Wedding

I have never seen my friend Tim look so happy.  That moment everyone talks about–when the groom first sees the bride start down the aisle–happened just as everyone said it would.  Tim looked as if he were about to cry, explode from happiness, and faint from nervousness all at once.  I almost burst into tears just to see it.  A small edit: I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone look that happy.

Children, that’s the look your partner should have on your wedding day.

The wedding was in a church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.  I drove from Minneapolis with two friends, and drove from Sauk Centre to Fergus Falls with those same two friends plus Ben.  He still goes to Morris, the lucky dog.  It was a long three and a half hours in the car, punctuated by a visit to Keith’s Kettle for lunch.

Keith’s Kettle is advertised via billboard for about one-hundred miles of highway, and every billboard features a color photograph of Keith himself, smiling and pink-faced.  It has long been a goal of mine to pay a visit to the famed establishment, and now I have.  My chili was actually fairly delicious, if you’re looking for a recommendation.  And we saw Keith himself, greeting diners from the front desk.  He was wearing the exact same polo shirt he wears on the billboards.

When we arrived in Fergus Falls, we piled into the church bathrooms to change.  I called dibs on the shower stall, and was able to shimmy into dress and heels with relative ease.

Then we found the groomsmen, two fellow Morris graduates and former Pine Hall (my freshman dorm) residents, and were brought in to hug the groom before we found our seats.

It was a beautiful, beautiful ceremony, draped with white tulle and navy silk.  I fumbled a little through the rock version of “Amazing Grace” (rather unlike the solemn Catholic version), but that was largely overlooked.  Tears were shed again (in case you’re looking to tally) when the bride and groom distributed roses to their parents and grandparents.

The reception began with an announcement asking guests not to clink glasses in order to get the bride and groom to kiss.  We at table five, self-dubbed the “kids’ table” (made up of a smattering of Tim’s friends from elementary school, high school, and college) hid our disappointment and politely obliged.  A half hour later, the mother of the groom came by our table to say hello and to tell us quietly that if we clinked, she would pretend she didn’t hear.  So we clinked and cheered at the resulting kiss.  An hour later, the bride walked by and told us quietly to clink again.  Not wishing to deny the bride anything on her wedding day, of course we complied.

After cake was eaten and another round of hugs swept the hall, we piled back into the Prius for the ride home.  King was with us now, squished between Ben and I in the dreaded middle backseat.  It was just like freshman year.  We played twenty questions.  King and I sang about the ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall until Evan made us stop.  We talked endlessly about how happy Tim and Morgan had looked.  And how much older they had looked, suddenly.  How impressively distant from the rest of us unmarried, freshly independent, jobless folk.

As we passed illuminated billboard after billboard plastered with Keith’s welcoming grin, I could almost believe that we had been on just another Perkins run in Alexandria, and were now on our way back to campus.

Photo credit: SR Photography

Sidenote: best wedding photograph I’ve ever seen.  Photo credit: SR Photography.

The Tempest

I am currently sitting on the third floor of the library.  I am smug because I managed to snag one of the comfy chairs.  I am full because I just polished off my lunch of orange and homemade chicken soup.  I am focused because I’m reading for Feminist Theory.  I am tired because I chose the Downton Abbey finale over sleep last night.  I am slightly uncomfortable because there is a woman I’ve never seen in my life taking pictures of me from a few shelves down.

This is awkward.  She just moved around to my left and is taking some more.

Okay, it’s all right: she finally introduced herself.  She’s part of the University Relations team, taking photographs for the UMM website.

Welcome to my life, friends.  And you thought Kim Kardashian has paparazzi problems?

In other news, Morris is under yet another blizzard warning.  Not knowing this, I walked to school this morning (not that there were other options had I known) through 33 mph winds. That was fun.

What was fun was that at one point in the walk, I passed my friend Andy.  Not bothering to peel the scarf from his face, he shouted through it a quote from Shakespeare’s The Tempest:

“Hell is empty, and all the devils are here!”

It’s Saturday Night, Take III

We’ll all waiting for some snow.  Francis, the yellow lab next door; the town of Morris; and me.  Funnily enough, we’re due for a winter storm, which will hit between midnight tonight and midnight tomorrow.  Then we’re due for a blizzard, which will hit between midnight tomorrow and midnight on Monday.  A foot of snow total, and white-out conditions.

Meanwhile, I’m eating the Most Delicious Orange in the world, pretending to enjoy my raspberry green tea (it’s bitter, but Dr. Oz told me to drink it, so I’m obeying), and watching Little Miss Sunshine.

And waiting for the storms, of course.

At the Common Cup

I feel like such a “blogger.”  I am sitting in an actual, non-chain coffee shop.  There are mismatched tables, there are vinyl-backed chairs, there are drawings from the local elementary school children on the walls, there are apartments upstairs.  I am drinking fair trade ginger peach green tea.  It’s snowing outside.

I am reading (though not this minute, naturally) Dan Wakefield’s New York in the Fifties.  I want to turn into Dan Wakefield when I graduate.  I want to take a train called the Spirit of St. Louis, or the Pacemaker from the Midwest to New York City.  I want to live in the Village and sup in mystical places called drugstores.  I want to run into Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac in someone’s smoky apartment.  Mostly, I want what those men seemed to have: an assurance, right out of college, that they were in the place they needed to be and doing the work they needed to do.  Oh, for that kind of certainty.

As it is, though, I’m sitting in a vinyl-backed chair in the Common Cup Coffeehouse in Morris, Minnesota.  It is snowing outside, and cold.  And for now, I think this is where I need to be.

“Hearing that plain Midwestern accent, as well as the plain thinking behind it, bolstered my confidence, proving that people from the hinterlands could make it in East Coast literary circles.  It gave me courage to speak to some of my new classmates, jostling down the steps of Hamilton Hall after a lecture.

‘Hey, Van Doren’s great, huh?’ I said.

One of them shrugged, and in a nasal New Yorkese said, ‘I dunno, he’s a little too midwestuhn.’

‘Yeah, that’s it!’ I blurted out.”

Give Me Another Year

 

A year and a half ago, I saw this movie:

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A year, 5 months, and 23 hours ago, I attained the following songs:

(for the record, I have very little insight into what these songs are actually saying, beyond “the world through rose-colored glasses.”)

A year and three months ago, I found myself here:

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And consequentially, here:

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And that sequence of events is as surreal to me now as it was to me then.  Me, tromping through Paris graveyards in search of Edith Piaf, who I had seen portrayed by Marion Cotillard months earlier.  Me, watching the Eiffel Tower light up from the damp grass of the green stretching in front of it.  And now me, sitting in a house in Morris, Minnesota, getting ready for dinner with friends that will likely not consist of baguettes and French onion soup, but pizza and burgers.  I wonder where I’ll be if you give me another year?

Yet Another List (But This One Has Pat Sajak)

Over the course of the evening, I have:

1. Made these chocolate chip cookies, which are roughly the circumference and thickness of chewy hockey pucks.  That was meant to sound tantalizing.  Anyway, they’re good, and worth the extra preparation steps.

2. Worked out on the gym machine that’s part stair-stepper, part elliptical, with attached TVs.  Do you know what I’m talking about?  I didn’t want to run, as I was still a little full from dinner, so I figured that this unnamed machine may be smoother on my stomach.  I was completely wrong, of course, and had to stop periodically to protect the latest episode of Gossip Girl from projectile vomit.  Still, it was nice to take a break from the treadmill, though I suspect that I’ll have trouble walking tomorrow.

3.  Made significant progress on my senior project.  Right now, it looks like it will concern the role of fortune in Renaissance romance literature.  The title will include a Pat Sajak reference, which I WILL KEEP at all costs.  If my senior project must consist of writing a 12-15 page research paper, and then reading an 8 page excerpt to a room full of professors, parents, and peers, then I at least need a spark of humor to keep said people alert and engaged.  Who doesn’t love a good Pat Sajak reference?

Back to Morris tomorrow.

I promise I’ll regain my ability to write in complete sentences soon.

Home at Last

I’m home!

I took my second midterm yesterday morning, ran two miles, worked for one hour, stopped to pose in UMM’s MN United photo (with about twenty other people), and then hit the road, with my friend Gretchen at the wheel.

It was a long 3.5 hour drive back to the cities, deliciously punctuated by a trip to the Chipotle in St. Cloud.  There, we ran into three friends from Morris!  I tell you, Chipotle’s draw is strong.

I slept for almost twelve hours last night, and woke up this morning feeling more like myself than I’ve felt all week.

Today has largely been spent reading trashy celebrity magazines, pilfering Sunday crossword puzzles from the newspaper bin, and watching copious amounts of Gilmore Girls.

We had steak for dinner, and now I’m diving into my Senior Seminar research for about an hour before mom and I head to the gym for some running.

It’s been two whole months since I’ve been outside the Morris town limits, which is hard to believe.  I’d almost forgotten what it’s like to not recognize professors in the grocery store, or to wake up to quiet (as opposed to muffled Frank Ocean).

Happy Weekend!

Mi Sofa Es Tu Sofa

My gentleman caller and I were hanging out last night, and when it reached 11:30 and no more Virginia Woolf could be absorbed, nor more Latin American history terms memorized, I walked him downstairs to the front door.  The living room was pitch black, and so I was naturally startled when a voice emerged from the darkness: “Hello?”

“Uh, hello?” I said, gripping my cell phone, and hoping the screen wouldn’t crack if I used it as a bludgeon.

“Is Joey asleep?” The voice spoke again.

Whew, so he wasn’t after me.  I wondered how proficient Joey was with a cellular bludgeon.

“Yes, I think so.  I’m sorry, who are you?”

My eyes adjusted, and I could make out a figure laying on the couch.

“I’m Josh.  From Minnesotans United for All Families.  Joey said it was okay that I stayed over, but the house was dark when I got here, and it looked like everyone was asleep, so I just made myself comfortable.  I hope that’s okay.”

“Oh, of course it is.  Sorry, I didn’t know we were expecting anyone, but of course it’s perfectly fine.  Make yourself at home.”

Then I said goodnight and awkwardly retreated upstairs, shaking my head.  Only at Bag End do twenty-something-year-old politically-active visitors show up in the middle of the night to crash on our couch.

In other news, one five-hour copy editing session, two Social Science Office work shifts, two midterms, one two-mile run, and a 3.5 hour car ride are all that separate me from Fall Break.

I can do this.

First Snow

First snow tonight.  We were walking home, admiring the purple rim of clouds that clutched the treeline, when suddenly there were white flashes in the palisade of street lights surrounding the police station.

My sleeve was dotted dark, and although we couldn’t see them, faint pellets hit our foreheads, stinging and colder than the air.

It reminded me of freshman year, when we watched Underworld in the Cow Palace, and went outside halfway through to find an inch of snow on the ground and fat flakes falling.  Of that night, the only written record I have is a small journal entry: “October 9th and it’s snowing in Morris.  I love it here.”  Still, I remember how amazed we were, how even Evan was in disbelief, how quiet the campus was, how lovely with white draped over roofs and tumbling softly down gutters to the sidewalks.

But I’m inside currently, having dragged myself away from such sentimentality for the research that has been tugging at me for some time now.

There was an open mic night going on downstairs; I had to open the door carefully when I came in, for Joey was crouched on a chair reading from a book I’ve never heard of, and a dozen of my friends listened with cocked heads and clutched guitars or sheets of poetry or warm beers.

The party went out a few minutes ago, though.  They’re going to a house called The Bakery, which is self-explanatory, I think.  Before they left, someone shouted up to me:

“Bye Holly, I love you!”

“Bye Zak, I love you too!” I returned.

And then the door shut and the house inhaled and I turned back to my work.