A Whirlwind French Biennial
Sadly, the thrill that is fave friend French visiting Atlanta lasted just 30 hours over the weekend. But we did a helluva lot in those 30 hours.
French is one of my five most beloved non-DNA-sharing humans on this earth (that list includes my moon-based friends, too, come to think of it). We’re both single, we’re both obsessed with live music and movies and travel, and each thinks the other is the cat’s meow — as great friendships should be. I visit him nearly every summer in D.C., and he’s averaging an every-other-year Atlanta trip.
We met cute at the end of 1991. French had just moved to Atlanta to start grad school, and he was rooming with an old college buddy of mine. She had a brunch to introduce him to her multitudes, and introduced us with: “This is French. He loves R.E.M., and he can’t wait for you to take him on a tour of Athens!” As she flitted away, French looked me in the eye and said, “I hate R.E.M. and I have no interest in seeing Athens.” I laughed and demanded that he show me his CD collection that minute before we could consider continuing the conversation. He was redeemed by his extensive Elvis Costello collection. I loved him — and his honesty — from that moment to this one.
Back to the weekend recap. French landed on Atlanta soil around 10:30 Saturday morning, and I gave him the 45-minute what’s-changed tour as we headed for lunch at one of his best-remembered spots: La Fonda (fan-damn-tastic paella and fish tacos).
The rest of the day was spent hangin’ in my ‘hood:
We started out, of course, at Decatur CD — one of the best CD shops in town — where French picked up an Atlanta Rhythm Section disc (you started something, Write Procrastinator).
Then on to Twain’s, where we sampled many, many IPAs (so many, in fact, that my elbows are rubbed raw from propping my tipsy head) and fed the cute waiter, Powell, many, many Jelly Bellies.
What else after an afternoon of beers but an evening showing of Knocked Up (which we both enjoyed and recommend)? Post-movie, we ended the day on the patio of The Angel, a pub off the square, toasting each other’s brilliance and nibbling away the night.
Sunday began with breakfast at Crescent Moon.
Fortified by eggs and grits and a shared appetizer of biscuits with sausage gravy, we hit Wordsmiths Books, which opened in the neighborhood this weekend. I picked up a couple of must-reads and perused the Baby Got Books shelf.
The CD and books joneses were fed, so we headed to historic Oakland Cemetery, which has been interring Atlanta’s crème de la crème — including Margaret Mitchell and Bobby Jones — and hoi polloi since 1850.
Former Mayor Maynard Jackson, who died in 2003, is buried here. One of the guides told us his widow comes out regularly to talk to him.
There are a lot of old magnolias throughout Oakland Cemetery, and most are beginning to bloom.
This lion status honors the CSA soldiers who died during the Civil War.
With tequila coursing through our veins, we headed for the new World of Coca-Cola museum.
This was a bittersweet stop on the French tour. My father spent his career with Coca-Cola Bottling, and he loved all things Coke. This being my second Father's Day without him, I got a wee bit sad as we raced through the museum. He would have loved it.
These bottles were created around the world for the 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games. They were on display at the Coca-Cola headquarters back when I worked there, so it was great seeing my old friends again.
From there, we raced to the airport so that French could make his 6 p.m. flight back to reality.
I’m already lonely. I miss my boy. But I’ll see him in a month, when I hit D.C. for The Wedding of the Year.
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