Drove Nikki to Tampa + Went to Vinyl Fever one last time + Went to Alcove to finish celebrating

I was really happy that Jason had a class since it mean that I got to drive our dear friend Nikki down to Tampa airport. Nikki and I have known each other since the mid-90s, dating back to the early days of the Center for Campus Organizing. We’d both go on to work for CCO at different times but it wasn’t until the early 2000s when I was back in Gainesville and Nikki had moved to Philly (where she met and introduced me to Jason) that we got to be good friends. Living so far apart most of our friendship has been based on letters throughout the years, with the occasional visit thrown in.

Having been so busy over the last year, I’ve fallen criminally behind in keeping in touch so the 2-hour drive was a great opportunity to catch up on each others lives. As always our conversation settled on the changing nature of our work, love relationships, the Red Sox and our ongoing search for meaning and happiness. I was sad to hear about the pains Nik had been through but excited to hear about her new plans and her settling into a great life behind enemy lines in Brooklyn.

After saying our goodbyes at the airport, I headed over to Vinyl Fever. The day before when Howard and I went by Hyde & Zekes, Chaz had tipped me off that that this terrific music store was closing after 30 years. I got to a already picked over store with only about 20 minutes until they were closing — but left with something like 10 CDs for $20.

As he rang up my ridiculous total, I told the owner that while I was sure it was too little too late, that I was really sad to see them close since they were one of the better record stores in Florida.

Loaded up with a fresh playlist, I made the trip back to Gainesville where I met Howard and Chad for a last round of celebratory beers at The Alcove before Howard went home the next day. What a terrific way to end a great stretch of time with old friends.

After our wedding our friends Amy and Chad were gracious enough to invite everyone to their house to eat, drink & talk some more! I really wanted to do something like this to have a chance to catch up with friends or family that we didn’t get to see the night before. A lot of folks came by, a lot of food was eaten, and it was a great coda to the wedding.

Afterwards, after the food had been packed up, the tables & chairs folded, and everyone had left, Amy, Chad, Alex and I got to just sit around, enjoy the beautiful evening, drink a lot of Pabst Blue Ribbon and talked about marriage, kids and the future.