Lynda Janak and David Goodfriend
Down to the final fragrant rose petal, flickering candle and chilled champagne, David Goodfriend meticulously planned every detail of his proposal to Lynda Janak last August. If proposals could be perfect, David recalled, this one was going to be just that.
But like so many of life's significant moments, things didn't go as planned.
It started when Lynda, who lives in Essex, asked David to help her assemble a model airplane she had bought as a gift for her nephew. In the front yard of his house in Leesburg, Va., David put the finishing touches on the plane and tossed it into the air for a test flight. It soared upward, but seconds later, landed in the branches of a neighbor's tree. Before David had time to protest, Lynda went after it.
David said he didn't think it was a good idea that the woman he hoped would become his wife was climbing a tree, particularly because he planned to propose that evening. "I tried to stop her, but it was too late," he said. Lynda got the plane down, shaking it out of the branches. The only problem was, she couldn't get herself down. While trying to navigate through some wet branches, she slipped and fell.
David, a physician, and Lynda, a nurse, saw that her ankle was injured. They spent the rest of the evening at the hospital emergency room, where Lynda was treated for a fractured ankle. David waited patiently, with an engagement ring in his pocket.
Later that night, David drove Lynda back to his house wondering what to do next. Lynda was groggy from painkillers, and hobbling awkwardly on crutches. But the champagne was chilling, and the flowers still fragrant.
"I had no clue what to do," said David. "Then I just thought, 'This is it' -- it had to be that night."
Coaxing Lynda into the room he had decorated, David dropped to one knee and proposed. The next morning, Lynda woke up with a ring on her finger. And for a moment, she had no idea how it got there.
"The painkillers I took just knocked me out," said Lynda, 34. "At first I couldn't remember what had happened." David reminded her of his proposal (and her acceptance), and she became ecstatic.
"He's such a sensitive, romantic man," said Lynda. "I had been waiting a while for this to happen." David and Lynda's relationship began in 1998, when they worked together at the Loudon County Department of Health in Virginia.
Their first dates were friendly luncheons. Then, after a seven-hour dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Fells Point, they began dating seriously. Throughout the course of their relationship, David and Lynda broke up on three occasions, the last time because of a difference they both thought was irreconcilable -- religion. David, who grew up in New York, is Jewish, and Lynda, who comes from Guyana, is Lutheran.
"Whenever we were apart I was always thinking about how we would get back together," said David, 38. "I knew it would be a challenge, but marriage is not about choosing what's easy -- it's about choosing the person that you really want to be with."
The couple's wedding, which took place Dec. 1 at the Gramercy Mansion, was an interfaith ceremony. The 60 guests included a mix of Jews, Muslims, Hindus and Christians, among others. As for Lynda's ankle, it healed in time for her to walk down the aisle to David -- just as they had planned.