For Elizabeth Ratcliffe of Canton, alligator season has become a family tradition the past seven years.
During that time, Ratcliffe met Jimmy Greer of Madison, and he became a part of the annual hunts about five years ago. After so many years hunting together, everyone knows what to do. Ratcliffe, along with her mother and sister, was inside their home making sandwiches and getting things together for the hunt. Outside, Greer and her father were prepping the boat and loading gear.
As the three women packed food, Ratcliffe’s father came in and said everyone needed to come outside for a minute. Given no explanation, Ratcliffe said she thought it was strange. It got even stranger when her father told her to close her eyes and hold his hand. At this point, she said she didn’t know what to think as they walked across the driveway toward a pond. “I thought, ‘Maybe he’d gotten me a new car or a new bow,’” said Ratcliffe, an avid bow hunter.
When the two stopped, her father told her to open her eyes on the count of three. When she opened her eyes, Greer’s parents were there with cameras and Greer was there, too.
“Jimmy was right in front of me, and there was Titan (the couple’s dog) with a sign around his neck that said, ‘Will You Marry My Daddy?’” Ratcliffe said. Then Greer bent to one knee and proposed.
“I started crying. I was shocked,” she said.