Traveling by Train
This past weekend I went to Memphis for the wedding of two sweet friends from college. Jordan has been my saviour in music theory, tutoring me through a couple of tough semesters when he really was the only thing between me and failing. Shelby has been a dear friend for a couple of years, especially last year when she and her sister - and her roommate! - transfered to Union after their school hit financial difficulties. I was able to be "behind the scenes" when Jordan finally proposed, and the piece I was part of a quartet to sing at the wedding was one that he wrote and I helped sing for the proposal last fall. (I made cheesecake for the proposal dinner, too.) It was an honour to be asked to sing at the wedding as well!
I took the train because it was cheaper than flying, and that way no one had to drive to Nashville to pick me up. It was fun! Plus, I didn't have to deal with strict baggage restrictions, security checks, or getting to the station two hours early.
There were two stages, from Ann Arbor to Chicago and from Chicago to Memphis - and then in reverse to get home. The first stage was about five hours, more or less a commuter train, so people got on and off more frequently, there was less space, and it went more slowly. On the way down, I was blessed to be in a car with two couples, headed to Chicago for the weekend, who had decided it would be a good idea to bring with them a cooler of beer, a bottle of vodka, and various other strong drinks - and to drink the entire cooler en route to Chicago. Oh my. They were very, very relaxed and happy by the time we got there! Not to mention loud. I have no problem with the drinking of alcohol in reasonable portions, in moderation - but this was a little much. I was glad to be rid of them! The long leg of the trip was overnight; the train had a lot more leg-room, a nice "cafe" or snack car, and was in general very comfortable, but it got COLD at night! Brrr. Next time I'll pack a heavy sweater!
Chicago was really lovely. I had about 3 hours between trains on the way down, 4 on the way back, and so both times I was able to get out of the station and explore the city a bit. The first time I stuck close to the station; I got dinner, then sat in Starbucks and watched the city go by. (People-watching is fascinating!) On the return trip, I had a bit longer and was more confident; I found the opera house and drooled outside of it for a while, then walked down to Michigan Avenue, explored Millennium Park, and discovered the harbour on Lake Michigan. I probably walked two or three miles, but I'd spent so much of the weekend just sitting around that the exercise was welcome! I took a few photos on my phone - and I think I can transfer them to the computer, but I'm not sure yet, so you might have to wait a while ;-)
The wedding itself went off well - Shelby was such a calm, relaxed bride! I ended up with the task of pinning on corsages and boutonnieres, which I would not say is a particularly enviable job - especially when the pins provided are about a half-inch too short - but I did enjoy pinning the groomsmen's, because they were so relaxed and low-key about everything. Really there were very few hitches; the only thing of great note was after the wedding, after the reception, and after most of the cleaning up had been done, the bride's mother thought to take the marriage certificate out of its envelope and examine it. Only to find that the minister had forgotten to sign it! Much hilarity and a certain amount of consternation ensued, and several people tried to contact Jordan; I'm not sure what the eventual upshot was, but in my opinion it was nothing to worry about. They were married in the eyes of God and in front of a whole slew of witnesses: let the minister sign the paper tomorrow!
Whilst in Memphis I stayed with my roommate-to-be, which was a lot of fun as this was the first time I've met her family. They were absolutely lovely - so welcoming! - and I felt like family from the very first. I look forward to seeing more of them this year!
This seems like a very disjointed post and I don't think I've done either the wedding or the travelling justice, but that's about the best I'm going to manage today. I think the heat is affecting my brain!