Back to the grind
...and what a refreshing weekend it was. As I wrote last Friday, I was really looking forward to going home to Rogersville for the Fourth of July. And, as usual, the Promised Land came through for me. A brief look at Independence Weekend 2006 in Historic Rog Vegas.
Katharyn came up to Montgomery on Friday afternoon, and she and I had to wade through a suprising level of traffic to get from Montgomery to Birmingham. A trip that normally takes about an hour took upwards of an hour-and-a-half: not to mention the rain that we got to drive through.
Once we finally made it to Birmingham, I had to stop at my apartment complex to pay the rent and to help my old roommate and fraternity brother, Scott Williams (2d Lieut., U.S. Army; A&S '05; Nu Founding Father '03), move some of his furniture out of the apartment and into his moving vehicle. Young Scottie will be movin' on up to Fort Knox for his first posting as a commissioned United States Army officer. Hooah.
SO JESUS WEARS GAP?
So if the Devil Wears Prada, does that mean that Jesus wears Gap? Probably not. But the movie was funny, and I hereby admit (before all to whom these presents shall come) that I liked it. You're welcome, Kat.
One of the things that my home church, which those of you who wait with baited breath for each glorious edition of Annales know, First Baptist Rogersville does well is our annual Fourth of July worship service. It seems that each year, the service gets grander, and the participants become more numerous.
This year was no different, and I think this service is surpassed only by the Christmas pageant and Easter play for sheer numbers of people involved. Besides the usual suspects -- pastor, minister of music, youth minister, Sanctuary choir, and organist -- we had a veritable congregation of special guests worship leaders. Among them:
• American Legion color guard
• American Legion Auxiliary color guard
• Cherokee High School Naval J.R.O.T.C. color guard
• Cherokee High School Concert Choir's Chorale
• Hawkins County Scottish Rite Club's bagpiper
• Brass ensemble, consisting of faculty from Rogersville Middle School, Cherokee High School, and Carson-Newman College
As you can tell, it was quite a production. But even through all the celebrations of our nation's independence and God's providence in establishing the United States, our pastor -- and the rest of our church leadership -- was careful to preface the worship service with a clear presentation of the Good News of Jesus Christ.
After church, we went downstairs for a full-on, old-style Southern Baptist after-church church-wide meal. The old ladies came out of the woodwork to put together a buffet table that was literally (just including the entrees) about twenty to twenty-five feet long. Add in the dedicated dessert table, and you had a massive Baptist food-a-thon with all the necessary accoutrements: fried chicken, honey ham, green beans (cooked properly), sweet potatoes, more casserole than you can shake a stick at, and lots, lots more.
My favorite from the church-wide fellowship hall cramming event was the chocolate brownie banana pudding. I mean, good Lord. Glory, hallelujah.
WE ARE (CLAP, CLAP) CHER-O-KEE
After I rolled myself (and Kat, who has developed quite a taste for Southern cooking, clearly a sign of her developing civilization -- thank you, Vandy) home from church, I went to planning an outing with some of my friends from high school.
We got together at my house and, over a few choice beverages (along with a peculiar yellow drink that my dad was responsible for), caught up with one another. I found out that my good friends Michael Anderson and Megan Price have (finally) gotten engaged, and they, too, will beat Katharyn and I to the altar when they are married on Memorial Day weekend, 2007.
I am very happy for them, and I pray God would bless their engagement and their marriage together. Michael's big news, besides (obviously) that he is getting married, is that he has moved into his house over in Whitesburg, Tennessee. I haven't gotten to see his new house yet, but the word on the street is that it's great.
On Monday, Kat and I generally lounged about the homeplace, enjoying spending time in the beauty and peace of Southern hospitality and mountain charm (i.e., my hometown). We headed over to Crockett Springs Park and cruised through town a few times. My dad got in from the road, and he and mom put together quite a spread that night.
Tuesday was the Fourth, and we (along with the rest of Rogersville), came out for the Independence Day Parade. This year's parade was one of the longest ones I can remember. The parade on the Fourth usually is not as long as the parade that the Chamber of Commerce holds for our Christmas celebration (in December), but this year was different. Normally, the Fourth of July parade lasts about 30-35 minutes, including the fire engines and rescue vehicles at the end.
This year's parade lasted an hour and ten minutes. It was amazing. Every politician from Congressman Bill Jenkins on down to folks running for the city Board of Education. My favorite float was the one for one of our Congressional candidates (though I don't necessarily support him, since I haven't had an opportunity to really get to know the candidates yet) who had a giant boat on his float with the slogan "Roe, Roe, Roe -- your vote" (since his last name is Roe).
After the parade, we went to the traditional cookouts at the various homeplaces around Rogersville and met up with the folks from high school and our social circle. Then it was up to Beach Hill (the home of one of my best friends from growing up, Elizabeth Beach) to watch the fireworks. Kat and I joined my sister, Liz, and others while we watched the "best fireworks in the South."
All in all, a good trip. I'm looking forward to this August, too, when I can see some more of my high school friends that I missed while I was home.
FEELING: Rejuvenated, after a stay in my Mountains
LISTENING TO: Air 1, the positive alternative