On the Water With Capt. John King

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Recently we got a call from a Brent Jacoby to set up a charter so that he could propose to his girlfriend.  I am very leery of such charters.  There are a lot of variables to consider and there is no assurance of a positive outcome.  I prefer the spontaneous approach.

We have had a number of weddings on board Catallac and plenty of anniversary celebrations.  It is a great boat for such events.  We have also had wedding proposals made during a cruise, but most of these were not planned to include us, so they were nice surprises.

Recently we got a call from a Brent Jacoby to set up a charter so that he could propose to his girlfriend.  I am very leery of such charters.  There are a lot of variables to consider and there is no assurance of a positive outcome.  I prefer the spontaneous approach.

We have had a number of weddings on board Catallac and plenty of anniversary celebrations.  It is a great boat for such events.  We have also had wedding proposals made during a cruise, but most of these were not planned to include us, so they were nice surprises.

I have first-hand experience at the planning required to set up that perfect moment.  Karen and I had been dating for nearly eight years, and the family was starting to ask questions.  We talked about it sometimes, but we never made a plan.

I had a business trip to New York that was set for a date very close to our ‘first-date anniversary’, so I decided that Karen should join me on the trip.  Unbeknownst to her, I had a meeting with her parents to ask her father for his permission to marry his daughter before booking the trip.

Having secret meetings with future in-laws is not easy to pull off.  Keeping such meetings secret is even more difficult within large families.  “What was John doing at Mom’s house yesterday?”  “Uh, talking with Jack about the Dodgers.”  Lame.

We made it to New York and I did my meetings while Karen enjoyed the city.  I secretly stopped by the Horse and Buggy Tours and set up a ride into the park.  I now had permission from “Dad” and a ring in my pocket and a buggy driver willing to work with me.  Looking good so far.

“Let’s take a horse and buggy ride into Central Park,” I suggested later that afternoon, and Karen thought that was a great idea.  The driver stopped at a store just outside of the park so that I could buy a bottle of some celebratory cheer.

Not wanting to tip my hand, I walked past the champagne section and I bought a bottle of Lancers, not because it was such a great drink, but because it had a fancy bottle.  I had never had Lancer’s before and I have never had it since.  Go figure.

I also bought a disposable camera and slipped it into the drivers hand with a wink.  This was before phones were even mobile, and certainly before “selfies” had become the rage, so I tipped off the buggy driver that he would be taking a shot of me popping the question.

The weather was gorgeous as we rolled from the bustling city into the park.  The driver took us to a beautiful spot and stopped the buggy.  I was fumbling in my pocket and dropping to my knee as he turned to take our picture.

To fully understand what happened next, you need to know that Karen has some kind of weird thing about cameras.  She will not take a natural picture.  She always mugs for the shot.  The distraction of the camera completely masked my effort from her attention.

I tried to get Karen to look at me, but instead she punched me in the arm and said, “He’s trying to take our picture.”  “I know,” I said, “I gave him the camera because I wanted to capture this moment.”  

Karen whirled in her seat and suddenly realized what was going on.  Thirty four years later, the rest is history, but I have never seen the photos from that day.  Very suspicious.

Brent’s charter date drew near and we got a few calls asking about when and where we would be returning to the pier with the couple.  I realized that a secret reception was forming to witness the proposal from the Green Pier.  Yikes!

Capt. Scott and I talked before the charter since a monsoonal front had been forecast with a good bit of wind and swell.  There was no way we could cancel this charter.  “Just make sure to keep them dry and do not let her get seasick,” I offered.

I had images of a beautiful young couple dripping wet and looking green as they pulled up to the pier.  Luckily, Capt. Scott is a very able sea man.

Imagine being surprised at the sight of friends and family gathered on the pier.  Before you can figure out what those people are doing here, you turn to find the love of your life on his knee and holding “the box.”  There is only one answer to The Question at that moment…Yes!  

Nicely done Brent!  Congrats!

Capt. John’s Catallac will be running 3rd and 4th of July Fireworks Floats this week.  Call 888-613-7770.

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