Howard Magazine - Page 48 - Symphony Stories (3)

Howard Magazine
- Page 48
Symphony Stories (3)

her boyfriend, Pat Bianchini, approached the kissing couple in her Toyota Camry on Dec. 17, 1998. “We’d been dating for three years, and my co-workers convinced me an engagement was coming,” Carol said.

 

On a chilly Thursday night, after dinner at the Macaroni Grill, Pat Bianchini coaxed her into driving through the Symphony of Lights. On the sly, he’d approached Howard County General Hospital, which sponsors the event as a fundraiser. Champagne, friends and a TV crew waited ’round the bend.

 

“I was fidgeting and checking to make sure I had the ring in my pocket, while trying not to let on,” he said. As they neared the kissing couple, Carol thought, This would be the perfect place, then dismissed it. Don’t ruin the moment, she told herself.

 

Then she saw the sign.

 

“That’s nice,” she said off-handedly. Then it hit her. “Wait a minute … our names are Carol and Pat!” She turned to her beau, who’d pulled off the road. He was grinning ear to ear.

 

“The rest of the night was a whirlwind,” she said. “We got out of the car, hand-in-hand. I was crying as he knelt down and people drove past, honking and waving and yelling, ‘Congratulations!’ like we were celebrities.”

 

And her husband-to-be? “I was shaking,” he said, “but that might have been from the cold.”

 

Then Pat proposed. Carol said yes.

 

A decade and two daughters later, the Bianchinis returned to the site. With the hospital’s blessing, Pat erected the old sign, took a knee and, children in tow, told his wife what she meant to him.

 

“After 10 years, I didn’t want to leave too much to chance, but I asked, ‘Would you marry me again?’ ” he said.

 

Over the din of car horns, she said yes — again. Now, after 20 years, might the Bianchinis repeat the scene?

 

“When we bring it up, our girls [16 and 13] go ‘ewww’ and change the subject,” their father said. “But it would be great to do something special.”

 

At 50, he said, “If I got down on one knee, at least I’d have a kid on either side to help me get back up.”

 

New life at the lights

 

Taking the children to see the Symphony of Lights is one thing; giving birth there is quite another. Yet that’s what happened on one December night about 10 years ago, Vic Broccolino said.

 

“A woman from Montgomery County was coming through the line [of cars] when the baby decided it