Saturday, June 16, 2007

My baby sister's wedding

Several weeks ago, Alyssa sent me a link to her pre-wedding photos. She needed help choosing the picture that will run in the Shreveport Times and the Jackson Hole Daily. She wanted one that didn't make her look fat (easy to do since she isn't), but showed how genuinely happy she was living in the Grand Tetons.

The fun part of this exercise wasn't finding the picture for the newspapers, but realizing that she is literally laughing in almost every picture, ecstatically happy that she's marrying Brian. I think I found a picture that showed her big blue eyes as well as the vast landscape of Teton Range. While appreciating the city's rich history, Alyssa and I loathe Shreveport's culture, dominated by very old money and societal norms that neither of us ascribe to as adults. So, the big picture and long description of the wedding in the Shreveport paper is more of an earnest battle cry of "Ha! I got out! Take that, suckers!" than anything else. She's printing it in the Jackson Hole paper just to get the word out.

When we were kids, Alyssa and I spent everyday on bicycles, venturing farther and farther away from home, making it back to our modest home on Carroll Street when the streetlights came on. It's only natural that her fiance would ride his bike everyday, coming home only when the moon is the only available light. The admiration for the western landscape is what brought Alyssa and Brian together. Alyssa is a gentle, kind person (and a great kayaker, backpacker, and skier). She's never been this happy in her life. She found Brian, a really funny guy who's also an alpinist, cyclist, and backcountry skier. She taught him how to kayak and he taught her how to telemark.

Alyssa's soft nature is perfect for Brian, who has never met anyone as well-mannered, resourceful and funny as Alyssa. She's a great cook (like my mother), she makes a big deal of birthdays and other holidays(like my mother), takes good, homeopathic care of Brian when he's sick (like my mother), patiently watches and follows the Green Bay Packers and the Wisconsin Badgers with him (like my mother does with Jack.) and she goes birding while Brian's fishing on the Snake River. I learned this on my last trip out there, but Alyssa makes and brings him coffee in bed every morning. That alone is grounds for marriage.

So, what does my awesome baby sister have to do with southeast Missouri and it's natural and cultural history? Not a whit. But that I'm heading west for the wedding in a few hours. I'm taking a route crafted by an expert of western landscapes which will allow me to see Nebraska's Sand Hills, South Dakota's Black Hills and the Badlands, as well as some seminal sites I've managed to miss in Wyoming. I'm prone to tear up when I see huge, uninterrupted natural landscapes, but I probably won't post any cool pictures unless I'm asked to. Or if I can find a tenuous link to southeast Missouri...

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