She means we’re bouncing into Graceland.

This post is about “Graceland,” by Paul Simon.

I knew many of the songs from this album long before I moved to Nashville. I did, after all, grow up in a home that had records. I am not proud to admit that the first music I ever purchased with my allowance was “Conga” by The Miami Sound Machine. On a record. But anyway. Now that you know I am older than the very core of the earth, let’s get back to Paul Simon.

When I lived in Nashville, there was a certain musician who was rising to fame who attended my church. And I distinctly remember one day, somehow ending up at a table at Joe’s Crab Shack with him sitting immediately to my left. He was cute. Every girl wanted to get noticed by this guy.

I could barely concentrate. I could barely eat. But I heard this:

“Graceland is probably one of the most important albums in my life.”

Or something to that effect. Of course I made a mental note to go buy Graceland and memorize it so that the next time we had a conversation, I would be able to get all mooney-eyed and say, “oh, wow, me too.”

That never happened. Life happened. I got busy, I got distracted, and before I knew it, over three years had flown by and I was packing to move back to New York.

So much has happened since that day at lunch. I kind of forgot to be obsessed with every almost-rock star that I came across. And, somewhere along the way, Graceland, in its entirety, made it into my iTunes library. When I listen to this album (usually all the way through, at least once), I feel home. I remember pain, disappointment, tears, feeling “blown apart” and having nothing to cover me up. But I also remember hugs, being received,  belonging, and taking crazy risks and  being alright.

When I listen to Graceland, I am positive, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I will actually make it.

Well, Mat Kearney, I never got around to it in Nashville, but I’ll tell you now: “oh, wow, me too.”


Savannah Tea Company

I love the low, muted clatter of a teacup on a saucer as I hold it in my hand, trying to keep it steady. This morning I pulled down my only teacup and my only saucer to make myself some Earl Grey tea. I don’t use the teacup on a regular basis. Actually, until July, it was packed away in the box it came in – a gift box that I received over three years ago on my 30th birthday. Until today, it has never been used.

The teacup is absolutely beautiful to me. I have never been one for girly designs or dainty and delicate things. I don’t like flowered patterns or china. But one fateful day, when I was living in Nashville, something happened to me that changed the way I felt about teacups, at least.

A Saturday lunch date with a dear friend of mine, L took a turn for the divine. We decided that, rather than just go for any lunch, we should go to the Savannah Tea Company for a full tea. I have never had a tea of any kind, other than a cup of tea, so I had no idea what to expect.

It was wonderful. Scones, clotted cream, jam, finger sandwiches, soup… and it was all presented with such care. Everything was lovely, down to the shape of each finger sandwich. Eating made me feel like I was participating in an art project. Every bite was magical. Every sip of tea was smooth and golden.

And my teacup. Oh dear.  My teacup. It made me swoon. I loved the intricacy of the pattern. The color. The shape. Honestly, I thought that if there was ever a perfect teacup made, then I was holding it, drinking from it, and admiring it.

isn't that the most perfect blue?

And I can’t even talk about the creamer.

My dear friend L, noticing my enthrallment, returned to the Savannah Tea Company after our tea and bought me the cup and the creamer for my 30th birthday.

And this morning I decided that I had looked at the teacup I have had on display since July one day too many. Life is short, my friends. I want to use the beautiful things I have, not simply look at them. I want to pull down my beautiful teacup and feel the happiness I felt on that enchanting day at the Savannah Tea Company in Nashville. I want to remember the way my eyes welled with tears when I opened the gift from my dear friend, L on my 30th birthday.

I want to remind myself, even on this small scale, what it is like to be overcome by beauty, overwhelmed by the intricacies of life, and overjoyed at being known well.