Each year I am blessed with a trip to the bowl games of my school, Oklahoma State University, OSU Cowboys. This year we went to Memphis, TN. Neither Scott nor I had ever been so it was exciting. The trip through Arkansas from Oklahoma was interesting to say the least. Let’s just say we missed the clean bathrooms that are in the Oklahoma gas stations in Tulsa.

Once we arrived we were very happy with the idea of staying in an apartment vs a hotel. The downtown area was beautiful and Beale street was a very cool place to hang out! Our apartment was a cozy little place with stone floors, granite counter-tops and awesome neighbors. I loved walking down the long hallway to the lobby, saying hello to everyone, including a photo of Lenny Kravitz at the end of the hall. In the lobby we would make a couple coffees to enjoy back in our apartment, talk to other tenants/OSU visitors and watch everyone on the street.

One exciting thing I loved, yes I’m a freak this way, was the full size washer and dryer in our unit. I did laundry every night on our vacation. Scott told Thomas “I wore the same pair of jeans every day because they were clean.” I told you I am a freak for cleaning, even laundry on vacation.

I sat on the sofa as we watched other bowl games and watched out the large windows facing the street. I tired to guess who was who and what they were up to, you know, normal people watching shenanigans.

We tried to eat at the Famous Gus’s Chicken, Scott picked the apartment location based on three things a) downtown close to Beale b) Starbucks location c) Gus’s World Famous Chicken. Sadly, after an hour of waiting to eat he picks up a menu and we discover a lovely disclaimer. Everything is fried in peanut oil. Well, with a peanut allergy that was not happening. SO we set out to find another place to eat. We found Pearl’s Oyster House. What a treasure! The food was amazing. The service, our waitress was absolutely adorable, was excellent and we truly enjoyed our meal. Not just the food being out of this world but the people. Memphis has some of the friendliest people we’ve come across. Their heart, kindness and their southern welcoming was above anything I’d ever experienced.

I loved Pearl’s and then we found another hole in the wall gem. If you go to Memphis, make sure to visit Miss Polly’s Soul Food on Beale. You won’t be sorry! Make sure to order a waffle and chicken and for goodness sake don’t forget the fried pickles and fried green tomatoes! You won’t get better pickles and you will be hard pressed to find a better group of waiters and host. Simply wonderful, I adored the host so much I had to get a photo with him before we left. He was so kind, and his eyes held such a loving soul.

Every place we visited we were met with kindness and wonderful personalities. Well, the only sour people there were the Misszou fans but we already knew they would not be friendly.

New Years Eve was delightful on Beale. Now if you go to celebrate on Beale make for extra time. They take their security VERY serious and you get to have a very safe holiday. They shutdown the street and you must go through ID verification for age 21 and over plus scanned and your bags checked. The line was insane but once you got past security it was really wonderful!

I think my favorite part was just everyone dancing with everyone. That and having our meal at, again, Miss Polly’s. We counted down the clock to the the guitar drop, celebrated with all those around us and as we headed home we passed a makeshift dance floor. We spent a good 30 minutes watching everyone dancing there. All dancing with each other, making us smile, at the thought no one cared if they were of a different political party, race, cheered for a different team. Everyone enjoyed dancing and celebrating, together. These are the moments I live for!

Now we did hit a few snags in our stay. We had a few days that I just could not go out. Scott was awesome and though I kept apologizing for having to stay at the apartment and order food in, he was perfectly fine with staying. I am grateful to that man for many things. His understanding and not getting upset that he spent a lot of money for a trip that we had to spend a few days in the apartment is just one of the things. Him driving me all over to find a Target, through beautiful Memphis homes and buildings, to get a pillow, pillow case and blanket so I could sleep was also one of the things. I am allergic to a lot of things. I usually bring my own pillow but when I took down my usual luggage I was heart broken to learn my luggage of 20 years had died on me in the attic. I tried to pack all my stuff in a weekend bag but it was not working. Thomas ran out and purchased me a suitcase. It was smaller than my normal so I didn’t pack my usual blanket and pillow to save room.

So we set off to a Target to purchase bedding. Yeah, these are the fun things that happen on our trips. I ended up getting a pillow, pillow case and blanket that had Moana on them. It made Scott laugh, it helped me sleep. See there are many things to be grateful for with him as my travel partner in crime!

On one night, after a day out, my body just could not go anymore. I pulled out my new laptop, gifted to me by Scott and Thomas for my Christmas gift. I had yet to really play with it until that day. I was trying to figure out the convertible part of it, laptop to tablet and such. I sat at the bar, coffee in my new Memphis mug and had the little bonsai tree next to me. I got up to get something and when I returned it hit me. This was a moment I wanted to remember. This pause we took in our trip to let my body heal a bit. This moment of a coffee cup, purchased earlier in the trip, this fabulous laptop that would allow me to play WOW and Sims 4, update my blog and work from home (it’s been 3 years since I could sit at the pc) and this lovely apartment to stay in vs a hotel. This was moment I wanted to remember. It was picture perfect. Not because it looked perfect. No it was because it was a moment of pausing. A moment of gratitude for these gifts, for this opportunity, for the blessings in my life that allowed me to be here. In this moment, a city I was loving, an apartment that offered comfort more than a hotel room, a coffee cup to remember the trip, this laptop that is allowing me to type to you now, the guys that makes these things possible. But also the pause, it was a reminder that I can take a day for me, even on a trip that is usually busy and go till we drop after we get home. Not only could I pause and just enjoy the new toy, new coffee mug with wonderful coffee and a beautiful place to enjoy them, but a pause without judgement. No need to say “I’m sorry I just can’t today.”

I am grateful for all the blessings in my life. Every. Single. One. My trip was amazing. The people in Memphis made an impact that will last a lifetime. Not to mention the food that helped Scott gain weight, oddly I came home lighter. Maybe it was all the catfish and fried green tomatoes!

Thank you to Thomas and Scott for the laptop that will allow me to once again keep my blog up to date.

Thank you Scott for the amazing trip, the awesome game, the down time and the perfect New Years Eve. Thank you for the Moana bedding and not getting annoyed at my peanut allergies.

More on my trip and Cyan’s pathology reports from surgery next post!

Until then, take a deep breathe, hit the pause button on life and enjoy this moment.

A Grateful No Drama Mama Llama