“I started planning this two years ago,” said Mollie, 29, a freelance health, science and environmental journalist known among her friends for her organizational skills.
“The actual morning of the proposal I thought we were going to get breakfast with a friend who was in town,” said Greg, 32, a software engineer at business website Industry Dive (and a former colleague of mine at The Washington Post).
The Dulles Airport Marriott struck Greg as an odd choice for breakfast, but, whatever.
“We show up, and I look around,” Greg said. “He’s not here yet, so I said, ‘Maybe we should get a table.’ Mollie said, ‘There’s no breakfast. We’re here for the zero-gravity flight.’ ”
So: a weightless flight from ZERO-G, a company headquartered in Northern Virginia that offers otherworldly experiences from airports around the country. That alone would have made anyone’s day. But Greg didn’t know about the little box Mollie had taken through TSA security and secreted in a pocket of her blue flight suit.
“It was an elaborate web of deception,” Greg said with a laugh.
After a light breakfast of plain food — there’s a reason these aircraft are called Vomit Comets — and some instruction, Mollie, Greg and the other ZERO-G customers boarded the 727.
The plane took off, and the pilot steered it in gentle undulations that approximated the gravity on Mars and the Moon. Then it was time for the main event: the weightlessness of space.
“The actual proposal was a little trickier than I thought it was going to be,” Mollie said. “They tell you before you get on the flight not to try to ‘swim.’ That’s a normal reaction.”
And it’s what Mollie tried to do when she realized she was floating away from Greg just as she was preparing to pop the question.
“You see me in the video frantically trying to swim back in Greg’s direction,” she said.
Figuring it was now or never, Mollie pulled out the box, took aim and threw it at her sweetheart.
Greg dove for it and caught it. When he opened the box, out floated a ring inlaid with fossilized dinosaur bone.
Said Mollie: “He manages to grab the ring, and I popped the question: ‘Greg, will you marry me?’ ”
Greg’s answer: “Absolutely, yes.”
There followed a dozen more parabolas, with Greg and Mollie floating, flipping, doing handstands, curling into balls and being tossed around the cabin.
The Fairfax couple haven’t yet set a date for their nuptials.
“Hopefully, the wedding will be as exciting as the proposal,” Mollie said.
It sounds like they have no plans of ever hitting the ground.
A baseball error
As you may have seen in my column yesterday, I’ve become fixated on how Washington prepared for its first World Series appearance. In 1924, the city was abuzz and agog — agozz, you might say.
I suppose that’s not surprising. What did surprise me, though, was the controversy that dogged the series, something I’d never heard of before. There were some who thought the games shouldn’t have been played at all.
That’s because of a scandal involving the National League champion New York Giants and the Philadelphia Phillies.
As the regular season entered its final days, the Phillies were mired at the bottom of the league. The Giants were neck and neck with Brooklyn. Phillies shortstop Heinie Sand told his manager, Art Fletcher, that during the final series, against the Giants, he’d been offered $500 by New York outfielder Jimmy O’Connell to “take it easy.” In other words: Throw the game. “Nothing doing,” Sand said.
This was bad for a sport still smarting from the 1919 Black Sox scandal. After a quick investigation, Commissioner Kenesaw Landis banned O’Connell and Giants coach Cozy Dolan from baseball. The American League commissioner, B. Bancroft “Ban” Johnson, wanted the World Series canceled, or to have second-place Brooklyn play in place of the Giants.
But Landis said the World Series could go ahead. Johnson, the American League commissioner, refused to attend any of the games.
For previous columns, visit washingtonpost.com/john-kelly.