The Wedding Blog
Day One: Monday the 6th
We had the alarm clock set to 3AM, as our flight was at 6:20. We went to bed early ... but have you seen those Disney World commercials? You know the ones. "Are you asleep yet?"
"No. I'm too excited!"
"Mom says it's even more magical than before."
We couldn't sleep ... not a single lick. so at 3AM, we rolled out of the sack, loaded up the car and made our way out to OIA. We tell all the guests at work ... they want you 3 hours to get to the airport. When we got there, no one was manning the desk at Northwest. The computers weren't even turned on. There was a line stretching back to Kissimmee by the time they opened the desk 20 minutes later. We got our tickets and I started to turn in my dulcimer as luggage and was told by the check in clerk that even though it was 2" too long that they perfered that we take it as carry on. We saved $160 right then and there. We were off to a good start.
The plane seats were a little crowded and I think next time we need to seriously look at spending the extra for first class. We arrived at Memphis right on time and this trip no lost luggage. We got a cab who must of been on the end of his last shift. Never seen a silent cabbie before but we ran into a few of them.
When we arrived at the hotel, we were greeted by Sam, our bellman. They put us right into a room moving us up as high as they could (13of 16) and it was then that I discovered that the number 13 was Yoko's lucky number. Funny thing is we had been assigned to row 13 coming and going on the airplane. The number kept coming up. I even grabbed a bottle of champagne from a local liquor store that with tax was $13.
After settling in and having breakfast in Grill 83 (the continental breakfast was moved in there that day) we headed out to the Marriage License Office. We were told that it was to far to walk and to take the trolley. For 2 dollars we were taken 2 blocks out our way. Coming from Orlando, we are quite use to (because of all the tourists) being able to ask directions and getting precise wording as to where to go. it took a half dozen times asking sending us in as many direction. Finally we stumbled on the clerk's office. They had to pull in another clerk from another office to help out. When we checked the form to make sure the information was right, she had gotten everything wrong but Yoko's real first name.
After straightening things right and dropping the paperwork off back at the hotel, we went to Beale Street and had burgers at Dyer's. Walking around Downtown Memphis, we saw a lot of construction going on. I don't know how the locals feel about this revitalization but they seem to keep the flavor of the old buildings. There is so much texture to this town, we loved it. Walking around town was on thing, but when opportunity rounded the corner we jumped on a bus that read Graceland. and it turned out to be the city bus with all the folks heading home. We went the long way around and definitely saw a side of town that most tourists don't see. But from all the whispering going on and conjectures of our being lost, I guess this was not a sight they saw on a regular basis. It was an adventure.
We made it to Graceland and took the tour. It was very interesting view into Elvis' life. After that we made our way to the corporate offices next door to see Betty our wedding coordinator. She was as nice in person as in her correspondence. Betty showed us the grounds and we shored up the final details.
We took a cab back to the Madison and went back to Beale Street to knock around. We dined at Blues City Cafe, where Yoko surprised me by eating ribs. She doesn't normally eat anything off the bone. They were that good! We poked about a bit more after dinner, but it seems as if Mondays are the slow nights. We ended up having a beer at the Flying Saucer . I laughingly called it my "Batchelor Party." I know it's at best a bit unusual for the bride to be at this function ... but then I did get to take the prettiest gal there home. What was really surprising to me was that we had not faded earlier after being up for 24 hours straight.
Day Two: Tues. the 7th
The Big Day: Well it was finally here. The big day. We knew there would be little chance for lunch so we had a big breakfast at Grill 83. Our waiter from the day before remembered I had ordered a side of grits and asked if I was going to have them again this morning. I did along safe of some sausage and biscuits. Yoko had pancakes. After being properly full, we began getting ready.
The first task was Yoko's up do. We had a few concerns from the get go. We would have to go into mid town and there was no telling what they might want to do with her hair and makeup. Once we got there we were pleased to see that it was a very stylish beauty salon and there were a number of young ladies there waiting their turn when the shop opened. Things took an interesting turn when Yoko's hair operator came in late and had a bad case of the shakes. It is always comforting when the person doing your hair says, "Don't worry it's not crack." And we found out in conversation with the makeup artist that she was a narcoleptic. Just a little added color. They both did a wonderful job of gilding the lily. On the way back the cab driver and his female copilot suggested we go double dating.
Upon returning to the Madison, I went to a liquor store I had just seen down the street to buy a bottle of champagne for a toast afterwards. There wasn't much of a selection but I grabbed a bottle and went to pay ... it turned out to be $13 exactly. Yoko's lucky number.
We waited downstairs in all our splendor, for the Pecos Beige (pink) Cadillac. It showed up pretty much on time but traffic was a bit heavy and we arrived a little late.
Betty Johnson our wedding coordinator with the videographer and photographer where there to greet us. we were taken to the chapel where we met the minister and then Yoko was hurried away to do some last minute primping and photos. Small talk was used to keep me busy.
Finally I was put in my place at the end of the chapel and Yoko made her entrance. Now I had seen the dress and had even had been involved in the process of Yoko getting ready. This is suppose to be a bog no no. One of the reasons is the desire for the groom to be impressed at his bride's glory in gown and all. This was not a problem for me as Yoko glowed, growing brighter with each step as she made her way to me. She could see in my eyes the emotions running as she knew I was fighting to keep from crying happy tears. The ceremony went by all to fast. The one thing I had insisted on was the unity candle. My family name Morgan was originally Mhor Gunn meaning "great fire." That addition to the wedding rituals seemed not only appropriate, but imperative to me. When we had originally made arrangements, the chapel rented unity candles ... my comment was I didn't want to start my marriage on someone else's wick. I am proud to say the chapel has seen the light, and now offers unity candles for sale.
The taking of pictures was a chore as I am a blinker and she is an eye popper. Besides that, neither of us like our picture taken. I would much rater be on the other side of the camera. I brought Bliss, my wedding dulcimer for a few pictures. And like my adopted nephew told me dress pants aren't the best and watching from the web cam, Bryan was able to tell I was having trouble with dulcimer shimmying. We then moved to in front of Graceland. I almost lost it when Yoko said, " Oh Honey, you bought me a mansion." The funny thing was we had people who were waiting for the bus to return them across the street taking pictures and video of us and we chuckled at the thought that we were going home with their memories of their trip to Graceland. On parting I turned and thanked them for coming to our wedding.
On the way back in the pink caddy, we got a small tour and swung by Sun Studios for a couple of pictures. When once again in the hotel room we toasted each other with our $13 bottle of champagne and called my stepmother, Sylvia and her mother Trina. A sad note, we found out from Trina that her dog, Tyrone of 16 years had died that day. We did our best to comfort her and promised to get her a new dog when she was ready.
We had our wedding feast at Chez Philippe at the Peabody. For most of our dinner we had the dining room to ourselves. Instead of wedding cake we had Grand Mainer soufflés. After dinner we had a horse carriage ride back to the Madison. A perfect ending for a perfect day.
Day Three : Wed. the 8th
We started our day at the continental breakfast at the Madison and then went to achieve our first goal of the day ... Find the Rendezvous!
We had been looking for this favorite restaurant since we came to town. Once again everyone know of the place ... just not where it was. So we followed our noses ... literally. The smell permeated the air and your mouth water more the closer you neared. Finally down the alley we found the Rendezvous. Unfortunately we also found that it wasn't open for dinner. So plans changed and we decided to get a snack and then eat dinner there after Sun Studios. We then continued to try and find the Folk Art Museum. It proved to be as elusive as the Rendezvous. Before we got there we stumbled on the Peabody Cultural Museum and got to see a wonderful display of Chinese carvings and statuary. From there we finally found the folk museum, and saw a great film on the music of Beale Street. We never did find where you got the home made apple cobbler and cornbread. We had lunch at the Drum Boogie Cafe, where I had gator chowder. Then it was to the Rock and Soul Museum. A wonderful display that is a satellite of the Smithsonian it documents the rise of soul and rock music. One of the nice features is that you can listen to the examples of the songs they are talking about at your own pace. The highlight there was Elvis' dulcimer. It had a flat peg head with long wooden tuning pegs. The body was almost a teardrop model except for a slight bump that made it an hour glass style. If not for my appointment at Sun Studios we probably could of spent another hour or two there. I just wish they allowed you to take pictures.
Sun Studios: Recording
at Sun Studios was
a bittersweet experience, at best. I mean how cool was it to
be in the same spot as Elvis, Rufus Thomas, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Bob
Dylan, U2 and Johnny Cash stood and shake, rattle and roll like them … well
maybe not just like them. I mean there is so much history there and it still
reverberates. You can feel the presence of the music made there. Plus while I cannot substantiate this, but as the sound engineer,
James Lott, of the last 20 years did not even recognize what a dulcimer was and
stared at me when I mentioned the term “fiddle tune,” this may have been the
very first time a dulcimer was ever recorded at Sun Studios, and
a Soprano Dulcimer. Tip of the hat to Harpmaker for such a sweet dulcimer
I had to laugh, when I was asked if I was nervous getting married, my reply was, “No, I’m more nervous about recording at Sun Studios." We found out about the possibility of recording there from the AAA tour book. I found the Sun Studio website and from e-mailing their info address, was informed that the afore mentioned was merely a karaoke style recording ... but for twice the amount you could book recording time. They referred me to their sound engineer. Dealing with Mr. Lott was at best difficult. He ignored e-mails and the questions contained within. And when he did answer it was sparingly. Anyone who deals with the public knows that when someone is obviously interested in something and it takes A, B, and C to accomplish it, you say you need to A, B, and C. It was like pulling hen's teeth. Rare and hard to do.
So we took the next
to last tour with
the plan to get a little bite at the café next door that
proved to be closed. The tour was great and our tour guide turned
out to be a local musician with a CD out. Yoko described her as someone with
that sparkle in her eye and knows it. She was very personable and seemed to
really care about the music. Her name is Amy LaVere and the CD is "This
World Is Not My Home." Yoko says her sound reminds her of Squirrel Nut
Zippers and has a voice filled with character. A touch of country to me ... You can purchase her CD at Archer Records. You
can go to that site by clicking on her bass. Studio’s history.
don’t know how familiar you are with Sun Studios' history. We heard on
several occasions that
Rufus Thomas had this label’s first hit with a little song called “Bear
Cat.” It was in answer to a popular song of the time by Big Momma Thornton’s
So it seems as that Rufus’ tune set the Sun on its way. But when we
took the Sun Studios tour, we were told that Mr. Thomas did have the studio’s
but the lawsuit that followed because of copyright infringement took an Elvis to
get Sam Phillips out of the hole. So Mr. Thomas’ claim was the truth as far as
he went, but in the words of Pontius Pilate, “ What is truth? Are yours the
same as mine?”
after the tour, we sat in the gift/souvenir shop waiting about an hour. Yoko
could see that I was getting nervous and tried to reassure me. When the time was
about 10 minutes to closing and to my appointment I went to our tour guide and
asked what I needed to do. She called back but Mr. Lott did not pick up, so she
left a voice message. 20 minutes went by and it was Yoko and myself sitting
alone in the shop. I asked one of the employees about it and he seemed confused
but offered to call Mr. Lott. From what we could over hear at our end, we knew
it wasn’t good. I was then put on the phone and Mr. Lott started in explaining
very gruffly that in order to record that you had to make a reservation. I
replied that I did have a reservation. He then asked had I talked to him and I
replied yes and that I had an e-mail confirming as well. He then said he would
be down soon. 30 minutes later, he staggered through the door. During the
session he popped out back in the middle of recording for a cigarette. Turns out
he had booked me in July and hadn’t noticed even when I had sent him an e-mail
to remind him and give him my number to reach me at the hotel we were staying at
so he could reach me if he needed. It turns out he had doubled booked as well
and if they had not cancelled … well … in his defense, he did only charge me
for one hour of the 2 hour minimum recording time. I did however only use an
hour. And also it was implied that this was done … for the inconvenience so we
wouldn’t … ahem
…have anything to complain about.
Now I am not the best of players and maybe I had no business recording at the famous Sun Studios. I just thought that I might make something for Yoko and a memory for both of us. Sort of the experience was what was more important and the recording was just a byproduct. I mean if you have such an opportunity, how can you pass on it? So on top of being hungry, mad and nervous, I couldn’t find a seat in the place that would allow the dulcimer to find purchase. I should have just sat on the floor. So even though Yoko assures me I did fine, I have not been able to listen to the CD I made. There might be something salvageable. I know you are always harder on yourself than others, but I know was playing better in the hotel room before and after. I joked with Yoko that I needed to take the hotel room couch with me. Yoko said that she would have been so flustered that she would of given up a long time ago and that the way I kept at it after all these things were thrown up in front of my path that it just goes to show what a stubborn man I am.
But this has been a growth experience for me. I did have the experience of what a real studio is like and learned a trick or two watching the editing program process. I have got the push to work harder on my playing and explore the possibility of recording at home. I think the best thing I got from this experience was seeing how wonderful, comforting and supportive my wife is. That means more to me than if I had walked away with a CD with me playing like Stephen Siefert or Schnaufer. God bless her.
The Rest of the Day: We made our way back to the Rendezvous and was seated right away. This I've been told is a rare occurrence. The ribs were definitely worth the hunt, but they use the dry process of bar-b-que, and I have say that we are wet people.
We ended the night at B.B. King's joint finally tasting fried pickles. Exhausted we returned to the hotel room. We
Day Four: Thurs. the 9th
We packed up and went to a cute little local place called Denny's for breakfast and then checked out. The Madison's limo service took us to the airport. Our flight was delayed about an half hour due to a bad rainstorm with lightning. The flight was a little rough with more turbulence than desired.
Yoko and I were glad to set down in Orlando and had dinner at one of our usual haunts Logan's. Then it was home to make up with the cat.