Monday, July 5, 2010

Fireworks on the Space Needle

Today my husband and I were taking some visiting friends on a tour of Seattle, and despite dreary drizzle, decided to orient them to the surrounding neighborhoods from atop the Space Needle.  We were unprepared for what lay ahead.

Built for the 1962 World's Fair, the Space Needle remains the quintessential symbol of Seattle, distinctively separate on the skyline, allowing its 360-degree view of Puget Sound, Lakes Union and Washington, and the city, surrounded by the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, and Mts. Rainier and Baker.  On a clear day, there's nothing more magnificent than watching cruise ships boarding for Alaska, ferries shuttling cars to the San Juan islands, sea planes landing close by, and bridges carrying scurrying cars north and south.

On this damp July 4th, undeterred tourists waited near the elevators clutching their $18 tickets, many accepting digital photos with a costumed Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam. A holiday air, perhaps enhanced by the International Beer Fest at the Needle's base, defied the ominous weather. 

After the 30-second elevator ascent, we passed through the noisy indoor exhibits out to the circular balcony.  Our friends were awed by the view, strolling the perimeter, listening to my husband's encyclopedic descriptions of neighborhoods, landmarks and history in each direction.  About two-thirds around, a young man approached, reverently asking my husband if he was, indeed, the talk host he most admired.  Thrilled, he and his young lady asked for a photo with my husband, which I gladly took.  We engaged them briefly in conversation, discovering Eli is a recent police academy graduate who works as a ranger on Blake Island, a forested Washington State Park in Puget Sound, clearly in our view.
We offered to take a snapshot of Eli and his girlfriend, Melissa, just the two of them, with the panorama of Seattle as backdrop.  As he handed me his camera, he whispered in my ear, "I'm going to do something special."

At that, Eli dropped to one knee, pulled a small box from his pocket, and asked Melissa to marry him.  I kept pushing the shutter as, taken aback and clearly moved, she shed a tear and eagerly accepted.  Still on his knee, Eli slipped the diamond onto her finger, to the applause of gathered tourists.

In a chorus of congratulations, Eli and Melissa shared some private words, then blended once more into the throng sharing a moment in the clouds. And we went on to enjoy a rainy July 4th illuminated by fireworks and the stirrings of the heart, both patriotic and personal.


  1. What a great (double) celebration on the Fourth, Diane! Ours went from fun -- Issaquah kiddie parade in the AM -- to pathetic -- visit to Chuck E Cheese in the evening due to dark clouds and rain. :(

  2. Are there any subjects to which your husband cannot lend encyclopedic descriptions?

    Best wishes to the betrothed couple!

  3. Hi Diane! That was us! That was such a special day for us and we were even more thrilled that you and Michael were a part of it! Thank you for capturing the moment so eloquently in your blog. We will cherish the memory.

    Eli and Melissa

  4. Eli (sorry I'd misspelled your name!) and Melissa--what a treat to be able to witness your engagement. Thanks for reading my blog and we wish you a wonderful life together!