May 29

Like most dates on the yearly calendar, if you look back through history at May 29 you find a lot of interesting things happened.

For example, on this date in 526 Antioch was struck by an earthquake that may have killed as many as 250,000 people.

In 1453, Mehmed II conquered Constantinople, effectively ending the Byzantine Empire.

Rhode Island became a state on this day in 1790.

Bing Crosby recorded his definitive version of “White Christmas” on May 29, 1942.

And 1993, Jose Canseco –an Outfielder/DH by trade– pitched for the Texas Rangers (and injured his arm…) during a meaningless 15-1 loss.

Yes, there are a lot of things that have happened on May 29 through history. And there’s one more memorable thing that happened that year Canseco pitched. Only it wasn’t memorable for its boneheadedness. Instead, it’s one of the best moments of my life:

On May 29 1993, Dennise and I got married.

We got hitched at 4 pm, at Highland Park UMC, where I served on staff at the time. It was a great wedding attended by a whole lot of folks. So many folks we’re sure we never saw them all that day. We had a great reception over at the Hughes-Trigg Student Center. And afterwards, it was off in a blaze off bird seed (rice wasn’t permitted…).

It had been a whirlwind couple of weeks. Within the span of less than three weeks, Dennise finished her final law exams, we moved our separate possessions into our first house over in “Little Forest Hills,” she graduated from law school, officially started her first job, and we got married.

Oh yeah…and when that was done, it was time for her to study for the bar.

Besides that, nothing really happened that first year.

smiley_wink

So after that whirlwind of activity, we got to the end of our reception, and realized we really didn’t know what we were going to do next. We were hungry, actually, didn’t have plans for dinner, and could really use some time to decompress. So, we drove back to Highland Park, picked up our car, and coaxed a few friends to join us at
the Blue Goose, down on Greenville. (Including one very confused friend of mine –who shall remain nameless– and who was arriving for the at the church –she thought the wedding was at 7– just as we were returning from the reception. We invited to her to go with us too…)

Along with several of my oldest friends in the world, we went out, had Tex-Mex, a couple Margaritas, and just relaxed.

It was awesome.

Today, as we celebrate 14-years of marriage, we did it again. We piled Maria into the Prius with us, and made the sojourn out of the wilds of North Dallas, back to East Dallas.

We dined at the Blue Goose. We drove up and down the streets of our old “hood,” remembering coffeehouses and clubs that I’d played at, and parks where we used to take walks. We drove past the log house, just for kicks. (We have new renters moving in this week…) We drove past the house on Huntley, where we lived when Maria was born.

Then, we drove over to “Little Forest Hills,” to the first place we lived together…the house on Groveland. Which meant, of course, that we drove past White Rock Lake, and remembered all the walks, picnics, and bike rides we used to take there.

All along the way, we kept a running tour-guide-like narration going for Maria, telling her the meaning and memory behind almost every building in Lakewood, Lower Greenville, Junius Heights, and “Little Forest Hills.”

She was singularly unimpressed. Actually, I got that she was very impressed. She’s just getting to the age when it’s no longer cool to let your parents know you’re impressed.

BTW, I’ve found in recent years that May 29 is also a very fine day for others to get married too. Several of my musicians friends have gotten married on the 29th. Tom and Carrie did just a year ago. And Dave Stoddard and his wife got married on this day a year after us. (Congrats on the adoption, by the way…)

All in all, it’s been a really good 14-years. I think actually seeing all our old haunts not only reminded us how both we and they have changed, but also about the ground we’ve covered in those years.

In new the movie “Rocky Balboa,” Rocky is now in his fifties and still lives in South Philly. He runs an Italian restaurant, where his boxing memorabilia lines the walls. The “rounds” he makes now are table-to-table, sharing old war stories of his title fights with the diners. One night, Rocky’s walking those old familiar streets, and muses “I think if you live in a place long enough, you become that place.”

After more than 40 years here in Dallas it certainly feels more and more that way to me. So many streets –and four or five neighborhoods now– are filled with so many memories. I find that, on every street I drive with regularity these days, there is not only a present-day meaning, but also –if I let it– a memory from childhood, high school, graduate school, or early married life. These streets have layers of meaning now, like an old Redwood tree.

I drive down Belt Line in North Dallas, and I remember not only driving that road last week, but I can also see the ghost of the high-school-me, tooling around in my 65 Mustang, gunning that sweet and powerful V-8 engine, and blaring “Hotel California” out the windows. I make the commute to Northaven, in Preston Hollow, and suddenly I’m with Kevin and John –in the days before our voices changed and we gave girls a second thought– and we’re at the Royal Lane 7-11 buying baseball cardst. I can almost smell the bubble gum.

I go to East Dallas, into Lakewood Hardware, and can remember the first repairs I did on our new house. I drive down Swiss, and remember how we used to take walks with my sister, Dianne, when she lived just blocks away and Maria was in a baby stroller. I drive down Huntley and remember how both Maria and the music for my first CD were born there in that house near the corner of Gaston. I drive down Worth Street and see the log house, and remember wonderful times. And even though I can no longer imagine living there in the right now, there is still something about that house, and all of East Dallas, that will always speak more to who Dennise and I are than North Dallas ever can.

Many ghosts of friends and family, no longer present, still haunt each corner. Most of them are friendly ghosts, and very familiar ones.

The last 14-years of these memories have been spent with Dennise. And it was great to drive around tonight and remember all the ghosts together.

As Maria half-listened, admittedly the stories weren’t nearly as monumental as many of the other world events I mentioned. But the world certainly changed for us that day. Long after our family’s forgotten Jose Canseco, we’ll remember May 29, 1993.

To paraphrase Rocky, I think if you live with a person long enough, you become more that person too. And that’s a good thing. It’s something that only comes through the living of not just one year, or two, but year after year.

It was good to re-remember some of those places that had been –and still are– important to us. And above all, important to remember just how much we still mean to each other today.

Happy Anniversary, D.

Love,

E

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Eric Folkerth is a minister, musician, author and blogger. He has been Senior Pastor of Northaven United Methodist Church in Dallas, Texas since 2001. During his tenure, church membership has grown almost 30 percent, and a completely new church facility (sanctuary and education building) has been constructed. Northaven is a leading progressive Christian congregation in the Southwest. Northaven is an eclectic collection of gay and straight families, artists, musicians, theater folks, academic theologians, lawyers and judges (go figure), socially conscious community activists, people who don't "check their brain at the door," and a wide array of others who either see it as their "last chance" inside the "institutional church," or their first trip back in decades. Eric is an avid blogger and published author.  Eric is also an award-winning singer-songwriter, who performs throughout Texas and the Southwest. He's an engaging live performer whose first CD was released in 2000. His songs have won honorable mention in both the Billboard and Great American song contests; and he's been a finalist in the 5th Street Festival and South Florida Folk Festival songwriter competitions. Eric is also a leader of Connections, a unique band comprised of United Methodist clergy and layfolk from throughout North Texas. Connections performs "cover shows" of artists like Dan Fogelberg, Chicago, Eagles, Doobie Brothers, Billy Joel, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor and others. Their shows draw crowds of between 300 and 1,000 fans, and they have raised more than $240,000 dollars for worthy charities. Eric has led or co-led hundreds of persons on mission trips around the globe, to places such as Mexico, Haiti, Russia, and Nepal. He has worked with lay persons to build ten homes, and one Community Center, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Dallas. He's a popular preacher, and often tackles challenging issues of social justice in his writings and sermons. His wife, Judge Dennise Garcia, is a State District Judge for Dallas, County. As judge of the 303rd Family District Court, she consistently gets high ratings from area lawyers, and was named "best judge" by The Dallas Observer. First elected in 2004, she was the first Latina ever elected to a county-wide bench in Dallas County. She was re-elected for a third term in 2010. They have the world's best daughter, Maria, and an incredible dog, Daisy. (As always, if you like this post, then "like" this on Facebook by clicking the box below, so others can see too...)

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