Every year, on Thanksgiving, the Christmas tree overlooking Rushford lights up the night sky for the first night, kicking off the holiday season. It is a beacon that serves to put Rushford Peterson Valley residents in the Christmas spirit.
For a couple married 26 years ago, the tree on Magelssen Bluff means so much more; it serves as a reminder of their love story.
Vern Meyers asked his then girlfriend, Beth McManimon, to marry him 28 years ago in the shadow of that tree.
“It was something that was memorable, because the tree has always been there for as long as we have known it” said McManimon. “We’re both from Rushford, it’s something that we’ve seen since childhood.”
Meyers and McManimon went to the top of the bluff one fateful December night, and McManimon recounts Meyers’ proposal.
“It was cold, so it was kind of short,” she said.
“I don’t recall a lot except that it was exciting,” laughed McManimon.
After the proposal, the two walked back to Meyers’ car, only to realize they were stuck in a snowdrift.
Years later, the two look back on the night with a smile, but at the time walking down the bluff on a cold night was not the perfect ending to Meyers’ proposal.
“I wasn’t dressed for the cold, because I didn’t know that we were going up there. It was a rather chilly walk back to town,” said McManimon. “But the excitement kept us warm!”
On the way down, Meyers slipped and slid multiple times in his cowboy boots, leaning on McManimon for support. At the bottom of the bluff, they stopped at a stranger’s house to use their phone and contacted McManimon’s father, Edward.
The now-engaged couple were heading for Meyers’ parents’ house, but in order to do that, they needed to collect their vehicle first.
“We drove up to my family’s farm on Oak Ridge” said McManimon. “He had to ask my dad for permission to marry me and then permission to borrow his truck. (My dad) laughed about it and thought it was a pretty good time.”
The two celebrated their anniversary on Dec. 17.