Friday, October 21, 2011

The Gardners

He was sitting a row over from me in Mrs. Carter’s 2nd grade class.
She was two thousand miles away and we were yet to know of her existence.
We were also yet to know that she would one day be a best friend to both of us.

Devin and I have a long history together that dates back to the year 1993. A year we would both luck out by being placed in the classroom of Mrs. Verna Jean Carter, who had been around long enough to have been MY DAD’s teacher in grade school as well. And my Dad was in his thirties when I was born!

Mrs. Carter had such seniority that she was allowed to do anything, thus, we were allowed to do anything with her…

We didn’t read about fictional stories and characters; We put on costumes and acted out the plays in the classroom. We didn’t bring a note home telling parents to send magazines for an art project; We WALKED to a friendly neighbor’s house to collect them from their garage (yes, the entire class of 7 years olds). We didn’t have a 45 minute Christmas party in the classroom; We WALKED to my grandma’s pool house 4 blocks away during the school day to have our party (no permission slip necessary). We didn’t talk about photosynthesis and the science of growing plants; We planted a tree on the playground that still stands 18 years later.

Metaphorically, our friendship still stands 18 years later.

After college, he introduced me to Nina on that fateful canoe trip to Spring River just a few years ago.

“Katie, this is my girlfriend, Nina.”

“Heeey Nina! (Pronounced “Nay-na” when coming from my mouth) So nice to meet yooou!”

{‘-Hmmm.’ I thought. ‘Nina. That’s a different kind of name. I might have to get used to that.’}

“Hi! It’s nice to meet you too,” she said.

{-‘Hmmm.’ I thought. ‘That voice. That accent. I’m definitely gonna have to get used to that.'}

She might not have sounded like me, but we spoke the same language. 3 campfires, 13 rapids, and 10 floating miles of river later and we were best friends. And I am not a “you’re my new best friend” kind of person.

And now a few years later, we can't remember what life was like before the four of us were friends...And I'm finally getting used to the way she talks. Except "you guys". I will never get used to that.

Sean and I see the two of them in our future just like we would our family. We see “can you pick up our kid from school because I’m working late?” and “let’s take the families together on summer vacation again this year”.

So it was a special moment for Sean and I both to be a part of the day their future began as a married couple.

She wrote her heartfelt words to her soon-to-be husband. And then we all looked on in silence and cried as she read Devin's words to her.

Devin and Nina were married in Memphis at St. Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral on October 1st, 2011.

The grand, castle-esque church was the perfect setting for a fall ceremony reminiscent of the royal wedding.

We celebrated their union with hymns and communion before the newlywed couple descended Poplar in their horse drawn carriage.

The Balinese Ballroom, with it's white brick walls, abstract artwork, and fabric-swagged ceilings, was eclectic and swanky.

She glowed like a runway model. Beauty and Grace.

Lindsay and I waited for the bride and groom's arrival.

Mr. and Mrs. Devin Gardner!

I think they both looked the best they've ever looked. Oh, what love can do!

Their cake was delicious. So said Dev's nose.

And for my favorite...

We had the time of our lives dancing.

And making memories...

{Me and Sean, parents/in-laws}


Hah...jk. Love ya!

To a beautiful future! Yours, mine, and ours.

Love "yall",
The Grays

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