Walkin' In Memphis

Walkin' In Memphis

The sweet, comfortable, laughter-filled joy of time with friends of many decades.

Todd raised thousands of dollars in preparation for the St. Jude’s Marathon in Memphis last weekend. Gina and I had been planning for months to ensure we got at least some time together.

Todd ran the marathon on Saturday in under four hours, bounced back from that like it was a stroll on campus, and they were ready for us to pick them up around 11 on Sunday morning to head to brunch.

Buds and I drove over in the “Phat Mobile.” (That’s the name Buster and I support for the new van. Future blog post on the naming process and what the final name will be.)

We thought Yessa might decide to go along on the trip with us, but all the grands decided to hang with Grandma since her visit was rapidly drawing to a close.

Here we go!

This was the first time Todd, Gina, Buds and I were getting a chance to just be adults together. We’ve had years of visits and vacations as families together, and Gina and I have had many adventures just the two of us, but these two days were an inkling of our future fun times.

And oh, what fun they were!

For those who didn’t go to college with us, Todd was my first hall director as an R.A. thirty years ago. He and Gina were newlyweds, and she survived living in the residence hall as their first home. We’ve been friends ever since.

We started off with brunch at a busy, delightful restaurant Todd and Gina picked. Sunrise Memphis was jumping, but the line moved fast. We talked non-stop as we waited in line then settled at a table to dine.

It was really southern and really good.

We decided Graceland was not on our bucket list for this trip, so we headed to The Pink Palace instead.

The former home of the founder of Piggly-Wiggly, the government took over the house when he couldn’t pay his taxes and turned it into a museum. That gave us pause. We did not know that was an option.

We were intrigued by the description of touring the first Piggly-Wiggly, which is housed at The Pink Palace. We were disappointed that the museum was undergoing renovation and that option was not available.

Instead we browsed the Christmas tree displays that were in support of the other children’s hospital in town.

After “Chillin’ With My Gnomies” at the Enchanted Forest, we were off to view the 37th wonder of the world, the great pyramid of Memphis, i.e., Bass pro shop extraordinaire. We wandered throughout the store, although we missed the bowling alley.

The elevator ride to the top was greatly enhanced by the whopper of a fish story we heard on the way up, and the rest of our time together was accented with cries of “praise to the catfish.”

“Fishbowl”. Get it?!

I’m not a huge fan of heights so kind Gina tried to reassure me when we were on the balcony that, “if you break through the glass it’s fine because it’s a slope and you’ll slide gently down.”


She also made me laugh later by sending this picture when the wind was trying to blow our faces off, with the punchline,

Todd and Buds are so lucky:

Ahhh, the honesty of old friends. 😆

After we bought a couple fishing boats, laughed at hot sauce names, and wrestled some alligators, we moseyed (and motored) to a beautiful park Todd had run by earlier in the day.

It was crisp and beautiful. The perfect afternoon to be walking with friends.

We investigated the B.B. King/Elvis Presley Welcome Center as we walked by.

After we headed back to pick up the Orange Mobile at the pyramid, we laughed at the stop sign as we left the parking lot.

Oh, possum.

After a little quiet time at the hotel, we headed to Flying Saucer for drinks.

We trekked down Beale Street to see about dinner. Upon learning that a tour bus group had just taken over the entire restaurant we were interested in, we decided the calm, quiet atmosphere at Flying Saucer was just what we needed for dinner.

As we walked back, crossing the street was a young man Buds and I know from our church in Nashville. It was a pleasant surprise to see him.

After a delicious dinner we headed back to visit in the lobby for as long as we could all stay awake.

Buds and I were up early the next morning for a workout and then my first Bird scooter ride to “LowFi” coffee.

We wandered into the Peabody Hotel, which is beautiful.

They had a fun Charlie and the Chocolate Factory chocolate display.

We met up with T&G for breakfast and more chatting.

We engaged in a few final shenanigans thanks to the elevators in the lobby.

This time together reminded me how much I value friends who bring out our best selves, who share a similar sense of humor, with whom we can talk about things both large and small, and who are there when we need them, when true love has found us for the first time.

I was sitting on Buddie’s lap in a chair in the kitchen in the apartment I shared with Steffer Ragsbottom when I called to tell Todd and Gina I had met “the one.”

I talked to Todd first, then he passed the phone to Gina.

“Can you truly be yourself with him?” she asked me in that way a loving, insightful best friend must.

I looked into his beautiful, loving, chocolate brown eyes and assured her that yes, yes I could.

How grateful I am that we are all still sharing this journey through life together.

Thanks for a wonderful time walking in Memphis.

Long live the catfish.