It's only 10pm here as I get in from my evening out, but we celebrated the new year on Greenland time, so we're all good. I was out this evening with J.P. and Sheila Hurt, up visiting for the holiday from Lafayette, Indiana. I stood up for J.P., one of the Renaissance Men and before that one of the Freeks, at his wedding in August (here, here, and here). That was something I intended to write about at greater length but never got anything down other than what is linked above, perhaps because J.P. asked me to do so and I caved under the pressure to write something fabulous, which really sucks rocks of me. Here are Japes and Sheila in my favourite pic from the wedding, during the rehearsal the night before. I met Dr. Joe and Sara Schwab that night of the rehearsal, Sara being Sheila's best friend/roommate from undergraduate, and it was these two that the Hurts are staying with these few days.
Japes had me reserve tonight for them and we went out to a few places at my recommendation, having dinner at a very crowded Twisted Fork, which went over well, and then relaxing further over drinks at the Metro. Young parents in pretty much the same stage as my friends Mike and Michelle and Dan and Amy, or my sister Leslie and Jim, Joe and Sara seemed very much to be enjoying a night out. Sara had said that she'd been wanting to try the Fork and since it was something I knew well and could recommend without qualms, that seemed an easy choice. Sheila took some pics tonight, so maybe I'll get some of those later on to flesh this brief account out. I don't have any pics of Joe and Sara from the wedding in August, though there are plenty with Sara since she was standing up for Sheila. Here she is over my left shoulder. Sara knew a lot of the city, but hadn't been to the Metro, either, and so it seemed responsible on my part to introduce them to that treasure as well. I ended up passing on dessert and just having some port, while the others went with coffee, wine, or in J.P.'s case, a sampler tray of variations of Bailey's Irish Creme in chocolate cups. This had entirely escaped my notice, and so I'll have to return shortly with someone so that I can check that out, too.
Conversation was simple, straightforward, and fun. Hospital life from Joe's residency in orthopedic surgery at Froedtert (he knows my surgeon, Dr. Telford), travel stories including Sara's undergrad overseas experiences in Italy and Zimbabwe, J.P. and Sheila's honeymoon in Charleston, J.P.'s still-newish job working in psychiatric services for grade school children, raising children, traveling in general, and the like. As we were finally rolling home, we could see a huge line waiting to get into Mo's Irish Pub and so we felt rather happy at our choice to go on Greenland time. It's possible I ended up actually speaking to J.P. the least, with him just being a quieter person in general, but it was infinitely good to see him again, and to get even a little time together. We had a few small conversations on the side, when the conversation just naturally split into two groups, and even that was fabulous, talking over new quests or old times while we split an appetizer of mussels, or sipped our drinks. Sorting files out on the new computer the last few days, I happened to be looking at some old journal entries and old photographs, and it was particularly satisfying to be together for New Year's with a friend with whom I've shared so much over the years: touring and performing in Ireland, touring with the Freeks, him working to set me and Jen Sushinsky up, catching my first Over The Rhine show, swapping music and theology in graduate school, reading Jordan together, sharing Holy Cross House experiences, recording in Nashville, and abusive chess games where he taught me a lot as he slapped me around the board.
Okay, so I'm sentimental and tipsy. Sue me. :-)