This evening, I was reminded that good friends will be celebrating 20 years of wedded bliss this week. There is something reassuring and comforting about knowing that there are couples out there who stick together, who make the commitment and mean it, who grow with each other.
I attended their wedding 20 years ago. It was my first trip to the Big Easy. There was a young boy traveling alone on our flight. He was kind of a needy and nerdy kid. Phenom pointed out that he's at least 30 now. . . and probably married with his own children.
Along with our friend's wedding, that first trip to NOLA opened my eyes to a world I couldn't have imagined, a world where every trip would feature something new . . . even 20 years and 15 - 20 trips later. It was where I experienced one of those rare moments of knowing you are exactly where you belong.
Early in our days together, from time to time when we couldn't sleep, Phenom and I would get up, put on music and split a beer. One night, leading up to that first trip to NOLA, we danced around the bedroom to Jimmy Buffet's song Boat Drinks. And, Phenom told me about visiting NOLA with his good friend from grad school who grew up there (and who was the groom in this wedding) and how much he knew I'd like the place.
When we first arrived, Phenom took me straight to Pat O'Brien's bar for the all important first Hurricane. As we settled down at a table on the patio, giant red half frozen drink before us, we realized the song playing on the sound system was Boat Drinks. We always felt like it was proof we belong in NOLA.