Monday, May 2, 2011

Daphne; Me

Hey y'all.  Forgot to mention I'd be in Memphis this past weekend at the Beale Street Music Festival.  I was rocking out to so many awesome bands that I didn't really have time to write while I was there, but I did write one story in the Atlanta airport on the way to Memphis involving the royal wedding.  And Sunday night, when I heard that Osama bin Laden had been killed, I thought that the momentous occasion might call for some creative non-fiction.  I hope you enjoy both.

Daphne: Seen at the Atlanta airport at about 8:55 a.m., April 29th, 2011

Why did Aimee's cheerleading competition have to be this weekend?! Ever wince William and Kate announced their engagement, I've been just dying with curiosity and excitement. Who designed the dress? Will she wear flowers or a tiara? What royal titles will they receive? And now I'm stuck with my daughter at the airport watching wedding clips on CNN. It's just not the same!

They couldn't ruin my wedding fun completely, though. When I was a little girl, my mama threw a wedding party for Lady Di and Prince Charles' wedding, and it was the most fun I ever had.  We had tea and shortcakes and ladyfingers, and we strung the Union Jack all up and down the house. Well, you wouldn't believe it, but yesterday I found the very dress my mama wore that day! So I decided to wear it to the airport.

It's light pink, tea length, with gorgeous puffy sleeves and a big bow in the back--not to mention a matching one for my hair! They really don't make dresses like they used to, don't you think? I always loved this dress. Aimee says I look silly. You know, sometimes I don't know how I raised a daughter so different from myself. I wanted to have her help me throw a royal wedding party for Kate and Will so she could share in my fondest memories. But she showed no interest whatsoever! It just broke my heart. It truly did.

Well, it'll be fine. I asked my husband to tape the wedding for me so I can watch every beautiful, romantic moment when I get home. At least I look pretty. At least I'm acknowledging this special wedding day with the respect it deserves.

Me: Tom Lee Park, Memphis at about 10 p.m., May 1st, 2011

I was in Memphis when I found out he was dead. A few of my friends and I were dancing in the fog with a newly-purchased light-up tambourine as Wilco played on stage. The air smelled like beer, cigarettes, barbecue, and the Mississippi River, America's jugular, which was close to bursting its levees. Our feet were caked in its historic mud.

We learned that they had killed Osama bin Laden via Twitter, of all things. When the towers fell, Twitter didn't even exist. A lot can happen in almost ten years.

Hearing the news at an outdoor music festival was surreal, to say the least. The first thing I thought of was the time my friend Leta and I saw the Northern Lights. It wasn't long after 9/11. I was walking Leta back to her house when we noticed that the night sky was filled with ethereal green and pink streaks. The Northern Lights don't typically appear as far south as Illinois, so neither of us had ever seen them before. Our immediate conclusion was that it was some kind of bioterrorism. We ran all the way to Leta's. Her parents just laughed at us, of course. But to my twelve-year-old post-9/11 self, it seemed like a real possibility. Now kids won't have to be afraid of the Northern Lights anymore.

Back at the concert, I had mixed feelings. The happy, lively crowd seemed a sick contrast to all the people who had died over the years just to catch this one man. At the same time, it was an affirmation that the ultimate terrorist had never succeeded and could never have succeeded in breaking our spirit. And even as people cheered when Wilco started playing "Jesus, Etc.," the words of the chorus seemed to mourn all those who died by bin Laden's hand:

"Tall buildings shake
Voices escape singing sad sad songs.
Tuned to chords strung down your cheeks
Bitter melodies turning your orbit around."


  1. I recall the light being more red than anything. I think if we'd seen the iconic colors, we'd have thought northern lights a little more easily.

    I like "America's jugular" and "historic mud" - well done.

  2. I don't know. I'm not sure that I knew the Northern Lights were supposed to be any particular colors at all, at the time...


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