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Drew & Tracey Cope
P.O. Box 50
Kelton, PA 19346

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Monday, November 3rd 2003

Tracey:
Today started out to be a normal day, got up about 7:30ish and went to my 8 and 9:00 classes, and was back in my room a little after 10:00.

Drew:
10AM… I woke up, dialed up, checked my mail and waited for Tracey to return from class. We small talked and I asked her about her plans for the day.

Tracey:
I was very surprised to see that Drew was up and online so early on a Monday, his day off. We talked for a little bit and he said asked if I had plans for the day, I said not really, even though I’d thought about working on homework, but I’m always thinking about doing homework, so it’s not like it’s anything new. I asked him why he wanted to know if I had plans for the day. His response was “because I miss you, and I was thinking about coming up.” I told him that I wouldn’t mind him coming up, but was thinking to myself, we just spent all weekend together, yet he still misses me? I thought something was up, but didn’t really say anything, and put it out of my mind. He was scheduled to come up the next two weekends, well after he finished Souled Out. It was very out of the ordinary for him to come up unscheduled, especially since he keeps saying how it costs a lot for us to go back and forth. I agreed to have him come up.

Drew:
As we exchanged IM’s, I ate breakfast, dressed, checked the weather this week and next week, mapped directions into Old City Philly and called the carriage company. I was scheduled to go up to Eastern next Monday, but it was going to be 45 degrees. That was too cold to be romantic. It had to be today. I told her I missed her and I was thinking about coming up and said, maybe we could finish that role of film in the camera. She agreed. I suggested she dress for being outside, grab lunch, and be ready to go at 11:30. I packed the car and raced out of the driveway at 10:40.

Tracey:
I showered and walked over to the cafeteria. Nothing on the menu looked good. There’s a surprise. So I headed back to my room, nuked a Bowl-Appetite and waited for him to get here.

Drew:
I rehearsed my proposal all the way up and I didn’t exactly take my time either. I had to be back in New London preparing for Life Teams in exactly 7 hours: an hour up, 30 minutes into Philly, putzing around, an hour carriage ride, taking pictures, sitting and talking, 30 minutes back to Eastern, an hour home, 30 minutes to prep my lesson plan & 10 minutes to get over to the Youth House and set up. In the words of Westley from “The Princess Bride,” that doesn’t leave a lot of time for dilly dally.

I backed the car up to the back door of Doane B lounge at 11:32 and called up to her room on my cell phone. As we talked, I slipped the neatly wrapped ring box into the right zipper pocket of my fleece jacket. It was 70 degrees outside, but there was no way this box would fit in my jeans pocket. I tossed the jacket in the back seat, went inside, and met her at the base of the cathedral stairs in the lounge.

Tracey:
He called up and I went down to see him, he handed me his laptop and backpack and asked me to put them in my room. I thought this was kind of strange, because I thought we were just going to be going around campus, he hadn’t said anything about going off campus, and normally when he’s on campus, he just leaves them in his car.

Drew:
I really didn’t want my laptop locked in the jeep in old city Philly. I took the camera from her and headed back out to the jeep.

Tracey:
He called up just as I was getting ready to leave, and asked me to grab an extra roll of film incase we finished that one off and still wanted to take more pictures. I went down and didn’t see him in the lounge anymore, so I walked outside, and he was in the jeep.

Drew:
I thought about waiting to open the door for her, but I didn’t want to give her any ideas about what I had in store. She quickly returned and hopped in the jeep. As so as she was in, the questions started.

Tracey:
I asked him where we were going. He gave me two options, and I said, “It’s up to you, I don’t really care.”

Drew:
After all, I didn’t want to sound like I had a specific plan in mind. That would be a little unusual. “We can go to Valley Forge or Philly.” She said I could decide which was a God send. I reasoned, “Well, we’ve already been to Valley Forge… lets head into Philly.

Tracey:
I just liked being able to spend time with him. When he decided to go into Philly, I was kind of surprised, because neither one of us like cities. I just kinda went with it anyway.

Drew:
She’s right… I hate going into Philly. I’m not a fan of going into any kind of city. You can’t experience a city from a car and I’m not one to get out and walk… but I had something very specific in mind. We listened to the radio and small talked as we drove. As I merged from 76 onto 676 she commented on the 81 degrees listed on a billboard and how beautiful a day it was. The entire weekend had been gorgeous. The jeep said it was a pleasant 74 degrees. I was thinking to myself… “we are sooo Golden!” We got off at 8th street and headed down to Market. I turned left and drove past the visitor center just as she asked, “so where are we going?” I suggested that we stop at the visitor center, look around, and figure it out from there. Tracey hadn’t been into Philly much so I assumed that the fact that I was overlooking several obvious photo ops like the art museum and Love Park had escaped her. We drove past 5th street and the horses, took a left on 3rd and then parked up on Arch Street. The best part was that as we were feeding the meter, a carriage driver stopped his carriage right next Adrian (my jeep) to explain to his passengers the significance of the local cemetery. I stared intently for a minute, as if receiving a revelation, and then exclaimed, “There’s an Idea.” Tracey said, “What?” I said, “We could take a carriage ride.” (Confirmation # 2)

Tracey:
We found a spot to park, and as we were feeding the meter, a horse drawn carriage went by and stopped just past the Jeep. Drew asked if I wanted to do that, I said sure, why not?

Drew:
Tracey smiled and nodded as she usually does when entertaining my latest whimsical idea. I asked for the extra roll of film, and put it in my pocket with the ring so I had an excuse later if I needed it. We walked up Arch St. and turned down Market. Tracey reminded me how our hiking expedition along the Skyline Drive in Virginia yesterday had done a number on her knees and that she wasn’t up for a lot of walking around. That was setup point number three. Then she commented about how she was in shorts and t-shirt and I was wearing Jeans and a fleece. Both of us had on our Hawaii shirts. I nodded regarding her knees and our dress and continued down Market towards the carriages. The first in line was a plush, pink, flowery carriage. This screamed Girlly, not Tracey. So I made an offhand sarcastic comment, “How bout a pink carriage?” She gave me the “I don’t think so” look and said matter-a-fact-ly, “no.” As we approached, the driver asked if we’d like a historic tour of Old City Philly. I said, “not today” and we kept walking.

Tracey:
So we walked around to where they were all parked, and was asked by one lady if we wanted a historic tour, Drew said, maybe later, and we continued walking. We walked down to the end of the row and turned around.

Drew:
I was hopping to find a guy who looked like he had a clue, but I settled for a woman who was in her early 20’s, a recent graduate of the University of Maryland and the only non-smoker in the line. She was driving a white horse pulling a simple white carriage. This was the one. “Okay Hun, how bout that white one?”

Tracey: “But I’m not sure I want a history lesson.”

Drew: “Well, we can just ask for a nice quiet tour of the back streets of Old City?”

Tracey: “Can we do that?”

Drew: “Sure.”

Tracey: “Well, go ask to make sure.”

Drew:
So I did and she offered not to say a word. I told her that wasn’t necessary, but maybe just highlight the main attractions. I asked for an hour tour and Tracey hopped into the carriage. There was just one problem… she sat on the right side of the seat. That was not going to work. So I climbed in and made her move over. No big deal. I small talked with the carriage driver and remarked to Tracey “and hey, this way, we don’t have to walk.” She smiled and off we went, slow at first as our horse decided to take care of some things before we got going.

Tracey:
Good… this boy does have a brain… he picked the one who didn’t smoke, arranged the tour and off we went… well, after the horse decided to take care of a little business ; )

Drew:
I checked my watch… 12:21. I started rehearsing my proposal again in my mind while attempting to interact with our driver who was pointing out interesting things like the Mint & the new Constitution Center. I kicked my feet around under the seat to find out just how much room I was going to have to kneel in the carriage. I chatted with Tracey about our Engaged Encounter weekend. She mentioned being surprised that I came up on a Monday after spending all weekend with her. I made up some excuse about us not being able to really just sit and enjoy ourselves on the weekend… we spent all our time driving and listening to seminars and then discussing them… we really didn’t have a lot of “us” time. She accepted that and we continued our trip. We wound around down by the Ben Franklin Bridge, past some bar stool shops, the food court, Betsy Ross’s house, a few gardens & parks, some churches, and a few cemeteries. I really didn’t see a good spot to stop and pop the question.

Tracey:
We passed a bunch of really nice looking gardens and houses and stuff like that, and eventually took one arm out of his fleece jacket that he was wearing, but kept the other one in, which I didn’t understand, but I don’t always understand him, so I didn’t really say anything about it. I guess he finally got hot. He started to fidget around a little, but I tried not to pay attention. He took the camera off, and set it on the back of the carriage, after making sure it would stay and not drop down.

Drew:
I kept an eye on my watch and used that as a gauge for how much trip was left. Finally, we turned onto a cobblestone road and I figured that this has completed the horse drawn carriage picture. Tracey and I watched “Santa Clause 2” a year ago and she had remarked about the romantic nature of the horse drawn carriage trip in the movie. I’d tucked that comment away in my mind and now, we were here. I thought about the multiple gift route, the quiet romantic dinner, the trail hike, the boat trip, and host of other options... but nothing else felt right. It had to be a magical carriage ride.

I checked my watch again. 1:15… time was running out. I waited till our tour guide paused her spiel, unzipped and reached into my pocket, pulled out the neatly wrapped box, and whispered, “I have a present for you.” I handed Tracey the box and encouraged her to open it.

Tracey:
Our guide finished saying something, and Drew handed me a little blue box tied with a ribbon, and whispered, “I have a present for you” as he handed it to me. I gave him a strange look, which I think he missed. As I was taking the ribbon off, I noticed the top of the box, much to my disbelief read “Wayne Jewelers.” I opened the larger box, and there was a smaller box inside, and as I slide it out, Drew got down on one knee in the carriage. I was in shock!

Drew:
I waited till she had the ribbon and top off and was in the process of removing the ring box from its package. As I knelt in the floor of the carriage my rehearsed proposal went out the window. I looked into her eyes and said something like, “Tracey, I love you. We’ve known each other almost three and a half years, and I’ve been in love with you for three of them. (Our tour guide resumed her spiel and continued for a few seconds before she turned, recognized what was taken place and quickly returned to her attention to driving the horse, her voice trailing off mid sentence.) I want to spend the rest of my life with you. I want to take care of kids with you. Tracey Lee Jones, will you marry me?”

Tracey:
I finished opening the ring box, as he was talking to me saying that he loved me, and has for a while, and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and he wanted to raise children with me. And he finished with, “Tracey Jones, will you marry me?”

Drew:
Her gaze drifted between me and the ring in the box. The yes came quickly as she struggled to remove her class ring. (I wondered how I was going to get that out of the way.) I pulled the ring from the box and placed it gently on her finger.

Tracey:
I said YES, and took my class ring off (yeah I used to wear it on the wrong finger, but I’d always worn it on my left hand). As soon as I had it off, he took the ring out, and placed it on my finger, then stood partway up and kissed me, then sat back down and held me.

Drew:
I rose slightly, kissing her. From our left came a loud male voice, “What’s this… The Honeymoon Tour?”

Tracey:
Drew whispered sweetly, “Not yet.”

Drew:
Tracey and I smiled, I returned to my seat, and our driver pulled the horse back up the curb where we started from. She made some comment about me having secret motives and that she assumed we enjoyed our trip… both of which I ignored

Tracey:
she made a comment??? Anyway… Drew asked the guide to take a picture of us, and she agreed, not really knowing what do to at this point. Drew paid for the ride, and we walked over to the visitor center, I was still smiling, but was also in shock at the same time. Bottom line, on November 3rd, 2003, around 1:17 in the afternoon, my best friend asked me to marry Him.

Drew:
Alright, enough with the mushy stuff. At this point, my rehearsed schedule ended. I really was quite unsure of what to do next. I suggested going around and taking more pictures, or stopping into the visitor center.

Tracey:
We walked around the visitor center for a few minutes, but then decided to go get something small to eat. Drew seemed to remember seeing a food court somewhere on our tour and we started walking.

Drew:
We got cheese fries and teriyaki chicken from the Bourse food court on 5th street. And while that was being made, we stopped into a gift shop and picked up a set of Philadelphia mugs to add to our collection. After we’d eaten, we headed back to move Adrian before the meter expired. I suggested we go to Love Park or the art museum and take some pictures but Tracey preferred we just go back to Eastern and relax.

Tracey:
Yeah, it just made more sense to go back to Eastern instead of have our pictures taken at other places around the city. We had a couple friends take pictures of us, and one didn’t even realize why we wanted our picture to be taken, or if he did, he didn’t say anything.

Drew:
I was so lost in la la land, I practically missed the Gulf Rd Exit off 202 to get back to Eastern. When we got back we found Brendan & Gene Gene take some pictures for us.

Tracey:
Then Drew had to leave and go to Life Teams, even though neither one of us wanted him to leave yet.

Drew:
Yeah, that was the only problem about doing it today. But that’s life in youth ministry. Sometimes we have to put that before our own desires and whims. Tracey wasn’t really sure what she was going to do with the rest of the day now. I jokingly apologized for ruining her day and throwing it all off. She just kissed me and said, “Shush… you made it the most wonderful day ever. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”

Tracey:
Because of this, I didn’t get any real work done the rest of the day, but I didn’t really care. I got what I wanted. It was kinda like one of the couples on the Engaged Encounter weekend said… “He never really asked me… we just kinda knew that we were going to get married.”

Drew:
We’ve just kind of known that we were going to get married for the last 9 months. But I still had to ask the question to make it official. I asked her parents over Labor Day weekend and bought the ring the last time I’d gone up to Eastern. I was sitting at the light at 926 and 202 and God just kinda told me that I should go pick it up. We’d gone shopping twice and I had a good idea what I was getting her and from where, so I just stopped in and bought it. It worked out well too because Tracey was late getting back that day from running errands.

When I got home that night after life teams, I called my brother, Steven, tonight to let him know that I got him a special birthday present this year. I wanted to get him something that he’d never gotten before. A new sister. He laughed and said congrats. I then asked him to be my best man, he agreed, and then quickly asked “what does a best man have to do?”

Now we just gotta reserve some things and plan a wedding. 6 months, 6 days & counting.


Wait a Second...
you got engaged on Monday & waited till Friday to post the web page & tell everyone?
eh, we wanted to get the pictures back, and the story put together, and like... what's the big deal right? We all knew this was coming :-)
**We Giggle**

The real fun is waiting to see who the first people are at Ground Zero to figure it out. Drew's not annoucing it. Tracey won't be down till Sink or Swim. We're keeping it a secret as long as possible. We'll see who stumbles across the website first. If you think you are the first, E-mail us and tell us :-)

Now... why did this take so long?
Well, I (Drew) wanted to wait until the perfect time and the perfect place. There is a Right way and a Wrong way to propose. I had to do it right. Its just the way I am. And besides, it was fun to watch our youth group kids squirm and squeel and ask us every time they saw us if I popped the question yet. So for fun, we started asking them why they thought it was so urgent that we get engaged. Read their Responses at the bottom of the "Our Story" page. And the best part... I still haven't told them we are official yet :-) **giggle** he he he

okay... how bout the ring
For those of you who care… the ring is 14k yellow gold, with 11 stones, channel set with a 1/3 t.w. of Diamonds, size 6 ½. A simple, understated, low profile, solid ring that is perfect for a no-frills, active kind of lady. Next time we get Jack around a digi cam, we'll take some high res photos for you. Till then, we're stuck with scanned copies of 35 millimeter photos.


Drew & Tracey received their Bachelor of Arts in Youth Ministry from Eastern University in 2001 & 2004.

We minister with the Ground Zero Youth Ministry and Cross Fire / Image Quest.