AUBURN, Ala. — The most exciting part of A-Day for one Auburn family didn’t occur during the Tigers’ annual scrimmage.
Lee Kelley had big plans well before the Saturday scrimmage. He was going to take his girlfriend of 13 years to the mountains of Pigeon Forge, Tennessee and propose marriage. His plan was flawless, he thought: his girlfriend’s 14-year-old daughter would stand outside wearing a shirt with “Mama, will you…” on the back before their 3-year-old daughter stepped up, turned around and revealed, “marry my dad.” on the back of her shirt.
A medical mishap in the family delayed the trip, however, and with the family being big Auburn fans — and the 3-year-old wanting to see her first A-Day in person — he knew he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to propose marriage at the 50-yard line of Jordan-Hare Stadium.
“We wanted to take [our daughter] to her first A-Day game and it kinda just fell into place,” Kelley told SEC Country. “What better place to do it?”
So, he made the necessary plans. He knew Auburn allowed fans on the field for autographs after the game, so access to the field was not a problem, but how would he go about documenting the momentous occasion? The Pine Apple, Alabama native contacted his girlfriend’s sister, a photographer.
“I called her sister, who is an Alabama fan,” Kelley told SEC Country. “She didn’t care for the idea.”
But she agreed to help, of course. After all, blood runs thicker than the red-and-orange rivalry, even in the Iron Bowl, but plans went awry. The sister was running late.
Luckily for Kelley another friend was at Jordan-Hare Stadium ready to take pictures and shoot video. Jessica Williams, Kelley’s girlfriend, wanted to take pictures with their 3-year-old daughter on the field after the game, so his buddy agreed to take photos. Thanks to last-minute communication with Kelley, the buddy also knew to start shooting video when Kelley told Williams to hand her sunglasses over to the camera man.
And that moment was Kelley’s cue to grab the ring out of his right pocket and get down on one knee.
As she turned around, Williams screamed. Their youngest daughter grew excited.
“What is it!?” their youngest daughter shouted.
Williams was shocked. Her boyfriend of 13 years and father of their 3-year-old child had finally asked her to marry him.
What took him so long? “I don’t know,” he said. “I didn’t want to get married in my 20s and we’ve stayed together pretty much the entire time.”
They’ll have to wait a tad longer before they’re married, too. Their wedding date is set for March 2018.