My girlfriend loves treasure hunts! Among the many things that I love about her is that she is always interested in riddles, mind games, and surprise adventures, so I felt it was appropriate that when I asked her to be my wife, I turned our engagement day into a true plot twisting adventure.
Christmas is always a special time, the season is filled with romantic opportunities. My accomplices to the deception included my brother, Bert, and his wife. They phoned Maliaca, now my fiancee, to ask her for ideas explaining that he had picked my name in the annual family gift drawing. Together they began plotting a scavenger hunt for me and the fix was in. She thought the hunt was designed for me, boy was she in for something!
Christmas morning began with my brother dropping off a large gift bag with pockets containing over 30 clues and instructions. Upon arriving at my house, he became visibly upset when he learned we had prepared a holiday breakfast for my parents, when he and his wife had prepared a meal for the two of us on their patio. I knew that it would be essential if I were to pull it off without her catching on I would have to create confusion and throw her off the track. Though our later adventures took us to their house, the extravagant place settings were there for her to see but would never be used.
After breakfast the clues directed us through a series of tasks including art projects, drop in photo sessions with unsuspecting friends, and rollerblading in the park. We were given a camera and ordered to take pictures at every stop. We were on clue 18 when we were directed to the scheduled holiday gathering with my family. With Bert and his wife conveniently unable to attend due to having to work, only my mother knew.
Just before entering the family gathering it was time for the clincher in hopes she would not think I was involved in a plot. I asked for some personal time and then gave her a beautiful pendant to match a bracelet I gave her last year. Granted the pendant was nice but it was no match for the beautiful princess cut diamond to come.
It was only two hours into the party when our next clue instructed us to say our good-byes and return to the game. Maliaca and I received more than a few disappointed looks as family members griped about the early dismissal. I blamed Bert as being incredibly bold to fill up a holiday with such nonsense. Maliaca adamantly scolded me and said that we would follow the script of the clues to the letter.
After a few more simple events, we were instructed to go to a bar near Winterhaven, a subdivision in Tucson holding a Christmas Lights Festival. On the way there, I hinted that I may know the activity that was to come, "I think I know what they are up to…. A hay ride through Winterhaven" Maliaca immediately and very enthusiastically said "Yaaah a Hayride!";. The instructions were to get a picture of us with the bartender wearing Santa hats (hats were required in all the pictures) the $20 with the clue provided necessary liquid courage for me to soon ask the big question.
We soon found that the "hayride"; was really a carriage ride for two. When we boarded the old-English horse drawn carriage we each opened individual clues labeled "For your eyes-only", hers stating that there was a gift for me on a specific lawn. My clue simply said "Karl you are on your own from here". She asked the driver to stop and we got out in front of a beautifully decorated house with thousands of lights in their display. I then plugged in Christmas lights "Maliaca Will You Marry Me", got down on my knee and presented the ring. She was completely surprised! After a small crowd of those walking through the festival cheered the roar came when I directed her to plug in a small sign saying "YES!";
We then boarded the carriage and began dreaming of spending our lives together. We are planning our wedding in May 2001.
People who hear this story always ask the same question about the YES sign. While Maliaca never overtly gave me any strong hints that she would agree to marry me, a plug for any another response was not provided.