2005-07-30 / People

A Surprise Engagement!

Kimberly Holton planned a leisurely birthday on Mackinac Island Sunday, July 24. It would include breakfast at the J.L. Beanery coffee shop by the marina and dinner with her family at the Iroquois Hotel. She is the youngest daughter of Earl and Donnalee Holton of Grand Rapids, who have spent their summer vacations on the Island for 30 years, most recently at the Porritt cottage on the East Bluff.

Sunday, it turned out, was a day of surprises.

First, Kimberly received a surprise visit from her boyfriend, James Hitchcock, whom she spotted after breakfast on Main Street while they were talking on their cell phones.

Then, Mr. Hitchcock surprised even himself by proposing marriage after dinner that same day.

"It was as much a surprise to me as it was to her," he said of the proposal. "We have only known each other a couple months, and although I love her dearly, I worried Kimberly's family might think it premature if I were to propose so soon.”

The proposal came in front of the Little Stone Church, as a guitarist at the French Outpost sang “I’ll Be” by Edwin McCain. Driving to the Island earlier that day, Mr. Hitchcock had heard the same song on the radio, which caused him to reflect on his relationship with Miss Holton.

Hearing the song again at the French Outpost, he said, was an omen too difficult to pass up.

“At that moment,” he said, “I knew I had to ask her to marry me."

It probably is no surprise that Miss Holton accepted on the spot. Her parents were delighted, too, according to Mr. Hitchcock.

The couple is planning a spring wedding in Grand Rapids.

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