valentines in memphis

Happy February 15th, my beautiful friends! I write to you from a faux maple desk, sipping below average coffee, and wrapped deeply in a circle scarf to fend off the Nashville chill. It’s approximately five o’clock central time. In the past week, I’ve driven through four states, slept in seven different beds, and stopped to pee over 100 times. 

Happy February 15th, my beautiful friends! I write to you from a faux maple desk, sipping below average coffee, and wrapped deeply in a circle scarf to fend off the Nashville chill. It’s approximately five o’clock central time. In the past week, I’ve driven through four states, slept in seven different beds, and stopped to pee over 100 times.  Old friendships have been revisited, new friendships forged, and unique conversations have blossomed over wine varying from that of Walmart’s finest to the smokey surprises from the vineyards of North Eastern Texas.

I have many things to say about this trip, and barely know where to get started. In honor of Cupid, dark chocolate, and every elementary classroom with a shoebox designed for paper cards, I dedicate this post to Valentines. So get ready. There is potential mush.

For some reason, I have always needed an opinion regarding Valentine’s Day, and this opinion has changed more than a mother’s opinion towards Miley Cyrus.  I’ve loved it. I’ve hated it. I’ve been ambivalent. As time passed, I mostly saw it as the day to eat countless amounts of Russell Stover chocolates and then watch Titanic and then attack a pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt and then watch Ten Things I Hate About You until I fell deep into a romantic sugar coma, dusted in dark brown wrappers.  The worst part of me once lied  to a boyfriend when I said didn’t care about Valentine’s Day (when of course I really did), and then proceeded to get sad when boyfriend did nothing.  I was the epitome of difficult, and I am embarrassed to even admit that I felt this way, but I’m pretty positive at least 40% of the female population have done something similar.  Over the next two years, I started to see the immaturity of my ways, and started celebrating the holiday in a more “adult” fashion. Last year I traveled with my college improv team to UNC Chapel Hill for a comedy conference, where we celebrated Valentine’s with moonshine and a cluster of groomsmen in the elevator of the Aloft Hotel.  It was low maintenance and good.

This year was a little different. In the middle of auditions and planning this road trip, I reserved Eros’s favorite day for travel. It was the morning I was to leave Texas, aiming to arrive in Memphis by dinnertime so that I could dine with a friend’s parent, a woman named Maggie who was open to allowing young vagabonds into her home.

The morning of February 14th consisted of painful, elongated hugs from a boy who, six months ago, served me Ketel One out of a mason jar on a humid, September night.  I will never look at a Shell Gas Station the same way, nor 70 degree weather in the middle of February. (I hear Virginia got 14 inches of snow ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..)

Maggie from Memphis welcomed me with open arms, ginger tea, Trader Joe’s curry over blue rice, and a cozy attic bedroom. We talked about California, Dr. Oz, her handsome son, and the lifespan of the red onion. I brought some of those famous Russell Stover chocolates, which we reserved for dessert on the couch.  Her home was warm and loved, and though I knew almost nothing about her before my arrival, we found a plethora of things to discuss.  Maggie is retired, but still works as a French teacher at the local community college. She told me about her students over our breakfast, a lovely dish of morning fried rice that had been concocted using the left over blue stuff from dinner the night before. Blue rice is gluten-free, and contains more antioxidants than a tribe of a cannibalistic blueberries.  And it’s delicious.

Traveling is multi-faceted. As I make my way on this trek across the southeast, I have continuously indulge in various aspects of the culture.  In Memphis, I ate the BBQ, visited Graceland, and briefly mosied through Beale Street. I sampled a praline in Nashville and listened to country music on Broadway (more on this later).  This country offers an enormous, almost intimidating, amount of culture to see, to hear, and to taste, but I’m beginning to understand that some of the most beautiful exploration of culture is illustrated within people. We’re all weirdly little beautiful designed road maps of everywhere we’ve been, everything we’ve tasted, and all of the unique moments that have made us our silly little selves.  We can see all there is to see, travel the world and taste the wine from Spain and Northern California, but I think the most genuine magic arises between the lovers, the strangers, and the friends.

Okay, mushiness over. Instead I will leave with my own Valentine’s Day regret, and it is that I did not eat this donut.

Maggie’s homemade chicken curry was a pretty good substitute.