February 11th, 2007 A beautiful late winter/early spring day and we were traveling through the beautiful and rich countryside of southern Tennessee with its fabulous rolling hills and quaint little towns that provide a quiet and a content atmosphere. Pearl, my very soon to be fiancé was enjoying this scenic view as I was toiling on the specifics of how I was going to ask her the most important question in my life. Being a squire for the last six (or so) years has left me with a passion for all things Jack Daniel’s and this was my third enjoyable trip to the distillery. A month prior to the trip I sent a message from Iraq (where I was spending my second short tour) to the friendly squire association informing them of my intentions to propose to Pearl on the grounds of the distillery, and perhaps around my beloved plot of land. After a little correspondence back and forth, the arrangements had been made and they were just waiting on me to bring the hardware and ask the question. Betty was our tour guide that cool February day in the hollow. Betty took us around all the usual stops: the rustic rickyard, aromatic fermenters, “Tennessee” charcoal heaven, single barrel city, and finally the dignified barrelhouse. The barrelhouse is always my favorite place to visit. While in the barrelhouse, I feel like I am in a library where everyone needs to be quiet, and no flash photography is permitted, so the barrels are not disturbed while they have the honor of flavoring the whiskey. I find a special feeling to peek where the all the whiskey is developing and refining its’ flavors before going out to make us happier. The barrelhouse was the final stop before we would be led away to the squire grounds. All I am thinking now is how much I want to get the diamond ring out of my pocket on onto her pretty little finger. Kathy, the squire manager, met us with a smile to thank me for my service in Iraq and to take me to the squire room. This was prearranged so Pearl wouldn’t think anything was fishy about Kathy being so friendly toward us. But the fact is they treat all members of the armed forces with utmost respect. Before we could get inside the squire room Kathy suggests we take a trip out to the squire grounds to see my property. Pearl is smiling ear to ear because she knows how happy this makes me to see my property. I am so nervous right now every question Pearl is asking me is followed by an impolite “I don’t know”. Brian, the driver, and Kathy take us to the grounds to walk around and I decide to stall by taking a few pictures. After I decide I can’t delay the question any longer I plant down on one knee and ask her something so different from all the possible phrases I had planned over the last few months; “Pearl, Will you be my wife?” Come to find out I wasn’t the only person who was caught up in the moment because she told me later all the ideas of what she thought she might say to me if I was to ever ask her, but she mustered up a hearty and appropriate “Yes!” Kathy and Brian are in the background taking pictures and video of the whole thing. I believe Pearl and Kathy may have dropped a few tears on some other fellow squire properties that day. Pearl took her weak knees and I took my stomach, with two months of tension, back to the visitor’s center to get some fresh lemonade fashioned with the clean and pure cave spring water. Here we make a toast to our future and a happily ever after. Thank you, to all the folks at the distillery who made our wonderful engagement a success. Pearl and I have been able to share the news of the engagement with a fun story back it up. To top it all off, I decided to nominate Pearl to become a squire because she shares the same admiration and would make a wonderful addition into the squire association. “Not only did I get engaged to the man of my dreams, I am going to become a Tennessee Squire. I am the luckiest woman alive”. Who knows, perhaps she will be able to get a plot next to mine.

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