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Kara K.

The proposal was really the scavenger hunt of a lifetime; a scavenger hunt literally halfway across Iowa with the best gift a girl could ask for at the end. It all started one snowy Saturday afternoon with a random phone call from the doctor my fiancé Scott and I work with, telling me that I had received an envelope at the office with my name on it that I had to pick up right away.

When I got there, the envelope was sitting at the front desk with an invitation inside for a "day of fun and surprises. " It said to grab my GPS (a clever Christmas gift from my fiancé), pack some clothes and "stay on task " because reservations were at 5:00 p.m. Also inside was my very first clue: go to the local video store and ask for a copy of the first movie we had seen together. I went to Family Video and asked for Chicken Little but instead got my second clue! This sent me to the same doctor's house with another clue waiting for me under the doormat, which sent me to Coralville, Iowa to the "place where we first ate together. " When I got to Applebee's, the hostess knew who I was immediately and sent me to the bar where mozzarella sticks, a martini and my next clue were waiting.

My next stop was Cedar Rapids to my brother's house, another half an hour drive and then to Cascade, where I was then sent to Happy Joe's, our favorite pizza place. The last stop was my sister's house in Cascade, where I found my final clue, which was a map to Bankston, a place I had never heard of. By now it was 5:00 p.m. so, after running into my sister's house confused, excited and nervous, I jumped in the car. By then it was dark, and I was driving through towns I had never heard of with literally no houses for miles and snow covering the ground. At this point, I was feeling very frustrated. The GPS finally reached my final destination, which was a wide, empty field with no one in sight.

Luckily, I remembered the clue saying something about being thirsty, and I had remembered seeing signs for a winery. I went back to find a castle-looking building on top of a hill, Park Farm Winery. As soon as I got to the top of the hill, I saw Scott pacing in the window. He met me outside, and I wasn't sure whether to hug him or punch him! He led me inside to do some wine tasting, all the while avoiding eye contact and acting stranger than usual. Eventually, he took me on a tour of the winery and led me upstairs to a very romantic private room with Frank Sinatra playing in the background, big beautiful windows and a gorgeous view.

He was so anxious that within minutes, he dropped to one knee, told me how much he loved me and asked me to marry him. We both cried and embraced each other, full of relief and excitement! At last, he turned a wine bottle around with "Will you marry me? " printed on the label. But it's not over! Our last stop was Dubuque, another half-an-hour drive, where he had both of our parents waiting for us at a restaurant located on the Mississippi River. Everyone had known except for my mom, who was very surprised and of course, excited.

In case you're wondering how he managed to pull this off, Scott had been about an hour ahead of me the whole time, dropping off clues at each place. The sweetest part was that he had asked my dad for permission to marry me three weeks earlier on Christmas Eve. Also, in the midst of dropping off clues that day, he had made a stop to the nursing home to ask for my 95-year-old grandfather's approval as well. It was a day he had been planning for months, and one I will never forget.

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