Family on Friday: Anniversaries, Music, Sunsets, Champagne and Brandy Alexanders
43 years ago (yesterday) I married Bill Cushman at Covenant Presbyterian Church in Jackson, Mississippi.
We had 17 attendants, 2 pastors, and 2 soloists.
We also had 11 “tea girls” who served at our reception (5 sorority sisters from Ole Miss and 6 high school friends). We invited 400 people to the wedding. I addressed the invitations during final exams, in May of my freshman—and only—year at Ole Miss. Which seemed fitting, since the only degree I would earn from the University of Mississippi would be my Mrs. Degree. And here’s a story worth repeating: My mother handed me the Jackson phone book, with all the people she wanted me to invite underlined and marked with an * in the margin. Yes.
So, Bill (aka Father Basil or Dr. Cushman) and I started celebrating our 43rd wedding anniversary on May 26, when we went to hear Sir Paul (McCartney) sing for three hours at the Fed Ex Forum. It was amazing. Bill has always been a huge McCartney fan, and hearing him in person was a life-long wish. Back in the ’80s, we hosted lots of costume parties in Jackson (Mississippi) including one where Bill dressed as Paul and I was Linda, and we did a duet, “Baby, You Can Drive My Car.”
We followed the McCartney concert with a small, intimate front porch concert on June 1 in midtown, where we enjoyed “words and music” from my friend from Nashville, the musician and writer, Marshall Chapman. Marshall read from her book, They Came to Nashville, and sang a number of songs from her new CD, “Blaze of Glory.” We sat in lawn chairs outside on a beautiful starry night with our friends, David Twombly, Cindy Fong, and Mitch and Sandy Childress, and were sad when the music was over.
A few days later we enjoyed sunset drinks and small plates on the rooftop bar at the Madison (downtown) where we discovered the best sunset view in Memphis, hands down. (Thanks for the tip, Mary Elizabeth Phillips!)
The next week, we headed to Paulette’s for a lovely dinner in the bar, near the piano where requests are taken. At one point, I asked Bill to request “This Guy’s In Love” by Herb Alpert, because he sang that to me on our first date back in 1968… on a sailboat on the Ross Barnett Reservoir. (Incredibly romantic first date, right? We sailed all afternoon and into the starlit evening. We were 17 and 19.) After that we requested “The Nearness of You,” an old classic that Marshall covered on her new CD. So, while we were listening to the piano and enjoying our meal, the bartender brought us two more glasses of champagne, and indicated they were gifts from someone in the bar. We looked at the couple sitting at the next table, who immediately raised their glasses and said, “Salute!” Michele D’Oto and Laura Derrick are Italian. They own Pasta Italia, out in Cordova, and were dining at Paulette’s on the one night their restaurant is closed (Mondays). As we chatted with our new friends, we discovered that their son just graduated from medical school here and had studied with Bill. Such a small world. We’ll definitely be driving out to Cordova the next time we’re hungry for Italian food. (What they didn’t tell us is that their original restaurant was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, in Biloxi. I just read about it on their web site.)
Finally, we indulged in homemade frozen Brandy
So, I’m missing my sweetheart today, but with all the celebrating we’ve been doing, I’ve been needing some alone time to work on the novel. Gonna be buried in it for a while. Champagne and Brandy Alexanders are optional.