Playful, elegant, and not above the judicious use of the word “shit."

23 Weeks, Photo Collection: Memphis

Jon and I have been back from Memphis for almost a week, and only now is he returning to a normal way of speaking, saying “What?” instead of “Whhhuuuutt?” and getting rid of “Ahhhh know!” altogether. We had a fantastic vacation, complete with samplings of fried okra, gravy and biscuits, and a trip to the largest Baptist church on earth, a place I like to call Six Flags Over Jesus.

My 10-yr high school reunion was the largest gathering of the most artifically tan people on earth, and I’m relieved to announce that none of the popular kids chased me around the ballroom with blazing torches. All of the women who had gained weight since high school didn’t show up to the reunion, because all the women were Southern, skinny, and fabulous. I’ve never been more disappointed. The men, however, were virtually unrecognizable, each of them having gained 20-30 pounds with hair lines reaching back to the middle of their heads. Jon was one of the only men in the room with a visible chin.

Right before dinner, a surprisingly delicious buffet with prime rib and garlic mashed potatoes, the president of our class stood up at a podium to give a heartfelt speech about the members of our class who had died either in high school or since. As she read off the names, she walked around a small round table lighting tall white candles in honor of each person. By the time she lit the third candle, the first one had fallen over and almost set her dress on fire. I gripped Jon’s hand under the table in an effort to hold my shit together, as this was a Very Special Moment, but when she finally got the first candle to stand upright, the second one fell over and almost burned her leg. The whole room sat silently in horror, and I almost squeezed Jon’s hand off.

Directly after the inferno, she approached the podium again to offer a prayer to God over dinner. I wondered whether or not she would thank God that she didn’t set the building on fire, but instead she offered this gem of a blessing in the thickest Southern accent imaginable:

Dear God … (long pause)… thank you SOOOOO MUUUUCCCHHHH for this food … (long pause)… help us remember, God, that each day begins with a sunrise and ends with a sunset, and that if we don’t remember that, then all we have is just a day …(long pause to think about sunrises and sunsets)… Amen.

I’d never been so profoundly sad, realizing for the first time that my life has been full of days when it should have been full of so much more.

This week’s photo collection is a journal of our trip to Memphis, with a few photos from the reunion, some of the Memphis skyline, and one of my belly at 23 weeks. Now that the reunion is over and I no longer have to fear the scrutiny of skinny Southern women, I plan to eat like a proper pregnant woman. This means that in addition to the extra 300 calories I’m supposed to consume for the baby, I’m going to tack on an additional 400-500 per day, just in case the baby gets the munchies. From the looks of my belly, you’d think I’d been doing this all along.

Launch Memphis.

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