>Senators and Sunflowers

>I’m taking a break from posting about my mom, other than to say that she’s still at Manhattan Nursing and Rehabilitation in Jackson, Mississippi, recovering from surgery for a broken hip. We got home to Memphis Saturday night, having been gone for twelve days, including our trip to Seagrove Beach, Florida, and my trip(s) to Jackson to be with Mom.

My second trip to Jackson (Wednesday through Saturday) coincided with two events we had already planned to participate in, so that’s what I’m going to write about today.


My husband spoke at the 2008 Jackson Cardiovascular Renal Meeting in Jackson on Thursday, and attended the other sessions of the meeting on Friday. He was speaking about the ACCORD trial: the action to control cardiovascular risk in diabetes study. There were physicians from all over the world at the meeting, and our Mississippi hosts did a great job (as usual) with hospitality for the event. The Welcome Reception on Wednesday night was at the University Club, with a view of the city just after sunset. Thursday night’s event was “A Taste of Mississippi” at the Mississippi Museum of Art, complete with fried catfish and live music. And Friday evening’s final banquet at the Marriott presented a special treat for everyone, and especially for my husband and me.

Dan Jones, the current President of the American Heart Association,
and his wife Lydia (here they are at our table) arranged for us to sit next to the guest of honor for the evening—Senator Thad Cochran.

Here we are with Dan and Senator Cochran just before dinner.

And here’s Dan with Senator Cochran, my husband, and Dr. Jim Wilson.

So, who’s Dr. Jim Wilson? Well… Jim and I were friends in high school back in the 60s in Jackson… we even posed for a Coca-Cola ad for the high school newspaper once… standing on a trampoline in a gymnasium holding bottled Cokes. The caption said, “Jim and Susan go better with Coke.” (I didn’t write the copy!)

So, I recently included part of that scene in a draft of my memoir-in-progress… and now I see Jim for the first time in almost forty years. I had no idea he was a physician in Jackson. Here we are getting re-acquainted.

Anyway, Senator Cochran was invited to speak because he’s been a big advocate of funding for medical research in Mississippi. Unfortunately he had to leave to attend another event after his talk… here’s my husband trying to bend his ear before he left. I was hoping to hear his suggestions for health care reform, but he kept his remarks local and reflective, rather than global.

My parents were friends with Thad Cochran “back in the day” … and when I told my mother (at the nursing home) on Friday that I was going to meet him that night, she said, “Tell him Bill and Effie Johnson said hello.” Of course my dad has been dead for ten years, but I’m sure he would want to have said hello.

The next day we left the realm of senators and moved on to sunflowers.

Laura Algood’s wedding at Saint Peter Orthodox Church in Madison, Mississippi on Saturday was the second reason for our stop in Jackson en route home from the beach. Laura is one of my favorite people. She was best friends with my Goddaughter, Mary Allison Callaway … the one who was killed by a drunk driver ten years ago. And we’ve been friends with Laura’s parents for over forty years.

So, when we got to the wedding on Saturday morning, there were sunflowers everywhere… in the flower arrangements in the nave, in the bouquets, and in the parish hall for the reception. I wasn’t surprised. Sunflowers were Mary Allison’s favorite flower, and on the back of Laura and Oliver’s wedding program it said:

“The flowers carried by the Matron of Honor are in special memory of Mary Allison Callaway and Charlotte Murray Pace.” (Murray was another dear friend of Laura’s who met an untimely death a number of years ago. Here’s a picture of Mary Allison, Laura and Murray at their high school graduation in 1996.) So… at the reception all the guests received these little envelopes of Sunflower seeds with this tradition printed on the back. I guess I’ll be growing dwarf sunflowers soon.

The wedding was beautiful… I love the “dance of Isaiah” around the table on the solea…

And it was a gorgeous day for an outdoor reception on the patio, with bubbles and dancing, sunshine and a pleasant breeze and 72 degrees in mid October in Mississippi.

Laura’s younger brother, John William, was there with his girlfriend from Austin, Elena… he said he’s a fan of my blog, so I said, “you guys wanna’ be on it?” and They said, “yes!” so here they are. John’s an architect and Elena’s a designer.

And here’s John William catching the garter later. Hmmmmmm.

One of my favorite pictures is this one, of the bride and groom leaving… well the first one is them leaving with bubbles…

But this last one is them approaching their get-away vehicle… a pickup truck (only in Mississippi) with a bicycle in the back. Why the bike? Laura is a long distance runner… and Oliver rides his bike with her when she’s running. They’re headed to the beach for their honeymoon… back to the scene of the crime. They were engaged on the beach.

Yeah… me and Laura are definitely beach buddies. Here we are back in 2006 at Seagrove, when she came down to celebrate our son, Jonathan’s, graduation from flight school at Fort Rucker, Alabama. Somehow I knew she’d get back to the beach…

Enjoy a few more photos from the wedding.

Many years, Laura and Oliver!

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