be fiancé cautiously placed his backpack and mine in the back of an island taxi, throwing caution to the wind.  When we arrived at Lovers Lane, I was relaxing, enjoying our first few minutes in idyllic Nantucket, while my soon-to-be fiancé diligently looked out the window for the safe return of his backpack.  It did eventually arrive, but not without causing a bit of angst for my soon-to-be fiancé.

A few days into our stay, we decided to make our annual trek to Madaket.  Our bikes, of course, were fully equipped with our headlights and flashing taillights. My part of the preparation was to purchase the cheese and crackers for the romantic evening.  In my true frugal fashion, I returned from the cheese shop and informed my soon-to-be fiancé that I did not frivolously shoot the moon and purchase the $8 cheese, which we wouldn’t be able to consume or refrigerate throughout the evening.  At this point, Neil knew that his soon-to-be fiancé had no idea how special this sunset would be!

As we walked down the beach at Madaket looking for a spot to enjoy the sunset, my easy-going Neil seemed a bit more discriminating than usual.  Again I was oblivious as to why Neil was so purposeful in finding just the right spot that evening.

As if the backpack in the island taxi wasn’t enough stress, the sunset Gods were not with my soon-to-be-fiance that evening.  As my prince charming got on his knee and asked me to marry him, the sun magically appeared through an opening in the clouded skies. Without hesitation, I said “YES!!!”  We enjoyed the rest of our unexpected, magical sunset, wine and the lesser cheese I so purposefully chose, for an evening which changed the rest of my life in only positive ways!

We then headed to the Westender for dinner, where I began practicing the ever so important task of signing my new name, Mrs. Neil J Hrdlick.  As we were finishing our fabulous dinner, one of the proprietors came over to our table to see how everything was, we quickly shared our exciting news and were whisked away to a wicker loveseat in a cozy corner of the bar area with a warm, glowing candle and vibrant bouquets of hydrangeas.  The proprietors then brought us a complimentary bottle of Veuve Cliquot to finish an absolutely PERFECT romantic evening on Nantucket’s most lovely west end of the island, Madaket.