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Here is another entry that I am making mostly for myself and Aaron Jr. I am not sure if this is written down anywhere, so I wanted to make sure it is written so that Aaron Jr has it.
June 20, 2002 was one of the happiest days of my life. I was on a family vacation with my family on our way to Nauvoo to go through the temple open house there.
When Aaron and I were dating, we were driving somewhere together and we were talking about my upcoming family vacation with my family. I would be gone a week. In the car as we drove, he asked me how he was expected to be apart from me for a whole week and mentioned something about going with me. I invited him right then and there and he accepted. I LOVED that he was worried about being away from me for a week, because the truth of it is... I would have had a VERY difficult time being away from him for a week as well. I had been to Nauvoo several times, but Aaron had never been there and was very excited to go and see such a wonderful part of church history. We would be caravanning with several of my siblings and their families and also with my parents.
Included in this trip we would be going through Yellowstone National Park, to Mount Rushmore, a family reunion for my dad's side of the family, and also to other church history sites in Missouri.
Here are a few photos from our trip...
Aaron and Leslie in Yellowstone National Park - 2002
Yellowstone National Park - 2002
Top right photo is at Mount Rushmore. The other are from random other places. We also went to Hannibal, Missouri where Mark Twain is from.
Of course in the photo on the right, we HAD to stop the car to get out and take a photo with the street sign that said 'FORD'.
This is the Nauvoo, Illinois temple on the left and on the right is the Winter Quarters, Iowa Temple.
Top right photo is at the Carthage Jail where Joseph Smith was martyred. Bottom right photo is in the Liberty Jail where Joseph Smith and several other church members were kept for months. The left two photos are at Adam-ondi-Ahman in Missouri. The four boys in the photo at the top are four of my nephews. My nieces and nephews fell in love with Aaron on this trip. They adored him and he adored them.
The field we are standing in front of is called the Hidden Valley. It is in Adam-ondi-Ahman. My dad took us there to show us this area. When we got there, he told us how someday there will be a large gathering there. The reason it is such a perfect spot is because this valley has little ridges on every side surrounding it. It makes it so the acoustics are amazing. You can stand on one side of it and be talking in a pretty normal voice and a person standing on the other side can hear what you are saying. We were all wanting to test it out, so we all got out of the cars and went over to test it out. Aaron took a little longer to get out of the car... and at that moment I didn't know why, but I soon found out.
Everyone split up and went to opposite sides and we all tested it out. It worked. It was pretty amazing that we could hear each other talking when we were only speaking in normal voices. If I had to guess right now, I would say that it is at least 100 yards wide. So that shows how amazing the acoustics would be.
Anyhow, everyone was getting ready to leave, but before we did, Aaron asked me to go across again and he wanted to test it out again just the two of us. So he went to the opposite side. (If you look at the photo, Aaron would have been standing on the far left of the photo. You actually can't see exactly where he was standing because the camera wouldn't take that wide of a photo. I was standing on the far right side in the photo.)
Once we were at the edge, I was standing there watching Aaron and all of a sudden, he got down on one knee across the way. I realized what he might be doing and I was shocked. He said, 'Leslie, do you love me?' I said, 'Yes.' Then he asked, 'Do you know I love you?' I said, 'Yes.' Then he said, 'Will you marry me?' I said, 'Yes.' Then he said, 'Well, then come and get your ring.' I said something like, 'Whatever, you don't have it.' He said, 'Yes I do. Come and get it.'
(Side note: We had picked out a ring together. I actually showed him one that I loved from a magazine. I have never wanted a diamond, but he had a really hard time accepting that he might not be able to buy one for me. Once he accepted it, he liked the ring that I liked. When we left on the trip, he told me how long he still would have to wait until the ring would be ready, so I didn't even consider that this would happen on this vacation.)
Anyhow, we started walking towards each other to the middle of the valley and he showed me the ring. It was the one. I couldn't believe it. My family was standing at the edge of the valley in awe and excitement that they were getting to witness this. I was so excited and happy. We hugged and kissed and Aaron put the ring on my finger. He had wrapped it up in a Starburst wrapper to hide it from me throughout the trip. He said he had been waiting for just the right time and then when my dad told us about how the acoustics worked in that valley, he knew he wanted to do it right then and there. That is why he took a little longer getting out of the car. Now, we weren't just secretly engaged... it was official and I could wear something proudly that showed I was spoken for. It was such a happy and joyful feeling.
We took this photo on the edge of the valley. I have always thought it was so funny that I was proposed to from 100 yards away and then had to walk 50 yards to be able to get the ring, and then hug and kiss. I love that Aaron chose that time for it. It is a very unique story and one that will always be remembered.
This photo is of the ring and also of Aaron's knee. He has dirt on it because of kneeling in the dirt. I love that even though he wasn't right next to me holding my hand to ask me... he still knelt down. I love that memory.
This photo was taken that night at dinner.
This was the last photo taken of us on this trip. It was so great having Aaron be there to see so many neat things. Also, if Aaron hadn't been there, our story would have been entirely different. But because Aaron was there, this trip ended up including one of the most beautiful days of my life... June 20, 2002.
I will walk with you through eternity, Aaron... I love you.
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