Saturday, June 3, 2017

A Trip to Alabama

I've never been to Alabama before nor had I really thought of it as a destination for a vacation. However, when a close friend invited us to her wedding in Montgomery, Alabama how could we refuse? And what a wonderful few days we had in the warm and balmy to hot and muggy South.

A few images come to mind when I think of Alabama: Selma.

Image result for edmund pettus bridge selma alabama

Image result for edmund pettus bridge selma alabama

We did drive to Selma one day to find it much smaller than I imagined. The population today is slightly over 20,000 people, with a median household income is $21,635. The pride of the place in history that Selma holds is very evident. One local gentleman where we ate lunch struck up a conversation with us. When he found out that we had driven from Montgomery, he said, "So you drove over the bridge."  His tone of voice dropped to near a whisper, almost prayer like. Yes, we drove over the bridge.


In Montgomery, we were asked over and over if we had been to Spectre. For those of you, like me, I had to be reminded of the Tim Burton move, "Big Fish." The movie set of the made up town of Spectre is just a few minutes drive from Montgomery. It sits on an island with a gate fee of $3 per person. And after a half day of helping the soon-to-be wedding couple in their sunny back yard, we were ready for an air conditioned drive to a country setting. 

Of course this is a movie set and the buildings were built for exterior viewing with no interiors. Since the movie was made in 2003, the buildings are pretty dilapidated, but the setting is charming and there was a cool breeze off the lake and a great herd of goats running wild in and out of the buildings. 

Angelica and this little goat (now named Karly by Angelica) became best friends.

The Wedding

This was a beautiful occasion joining two amazing people in a ceremony/celebration unlike any I've witnessed before. The backyard gathering of family and friends before the wedding was casual with food and drink. It was great to meet the friends of Adrienne and Russell's who came from all over to see them get married and we mingled and chatted until the sun fell below the trees to shade the yard. 

Then the wedding ceremony began with poems and meaningful, personal vows. Tears flowed and a community of witnesses felt honored to be a part of this union of two special individuals.

After the ceremony, we marched, yes marched, behind a police car and a brass band playing "When the Saints Go Marching In" to the reception which was held in a gorgeous private home nearby.

The Civil Rights Memorial Center

On our last day, we returned to the history of the Civil Rights Movement with a visit to the Civil Rights Memorial Center. Because Adrienne and Russell both work for the Southern Poverty Law Center, the wedding attendees were given a couple of hours to visit the center privately. This memorial was designed by Maya Lin who also designed the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington D.C.

This memorial honors those who died during the Civil Rights Movement. Learning more about the people and the events from 1954 to 1968 is educational for the young and old alike. And as the signage says, "the march continues."