My girlfriend Emily and I had been dating for several years. We had both recently graduated from college and had embarked on our careers out in the "real world". A few weeks into our new jobs we were both feeling a little overwhelmed by reality and I suggested that we do something out of the ordinary to lighten us up a bit. However, I had an ulterior motive that night . . .

We hopped in my car with no particular destination in mind, or so Emily thought, and headed toward the outskirts of town. The county fair was in full swing, and as we passed the fairgrounds, Emily turned to me and said, "I want to go ride the rides!", just like a little girl. That's one of the things I love about her so much, and just exactly what I had hoped would happen.

We paid our admission at the gate and Emily immediately grabbed my hand and dragged me off to the Tilt-a-Whirl. She loves the "wild" rides and laughed and shrieked like a kid as we twirled around and around. As we staggered off, I told her that it was my turn to choose.

I'm a bit more on the tame side when it comes to carnival rides, so I suggested the ferris wheel. I have always loved the smooth, gliding circle that gives you a view of the whole carnival and the city beyond.

As Emily stepped in front of me to sit in the ferris wheel seat, I quickly turned to the operator, pointed straight up in the air and flashed him the diamond ring I was planning to present to Emily at the top of the ride. He got my drift and gave me a nod and a wink.

The ride slowed every few seconds as the operator let more passengers on, while Emily and I cuddled with contented smiles on our faces. Then we really got going. We went around and around quite a few times, until I was beginning to think the operator hadn't understood after all. Finally we gradually began to slow down until Emily & I surveyed the world from the top of the ferris wheel.

"Oh, honey, isn't this so romantic?" Emily exclaimed.

I looked at this beautiful woman with her childlike enthusiasm and felt my heart melt. I took her face in my hands and said, "Emily, do you have any idea how much I love you?"

She smiled up at me but knew there was no response needed.

I reached into my pocket and took her left hand in mine. "Emily, my love, will you be my wife?" I asked as I slid a diamond engagement ring on her finger.

As she leaned forward to hug me and say "yes", the lights on the ferris wheel began to flash on and off wildly, and the carnival workers gathered below let out a big cheer.

Twelve years later Emily & I (and the kids too!) still love to ride the ferris wheel and make it a point to share a ride whenever the carnival comes to town.