This is a post written exactly one year ago, when my daughter was beginning her freshman year at New York University.  Next time, I’ll describe our adventures in getting her to NYU for her sophomore year.

Ten minutes after her grandmother and I hugged my daughter goodbye and left her  alone in the massive Third Avenue North freshman dorm at New York University in Manhattan, I opened my purse to discover that I had some of her important documents.

We were already in a cab bound for our hotel, and she didn’t need the documents immediately, so I promised to take them to her the next evening, after she returned from the day’s Welcome Week activities at Madison Square Garden and after I finished watching the day matches at the US Open.

Now, according to my son, whose tennis lessons have cost me the equivalent of a Mercedes, I “suck” at tennis. But I’m quite possibly the best in the world at watching tennis, especially in beautiful weather. It was a spectacular day. John Isner, the former University of Georgia star, won his match. Rafael Nadal and his muscles meanered past me as I sat eating lunch. The perpetually orange Nick Bollettieri hit on me but  backed away quickly when he realized I was not interested in becoming wife number nine.  I saw James Blake take the first two sets of his match.

At the end of Blake’s second set, my daughter called to say that I needed to vacate my expensive seat at the US Open immediately to go search my hotel room for her lost credit card.

“But I straightened up the room after you left, and I didn’t see your credit card.”

“Just go look, Mom.”

“Can I wait until James Blake is finished playing?”

“I’m really worried that my card got stolen. Please just go look now.”

I left the US Open, warily trudging past the huge signs warning that there was no re-entry after I exited the grounds. And of course, as soon as I passed the point of no re-entry, I got a text from my daughter saying she’d found the credit card.

But she still needed her opening week schedule and vouchers. So when the shuttle from the Open dropped me off at my hotel, I jumped into a cab and told the driver to take me to Third and Eleventh.

I got to her dorm, walked into the lobby, and called to tell her I was there. She came downstairs, took her papers, and thanked me.

“Do you want me to take you to dinner?” I asked, fully expecting her to jump at the invitation. Her response brought back memories of a little squirrel I hadn’t thought about in years.

When we were teenagers, my brother, Beau, found a baby squirrel in the woods. He brought it home, and my mother helped him bottle feed the tiny, hairless rodent, much to the consternation of our dachshund, Tubbs. It was against the natural order of things, heretical even, for a dachshund’s family to harbor a squirrel, the bane of every dachshund’s existence.

Beau named the squirrel Sammy, and he grew into a fine-looking adult squirrel who seemed to love living in our screened porch. He spent his days jumping from the porch swing to the screened sides of the porch and climbing up and down the screened walls.He loved my mom and my brother, perching on their shoulders to eat and cocking his cute little head sideways when they talked to him.

But one day my parents broke the sad news to Beau that Sammy was grown. It was time to for him to make his way in the wild. They took the squirrel outside to the woods behind out house, and they set him down. The second his little feet hit the ground, Sammy took off.

So yesterday when I offered to feed her, my daughter tilted her head to the side, considering my invitation. And then she said, “Well, I already kind of had a papaya smoothie, and my friends are waiting for me upstairs. So I guess not.” I hugged her goodbye and watched her disappear back into her dorm.

And like Sammy the squirrel, my girl never looked back.

I used to have a friend named Butch who would stand next to my car in the parking lot of Starbuck’s every weekday morning around 8:00 telling me stories while I waited for my older daughter to get her morning mocha on the way to school.

Butch was in his 70s, and he had some unbelievable stories.  In his life, he’s been a crop duster, a long-haul trucker, an air traffic controller, and a sheriff’s deputy.  He also claimed to have been married to “the meanest woman in New Orleans,” a woman he said was a direct descendent of Marie Laveau, the voodoo queen.

He was also a slightly lecherous old guy with failing eyesight.  I know because he never failed to tell me I had the prettiest legs he’d ever seen on a woman.

My daughter started driving herself to school, and I lost touch with Butch.  But I’ll never forget one particular story he told me.  One day after work at the air traffic tower in Memphis, he said, he and his buddy stopped by a little bar for a beer.  A man dressed as a chauffeur came into the bar and ordered several hamburgers and a six-pack of beer.

Butch looked at the man and said, “Is Elvis in the car?”

The man laughed and said, “Yeah, he is.  Go on out and talk to him.  He’d probably enjoy  your company.”

“So we went out and sat in the back of that limo and told Elvis stories while he ate his hamburgers,” Butch said, adding, “This was in his fat days, of course.”

They apparently shot the breeze with The King for a good long while because when he finally made it home that evening, his wife, the meanest woman he’d ever known, snarled, “Where have you been?”

Butch paused in telling the story to say to me, “Me and that woman was great at oral sex.  Every day, she’d pass me in the hall and say, ‘F*@k you.’  And I’d say, ‘F*@ you’ right back.”

Then he looked me in the eye, grinned, and delivered this punch line:  “I told her I’d been talking to Elvis.”

I love that story.  And while I can’t claim to ever have talked to Elvis, I have been listening to him.  I have satellite radio in my car, and I adore the Elvis channel.  Not long ago, my son, who was stunned that there’s a channel that plays songs by only one man, asked, “How many songs did Elvis write?’

“As far as I know, none,” I answered.  “He just sang everyone else’s songs better than they could.”

The past few days, I’ve been wishing I had a smidgen of Marie Laveau’s  powers.  Not the mean part, though.  The magical voodoo part.   You see, I’m flying to New York this week to deliver my daughter back to New York University for her sophomore year.  Her little sister began her freshman year at Georgia State University this week.  And my son has chosen to live with his father in Atlanta.

My recent health scare has made it obvious to me that I needed to change some things in my life.  I need to be in Florida, where I feel better and where I am completely free to write a new story for my life.  But I miss my kids, and I find myself wishing I could be in several places at once so that I can extend my story as their mother just a tiny bit longer.

And that was on my mind when Elvis sang  “Bridge Over Troubled Water”  in my car this morning.  These particular words got to me:

Sail on Silver Girl, sail on by

Your time has come to shine

All your dreams are on their way

See how they shine

If you need a friend

I’m sailing right behind

Like a bridge over troubled water

I will ease your mind.

“I was talking to Elvis.”  That’s a good story.

I clearly remember the day when I realized I might get more use out of my college diploma if it were a wet wipe.

My son was almost three, and his big sisters were seven and five. We were living in the basement of our house while the main level was being remodeled. I checked to make sure all three kids were engrossed in Rugrats and then jumped into the shower.

When I turned the water off, I heard Roger, the man who was working on the house, yelling at me from the top of the stairs. “You gotta come up here now!” he hollered.

I pulled on a pair of jogging shorts and an ratty old Jimmy Buffett t-shirt with the words “I’m the woman to blame.” My hair was still dripping from the shower as I raced up the stairs to see what was wrong with Roger.

“You gotta come quick,” he yelled from the garage. I ran outside to find him and my kid  standing next to my new red Ford Expedition. A can of white spray paint lay on the ground, and there was a line of spray paint all the way down the side of the vehicle. The gas cap cover was open, and the entire inside of the little compartment was painted white.

“I pulled into the driveway, and he was holding the can,” Roger said. “I asked him, ‘Did you do that,’ and he said, ‘No, my mama did it.'”

I turned to my son. “You painted my car and then lied to Roger about it?” I asked.

“No. I didn’t do it. Roger did it,” the kid brazenly lied.

I was pretty sure he hadn’t been sniffing paint thinner, but obviously there was some kind of lapse in his mental capacities.  “Dude, I am going to deal with you later. And you are in so much trouble, you have no idea what is about to happen to you,” I said, picking him up and buckling him into his car seat in the Expedition.

While Roger watched my son to make sure he didn’t get out of the car and finish the paint job, I ran downstairs, threw on a pair of flip flops, and herded the girls upstairs and into the car. Lyla paused to throw a fit because he’d also taken the spray paint to her PowerWheels jeep.

I drove like a bat out of hell to Shorty’s, a car wash and detailing shop a couple of miles from the house. I put the car in park, threatened the kids that they would die and Santa would never again come to our house if they got out of their carseats, and ran inside begging for someone to come quick.

A young teenage guy followed me out to the car. He whistled when he saw the paint. “Geez, lady, what happened?”

“My kid painted the car.” The teenager started laughing. He walked back into the shop and came out with a couple jugs of Goof-Off and some rags. He started at the front end of the car, and I started at the back. An hour and over $100 later, the car was back to normal except for the inside of the gas compartment. I left the paint there as a souvenir.

My son still remembers painting the car. And he still remembers his punishment for painting the car.

I remember walking back into the house, looking at my college diploma hanging on the wall, and thinking that on that day, a couple of old paint rags and a can of Goof-Off had been more useful.

I got a speeding ticket, and  I’m offended.  Not about actually getting a ticket because I pretty much deserved it.  I’m offended by the actual ticket.

I was making my way through the town of McRae, Georgia, which is on Georgia’s “High-Tech Information Corridor,” a boring piece of highway that stretches for 60 miles with absolutely no cell phone service.  A girl can get bored with no one to talk to, so I was listening to Jimmy Buffett sing Love and Luck – “With a little love and luck you will get by . . .” – and looked up to see blue lights in my rear view mirror.

According to the polite but plump young officer, I was going “sempty-figh in a fitty-figh.”  Never mind that I was following a pickup truck with rural Georgia tags that must have been going “etty in a fitty-figh.”  He had a Georgia tag, and mine was from Florida.

Laverne, my eight-pound dachshund, started barking the second I pulled over.  And that prompted my three-legged Australian Shepherd, Pancho, who believes that his job is to herd dachshunds, to pick her up by her collar.  And that prompted her to begin snarling and baring her teeth, which made him do the same.  My car sounded like Michael Vick’s backyard when the officer approached it.

The officer peered into the back of my SUV and obviously decided the scene did not merit dog-fighting charges.

No such luck with the speeding ticket, though.

Did I mention that I deserved a ticket?  I was speeding.  My father has been telling me for years that I deserve a ticket, ever since the time he followed me from Destin, Florida, to Atlanta and couldn’t catch his breath for a whole week.

In fact, I once left Atlanta for St. Augustine a good 90 minutes after my friend Fran, a government employee who obeys all the rules.  In my defense, Fran stopped for lunch and a potty break, while I opted for an apple and a NASA astronaut diaper.  But I still caught up to her on I-10 about 20 miles west of Jacksonville.  So yes, I deserved a ticket.  But, still, I didn’t deserve the way the officer wrote it.

I’d also like to point out that I’ve gotten out of a ticket or two in my day.  I’m not saying it had anything to do with my demeanor or my appearance.  I’ve never cried when an officer approached my car.  And I’ve never offered to introduce a policeman to Mboob.  I’m just saying officers have taken pity on me before and waved me on with a smiling but stern suggestion that I slow down.  But on this particular day, still in a state of disbelief at having to have a biopsy on my shitty right titty, I rolled out of bed, threw the dogs in the car, and took off.  In other words, the Georgia humidity had my hair looking like Medusa herself had given me a blowout.  And seeing those blue lights made me start sweating like a whore in church.  So the young officer was not inclined to let me off with a warning.

But still.  The way he wrote the ticket was just plain offensive.

He took my license and went back to his vehicle and wrote it out.  He brought it back to me, and I signed it, and went on my way.  It wasn’t until I attempted to pay the ticket by logging onto EZCOURTPAY.COM  and entering the ticket number and my birthdate in the space indicating “offender’s birthdate” that I noticed what he’d written.

According to the officer, my hair color was “brown.”

Brown, my ass.  I paid a small fortune for this blonde.  More than the stupid ticket cost, actually.

The judge is a woman.  I’m wondering if I showed up in court with my three dachshunds, the three-legged Australian shepherd, a copy of my suspicious mammogram, and the latest receipt from getting my hair done maybe she would take pity on me.

Or maybe I could just slow down.

My niece, Kate, is five. She’s the youngest of my sister’s four children and also the youngest of my parents’ nine grandchildren. Kate often makes me think of this nursery rhyme:

“There was a little girl who had a little curl
Right in the middle of her forehead;
When she was good, she was very, very good,
And when she was bad she was horrid.”

Not that Kate is ever bad, much less horrid. But she does have that little curl in the center of her forehead, and on top of that, her curls are red, which I think helps a little bit to explain why Kate never has and never will take crap off of anyone.

The other person in our family like that is my dad, who was the pastor of a very large church for more than 30 years.

During the early days of the church, someone hung a cartoon on the door to his office. It depicted a man with his behind missing and looking as if it had literally been chewed off. The caption read, “Nothing serious, just a little chat with the boss.” Everyone who passed through the office laughed about it, and that cartoon hung on his door for years. No one — and I mean no one — ever had the nerve to cross the man.

My brother, sister, and I certainly never had the nerve to dispute him. We three children gave them nine grandchildren, and the first eight never had the nerve to talk back to him.

But then came Kate.

When Kate was three, the whole family managed to spend Spring Break together in St. Augustine, Florida. And for the first time since my sister had four children in less than three years, the whole family went to a nice restaurant together. We had a lovely meal. The children behaved, the adults shared a couple of bottles of J. Lohr Cabernet, and we ate steamed oysters while watching the sunset over the Intercoastal Waterway.

After dinner, as we made our way to the parking lot, Kate’s brother, Joe, picked up a stick and started swinging it at two of his cousins. Dad saw what was happening and moved to grab the stick from Joe, ordering in his sternest “chat-with-the-boss” voice, “Joe, don’t you do it!” And as we have done our whole lives, my sister, brother, and I stopped to watch him take care of the matter.

But Kate was having none of it. She saw him heading for her brother and apparently did not like the look on his face. She reached down and grabbed two handfuls of the parking lot sand and threw them at him. Then this fiery little curly-headed, red-haired powerhouse yelled at the top of her lungs, “You shut up, you scoopid!”

Dad stopped, surprised to hear Kate screaming at him.  And then my mom, all ninety-five pounds and five feet of her, threw herself in between the two of them and yelled at my dad, “You’re bullying a little kid. You go get in the car right now!

And he did.

That is not the man I grew up with. Or at least, it’s not how I perceived the man as I was growing up in his house.

This man was stopped by two furious females with a combined weight of 117 pounds. I was stunned. And so were my brother, his wife, my sister, her husband, and most of his grandchildren.

What happened? Is the Type-A personality permanently gone, washed away with retirement like the sandcastles we build on the beach? Or has he simply mellowed, maybe as a result of trading the coffee for cabernet?

Or did he finally, after all these years, have a little chat with someone who hadn’t gotten the memo that he was supposed to be the boss?

My cuckoo clock stopped working. It’s been hanging on the same wall for several years, working just fine, until one day when it just stopped. There are no batteries to replace, since a cuckoo clock is wound by pulling on the weighted cords.

The instructions that came with it are in German, which made it difficult for me to diagnose the problem. But I gathered from the pictures that it’s very important that the clock be correctly balanced, both horizontally and vertically. Looking at it from the side, I decided the vertical balance might be off, so I stuck a folded business card behind it. And when that didn’t help, I folded the card again. Still didn’t work.

The pendulum on the clock has a weight on it that can be adjusted up and down. The higher up the weight goes, the faster the clock ticks; move it lower, and the clock moves slower. Again, balance is the key.

Fooling around with that pendulum brought back memories of the metronome that stood on the piano when I was a kid. Now, I never asked to have a metronome. I hated the thing because it was very good at pointing out how rhythmically and musically challenged I was. And that would have been fine if my parents had heeded the metronome’s warning about my lack of musical talent. Instead, that damn metronome announced to the world with every tick-tock, tick-tock that the only way I’d ever make it to Carnegie Hall would be as a paying customer or a ticket taker. And that meant I needed to practice harder.

Here’s the thing about metronomes and cuckoo clocks: if the pendulum swings two ticks to the left, then it’s going to swing two tocks to the right. It’s the law of pendulums that they must swing the same distance in one direction as they do in the other. And if, for some reason, that doesn’t happen, then the thing is broken.

I think we’re all pendulums, to be honest. In the past few years, I’ve caught up with old friends, and I can’t think of a single exception to the pendulum rule. The people who were wild in high school and college have swung exactly that far in the opposite direction, especially when it comes to how they’re raising their own kids. The straight-laced, zipped up kids from way back when (including my very own self) have turned into irreverent smartasses. And the ones who were never too extreme – well, their pendulums still aren’t swinging out so wide in either direction. They were balanced then, and they’re still that way.

Balance is everything, it turns out. Or as my friend Grant (aka Sister Louisa) says, “I know there’s a balance; I see it when I swing past.”

My clock still isn’t working. And I’m thinking about not getting it fixed. Because seeing that pendulum hanging there completely still is a reminder that maybe a little tempering of the wide swings in my life wouldn’t be such a bad thing. Maybe I could use a little balance.

Because minus that balance, of course, one might rightfully be called cuckoo.

In addition to heat capable of melting the Purple Passion polish right off a girl’s toes, July in the South brings some of the greatest gustatory blessings of the year – fresh blackberries, watermelons, and peaches.

Two weeks ago, I stopped at a little roadside stand a few miles from my grandmother’s home.   I had passed up several other stands in favor of this one because it’s special — the peaches at this particular stand come straight from the orchard and are never refrigerated.  Which means that if they had been the fruit hanging on the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, they themselves would have been the seduction, and snakes would never have been implicated in the crime.

But because they’re not refrigerated, their skin is as delicate as that of a shedding albino ball python.  And they must be eaten within two or three days of being picked.  Refrigerating them, of course, would zap the sweetness right out of them and turn them into the tasteless balls of mush sold in grocery stores.

I pulled my car into the gravel lot at the corner of two country highways and grabbed my wallet out of my purse.  One woman was in line ahead of me, and I could tell as I approached the stand that the lady selling the peaches was eager to be rid of her.  The woman was looking over every basket and complaining that they all had bruised fruit in them.  Then she demanded that the seller take the best fruit from several different baskets to satisfy her.

The baskets of 12-15 peaches are $8.  For that price, you take a few bruised ones.

The seller, exasperated, shifted a few peaches between different baskets and then said, “These were picked yesterday.  They’re not refrigerated, which means they’re very delicate and will have a few bruises.  This is the best I can offer.  Do you want them?”

The woman in front of me huffed and puffed and handed over her $8.  Then she stomped away, got in her Suburban and made sure to kick up some gravel as she left the lot.

The seller turned to me, asking which basket I preferred.  “They look so delicious.  I’ll take whichever one you think is best,” I said, smiling and sliding my money toward her.  She looked around, selected a basket, and began transferring the fruit to a paper bag.

“Oh, this one’s bruised.  Let me see if I can find you a nicer one,” she said, pushing a peach to the side and grabbing a firmer one from another basket.  This happened many times, so that by the time she had filled up my bag, there were nine bruised peaches off to the side.  She took my $8 and smiling, said, “I can’t sell you those bruised ones, but I can give them to you.  Would you like to HAVE them?”

Yes.  Yes, I would, I said.

The secret to getting nine free peaches, you see, is in simply being as sweet as those peaches are.

And after you procure peach heaven, you drive the bag straight to your grandmother, who, at 85 years old and facing serious medical issues, is just delicate as those precious pieces of fruit. And you enjoy every bit of both, because you know that neither is going to last very long.

Laverne and Shirley, my dachshunds, were intrigued – but not at all impressed – by weekend reports of two extreme sports involving hot dogs.

The first was the annual Fourth of July Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island.  Joey “Jaws” Chestnut won the “mustard belt” for the fourth year in a row by downing 54 dogs in 10 minutes.  But then former champ Takeru “The Tsunami” Kobayashi, who was not competing because of a contract dispute with his sponsor, stormed the stage and was arrested after wrestling with the police.

“I’d storm the stage for all-you-can-eat hotdogs,” Shirley, my dachshund with an eating disorder, said of the footlong controversy.   “And I could eat more than 54 hotdogs in 10 minutes.  Sign me up for next year.”

The other was the story of a Russian dachshund named Boniface who is learning to scuba dive.

“It’s Scuba Doo!”  I laughed.  “Get it?  Scooby Doo?”  They rolled their eyes and asked to see pictures of Boniface in his scuba gear.

“He looks like he’d rather be eating hotdogs,” Laverne noted.

I read more of the story and told my pups, “Apparently, Boniface was greatly distressed every time his owner went on a dive.  He would run back and forth on the shore whining until his owner surfaced.”

Looking at Laverne, I continued, “You do that when you see me pack my suitcase.  What extreme sport would you take up just to be with me, Laverne?  Rock climbing?  Shoe shopping?    Or I could enter you in the weiner dog races!  We could all be on the Tonight Show!” I said, already thinking about what I would say to Jay when Laverne won.

Realistically, I knew that Shirley, at her weight, didn’t have a possum’s chance at a coonhound convention of winning that race.

“Take up competitive hotdog eating, and we’re right there with you.  For that, we’d  let you dress us in scuba gear or put us in those humiliating hotdog bun costumes.”

Yep.  Man’s best friend.

The upcoming July 4 holiday reminds me of a little girl I met two summers ago at the Georgia State Tennis Tournament in Macon.

My kid was warming up for a match, his second of the day. It was late in the afternoon and hot enough that I could feel my white-girl skin crisping up like a batch of the Colonel’s Extra-Crispy Recipe.

I sat my stadium chair in the six inches of shade provided by an anemic magnolia tree anticipating the first serve of the match when a little girl planted herself between me and the court.

“My name is America,” she announced.

“Hi, America,” I said, smiling and tilting my head from left to right to see the action. I hoped she would get the hint that she was in my way.

“Today’s my birthday. I’m six.”

“Well, happy birthday! Are you going to have a party?” I asked, still trying to see around her.

“Uh huh. Guess what?”

“What?” I responded. Then, “That’s it, man!” I said, encouraging my kid when he won the point, my annoyance mounting as I exaggerated my efforts to see around the little girl.

“The night I was conceived, my parents were in New York City. And the next day was September 11, 2001.”

She had my attention.  I stopped trying to see around her. The child had just told me about the night she was CONCEIVED!

Now, I have conceived three children in my lifetime. And you know what? While I have a pretty good idea of where they were conceived, I’m not exactly sure about the when part. And you know what else? I’ve never discussed the where or my guesses as to the when with my kids. Because ewwww! Who tells their kid about the night she was conceived?

Collecting myself, I said, “I’ll bet that’s why you’re named America.”

“Um, no.”

And then she skipped away, leaving me to think that little America had just redefined “shock and awe.”

Last night, my friends Becky and Clay were married in Savannah’s Forsyth Park.   It was a beautiful ceremony in front of the beautiful 150-year-old fountain framed with massive live oaks that dripped with Spanish moss.

Savannah, you might remember, is the setting for John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, a non-fiction “novel” about events in the 1980s surrounding the murder of Danny Hansford, a local male prostitute.  The title alludes to the hoodoo belief that midnight is the period between the time for good magic and the time for evil magic.

Thirty minutes before the wedding, I checked into the historic Forsyth Park Inn, a 1890s Victorian home with a history that can curl toenails. And while I was changing into my dress for the wedding, the Inn’s concierge told my parents that history. It was the home Aaron and Lois Churchill, who had made a fortune in shipping and manufacturing.

The Churchills were childless until a young girl named Lottie came to live with them.  She called them “Uncle Aaron” and “Aunt Lo,” and the three were extremely happy together in the beautiful mansion on Forsyth Park.

When Lottie was a teenager, Lois’ sister, who had become very ill, also came to live with the Churchills.  She and Lottie formed a fast friendship, and Lottie considered Anna the big sister she’d never had.

One day, Lottie walked in on Aaron and Anna in a passionate embrace.  Determined that Anna would not ruin the idyllic family life she’d enjoyed with the Churchills, Lottie poisoned Anna.

Grief-stricken over her sister’s death, Lois finally told Lottie the truth:  Anna was Lottie’s mother.  The Churchills had taken Lottie to raise as a young child because Anna had been unable to care for her.

The news devastated Lottie.  In fact, she went insane and spent the rest of her life in a mental institution.  And of course, her ghost is said to haunt the Forsyth Park Inn.

It’s positively Oedipal, isn’t it?   In the lust and murder and downright salacious departments, the ancient Greeks have nothing on Savannah. Personally, I think the heat has something to do with it.  The temperature when Becky walked down the aisle had cooled to 95 degrees.

After the wedding, we returned to the hotel and asked the concierge where we could get a glass of wine.  He directed us across Forsyth Park to the Mansion, a Thomas Kessler hotel and restaurant that had once been a funeral home. Now, the kitchen is where the morgue was, and the separate dining areas are where all the viewing rooms used to be.

“Kessler hotels are known, of course, for the exterior not matching the interior,” he said.  “You’ll see how the exterior is brick and somewhat subdued.”  Then, arching his eyebrows, he added, “But – the interior is  re-DONK-u-lous.”

I couldn’t wait to see.

We walked to the Mansion, where I quickly decided it wasn’t wine I wanted.  I had a lovely dish of blackberry crème brulee and a Pellegrino.  The dessert was as over the top as the Mansion’s decor.  It was a perfect ending to a beautiful evening.

Now, I don’t know if I believe all that hoodoo stuff.  But I do appreciate the juxtaposition of a wedding and a funeral home and an evening that combines life and death and all the hopes and dreams of a beautiful young couple starting a new life together.

I hope their marriage is as beautiful as the ceremony was.

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