Memphis, day 3

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Last night was another late night, this morning was another slow, lazy morning. We emerged from the condo about 10:30 to head out into Millington (a city north of Memphis) to meet my aunt and two of my cousin’s kids for lunch. The conversation was easy flowing and light hearted. It was a relief to see my aunt was in pretty good shape and seemed to be in good spirits. We talked about trips we had all done recently, about one kid’s first year in college, and generally laughed and grinned and hugged. After Melody said how much she enjoyed seeing how much my family so evidently cares for me. I think that’s something I have a hard time seeing or recognizing in the moment, so it was really welcome to “see” that through a fresh pair of eyes.

The weather in Memphis is turning hotter for the remainder of the trip, breeching 90° F with unrelenting sun and an uncomfortable blanket of humidity. I know all too well that it’s not nearly as bad as it could be, but it’s still kind of intense after my years in Portland.

Early evening we went south of Memphis into the northern edge of Mississippi to the house of the parents of the groom for a rehearsal dinner. Well, not exactly a rehearsal dinner, given that we’re not members of the wedding party, but more of a mingling of the two families. I saw my niece (the bride), and offered my congratulations, and chatted a while my oldest brother Bill (father of the bride) and his wife. I even talked a bit with the groom, Travis, and compared notes on shaving one’s head (him) versus buzzing it very short with a beard trimmer (me). I can barely bring myself to shave my cheeks; I did for this trip, but the previous time was a 2009 trip to Hawaii so my beard and mustache would not interfere with a snorkeling mask.

I also got a few minutes to talk seriously with my cousin Tim about his health; I was terribly relieved to hear he is handling his MS extraordinarily well. The medication he is on is working very well, with little side effects. While he is still a big man, he is about 100 lbs below his maximum weight and being very thoughtful about his eating.

The gathering ended early and Melody and I returned to the condo, switched to more casual clothes, and walked down to Beale Street again. Despite it being Friday night, the crowd was considerably thinner than Wednesday, and we didn’t feel like hanging out in a terribly loud bar to listen to one of the bands playing, so we returned the condo and bed at a modest hour (for a change).

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