Our second full day brought our first event!
My long-suffering family and I had passed through Memphis many times before. Yet there was so much we did not know about this beautiful place. And this is one reason why we love road trips. Getting out on the road is one thing Getting off the road and exploring is another. Exploring with a local guide (or at least being given the lowdown by a native) is the only way to discover this great land of ours.
Greg and Anna Polley along with Anna’s parents, Larry and Mary Wright, invited us to breakfast at a charming restaurant called Brother Juniper’s Cafe. The place is so popular on a Sunday morning that Greg had to get there at 7:30 to reserve our place in line and they didn’t open until 8. In fact it was a very good meal and, more importantly, their coffee mugs were huge. I especially appreciated that.
Being Sunday – Corpus Christi Sunday at that – we stopped back at the Wright-Polley compound to change and then head off to mass.
St. Michael’s in Memphis is the kind of place you must visit if you ever come through this town. I learned a lot of fun facts about Memphis from our hosts. For instance, the city a larger Mardi Gras than New Orleans at one point in history. Also, a series of yellow fever epidemics in the 1870’s nearly wiped this place off the map. Also, the city sits atop a bluff overlooking the Mississippi which explains why Memphis bears little resemblance to her Arkansas neighbors who reside in low lying flood plains that stretch inland for miles. St. Michael’s, in a residential neighborhood, was initially designated the first cathedral church of the Memphis Diocese when the diocese was created in 1970. For some reason that designation was moved to another church. Nevertheless, this building, indeed this parish, was beautiful the liturgy was reverently celebrated.
Time to Grill & Chill!
Our event was well attended. The Polley’s had gone all out on behalf of Christendom Alumni everywhere. Greg, it turns out, is one of those annoying guys who… COOKS! This was a stroke of luck for us because his cooking is quite good. Their home and yard looked amazingly festive with a large dash of Southern charm, the magnolias dripping with Spanish moss, the peat bog still holding the secrets of Padraigh’s unspoken love for the maiden of Inisfr – wait, I think I just got Memphis and Ireland confused. That happens a lot.
The guests arrived, we prayed – not only over our food but in thanksgiving for the blessing of fellowship – and we sat down to a great afternoon. The kids. you ask? It is true that any Christendom gathering is bound to have a disproportionate number of children in attendance. Well, thanks to the makers of a phenomenal product called Bunch-a-Balloons the kids had no problem making fun for themselves.
One of the nicest elements of this event was the diversity of participants. In fact, I would dare say that most of our tour stops would be hard pressed to produce such an array of alumni, online alums, graduate school alums, and Christendom parents!
As the day progressed we began to sense the fruits of why this tour was organized. Christendom alumni, perhaps for the first time in the 40 year history of the college, had come together in a formal way, yet an informal setting, to bond over Warren Carroll’s vision. Tim and Frances (Dewey) Ginski (both class of 2012) were incredibly camera-ready as they sat down (without much choice thanks to a pushy producer), mic’ed up, and gave us an incredible interview. Watch the clip below and enjoy thumbing through the pics of our day.
Tomorrow it’s on to Louisville and a rather large event hosted by the Eidem’s.
God is good!