Southern Comfort

March 14, 2007

I really hate it when I procrastinate about blogging. The events that I want to talk about grow hazy in my memory due to the passage of time, with key details being the first casualties. If I sit down to write as soon as something momentious happens, I’m usually pleased with the outcome. All that to say, I don’t think this post is going to do my trip to Alabama two weeks ago any sort of justice.

I left out of Houston late on a Thursday night, neglecting the fellowship of my community group in the interest of being awake when I arrived in Longview that night. Turns out that sleep and fatigue were the least of my worries: when I left Houston, it was in the mid-upper 60’s, and I was wearing shorts, flip flops, and a thin t-shirt. Upon arrival in Longview and the campus of LeTourneau, my car was beeping at me to signify that the temperature had dropped below 37. The flip flops were now a liability. However, I was pretty much a zombie at that point after crashing down from the caffiene high that had propeled me through the moonlight forests of East Texas, and so I collapsed on the futon of an unsuspecting college student and slept the peaceful sleep of the righteous.

The following morning, I threw on a suit and had meetings with a couple of area hospitals before getting myself and Emily on I-20 in the direction of Birmingham. I-20 is one of those highways that shows you nothing but the generic parts of America; I’m sure that Vicksburg and Tuscaloosa and Shreveport all have fun, interesting parts of town (ok, maybe not Shreveport), but all you ever see from the interstate is a neverending parade of Shell stations and Applebees. At least Jackson had a Rasing Canes.

We arrived in Birmingham in time for the end of the rehersal dinner and a hearbreakingly beautiful video presentation about the bride and groom. I’ll pause the narrative here for moment for the sake of two points:

1. The occasion for the trip was the wedding of Katy King and Mark Hersey, who are respectively two of my favorite people that I never get to see. Katy was the photographer at my older brother’s wedding, and has a unique visual approach. I knew going in that this would be one of the most visually appealing weddings I’d ever been to, and I wasn’t disappointed. Mark is a 6’8″ complement to his statuesque wife, and one of the most laid back, approachable guys I’ve ever met. There are couples that you meet and when they say that they’re getting married, you nod your head and say “yeah, I can see that”; then there are others where you jump up and down like a five year old and do a fist pump like you just hit a walk-off home run. They are the latter couple.

2. The music behind the video presentation included the song “Kingdom Come” by Coldplay. For those of you not familiar, it’s a song that Chris Martin wrote for Johnny Cash to perform. The Man In Black was called home before he could record it, so it shows up as a secret track on X&Y. It’s done acoustic and sparse, just like the Rick Rubin Cash records. I bring this up not so much to praise this excellent song, but because I want to put it to use. I tend to burn cds for my friends, but of particular fun is making a mix for a girl in whom I am interested. There are a certain set of songs I’ve always refrained from putting on a cd because they’re just so powerful that I didn’t want to waste them on someone I didn’t think I could marry. During the last relationship that I was in, I had the confidence to put all of these songs on various cds, because I had come to the conclusion that we were going to get married. Do You Realize?? by the Flaming Lips and I’m The Man Who Loves You by Wilco were the two worst casualties, tarnished and cheapened by using them too early in the game. But having heard Kingdom Come in this context reminds me that there are plenty of songs out there for use when I do again have opportunity to throw together mushy music together for someone who drives me crazy.

Ok, enough sidetracking. As I left the rehersal dinner, I pulled Katy aside and asked her what they were doing for a getaway car. She and Mark are both crazy about origninal Beetles, so I assumed that they’d have one lined up; as it turns out, their reservation for one had canceled at the last minute, leaving them with the prospect of driving away in Mark’s rental car. No freaking way that was going to happen.

Other thoughts from the wedding: I don’t know that tuxes are really necessary. All the guys looked natty enough in their tan suits. Spontaneity and improv in wedding ceremonies is under-rated. People who are raised in ultra-conservative environments cannot tell the difference between a regular conversation and the initiation of a relationshp. Canadians are dorks, in the best way possible.

After the wedding, the out-of-towners ended up congregating in the Five Points area of Birmingham for food and drinks. Ok, for me it was just food. Regardless, it was fun to meet some new people and catch up with some friends I hadn’t seen in a while.

Eventually, I found myself in a hotel room with four other people, drinking wine (ok, I did finally take a Sunday exception to Lent) and throwing grapes at one another. This new group of five appears to be taking the place of the larger group that first introduced me to Katy, and I couldn’t be happier. These are peoople that I’m a lot more in tune with than most, and plans are already afoot to reconvene in our nation’s capital around Memorial Day.

We closed down the hotel room party at 6AM, and Emily and I left Alabama after lunch. Emily is my sister in law’s sister, and one of the coolest kids I know. Simultaneously insecure and confident in who she is, she’s asking hard questions, and fighting for the answers. It’s spooky to see someone else wrestle with a lot of the issues that confronted me when I went to college. I love her to death, and I can’t wait to see where she’s going to be in five years. CHUNKY!

I love it when my friends are in love. I love long talks over long miles. I love making new friends and establishing new inside jokes. I feel very blessed.

I guess that wasn’t so bad. Still remembered most of the good details, didn’t leave any major events out. Great success! On our next installment: good suits, bad weather, and lesbians.



  1. I hope that you are saying that she will be in Chunky rather than saying that she will be chunky!

  2. very nice. good job… I feel ashamed at my further procrastination. šŸ™‚

  3. this is amazingly lovely and one of those posts that, were it written about someone else, i’d think to myself, “i hope people will think the same about me.”.

    you’re a gem.

    marks. and i have really got to make it to a gathering sometime. though, i almost hate to ruin the dynamics as they are.


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