Adding Water

IMG_7527.JPGYes, that is a bride beating her groom to the end of a water slide while in her wedding dress. A lovely couple of friends of mine got married at their home on the edge of town over the weekend. It had your usual emotional vows, goofy dancing, exaggerated cake-slicing, all of that fun stuff. The water slide was a new one for me.

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IMG_7555.JPGThe double-barrel slide for the wedding was the largest I had come across for less than 24 hours — by some coincidence, Fayetteville had to show them up the very next day.

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_C1_7937.JPGA few thousand people turned out for the Dickson Street Slide on Sunday, a thousand-foot, all-day inner-tube ride that raised money for Soldier On Service Dogs, a nonprofit that places service dogs with veterans who could use their company. The street was filled with flowing water and chatter and happy shouting as kids and adults slid down and ran back up again. A troop of volunteers and staff did their best to corral the flood of people.

Other than a brief downpour, when I took shelter on the roof of the 21st Amendment bar, the thing went off without a hitch.

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_C1_8348.JPGThanks for lookin’, and congratulations to Joe and Susannah!

Dan

Flood Watch

These days we’re seeing a whole lot of this:

IMG_863411The typical June brings about 5 inches of rain around here; so far we’ve gotten almost 3 inches and more are on the way, thanks to a Caribbean visitor named Bill. May was so wet that not even two weeks of sunshine was enough to dry out the earth, so keep your eyes peeled for flash flooding today and tomorrow, especially around rivers and streams.

Here in town, the rain’s effects have been beautiful, nerve-wracking and occasionally weird.

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_C1_1707This past Saturday, a woman named Meredith and her bridesmaids, family and imminent family-in-law crowded into Fayetteville’s Salon on the Square to get gussied up for an evening wedding. The place is in a beautiful old building with tin ceiling panels and honey-colored wood — I’ve wanted to get some images in there for a while. The energy of weddings (and wedding prep) is always good photo material, too. Lots of laughing, lots of color and lots of hairspray.

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_C1_1446Every few minutes one of us would glance out the front door to see what kind of rain was falling at the moment. Weather wasn’t their friend this day; 12 dry days would break Saturday with two or three fast and heavy downpours. The wedding was supposed to be outside.

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_C1_1690I don’t know where the wedding wound up, but I imagine (and hope), after agitated phone calls, a few quick changes of plans and other hallmarks of every wedding day, it turned out OK.

The rain let up the next day, so I spent some time exploring parts of Fayetteville I hadn’t seen before.

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IMG_85761That brings me to the weird. Each night, a herd of small animals ambles onto the patios and sidewalks of my apartment complex. They’ve been around all summer, but all of the water seems to have helped their numbers.

_C1_8746When I first saw them, I nicknamed them leopard slugs because of those spots; turns out that’s their real name. Anywhere from less than an inch to 6 inches long, they trundle across the pavement all night at a few inches per minute, munching on whatever organic material they encounter. Slugs seem like absurd creatures to me — they’re not going to outrun anything, and they’re nothing but soft morsels for anything large enough to try. But still they mosey through their quiet lives every night as the rain falls.

IMG_866912(I didn’t make it do this, and I really wonder why it was twisting and rearing up. It seemed fine a minute later.)

IMG_869115Stay dry out there, and thanks for looking.

Dan

Time for a Wedding

_C1_6084Another weekend, another two friends married back in Nebraska. And both trombone players! I’m sad I had to miss one, but I’m glad I could make it to my friend Ricky’s (and Stephanie’s). I’ll take these little reunions whenever I can, and it’s a thrilling, nerve-wracking, exhausting day for a good friend, so I’m there.

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_C1_6335After the actual marriage ceremony, the bride and groom disappeared to take a couple hundred photos somewhere. They used up all the light, so I have hardly any photos of them, dang it. An hour later, though, they returned, and the party really got started.

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_C1_6480Here they are! Congratulations, Ricky and Stephanie. We all wish you the best. And as always, great to see you, Nebraska.

Thanks for looking,

Dan

Marriage in Arkansas

_C1_4961Same-sex marriage came to Washington County, Ark., this morning, following a state judge’s ruling Friday overturning the state’s gay marriage ban.

Dozens of couples were waiting when the county courthouse opened its doors. I have a full story running tomorrow, but I can tell you the crowd was a mass of happy tears and cheering and hugs and laughing.

Many questions remain: The attorney general is appealing the decision, most counties are saying the decision doesn’t affect them, and the Arkansas Supreme Court could issue a stay at any moment. A stay would likely invalidate these marriages and prevent more marriages for weeks while the court considers the state’s ban.

The couples getting married were aware of all of this, which gave the rapid-fire marriages some urgency. But for the moment they were happy to be together.

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Thanks for looking.

Dan