Family weddings are fun.
I spent the weekend in Mobile, watching a cousin of mine marry the woman of his dreams at a place called Five Rivers, a state park on the Mobile Delta. The wedding party held the ceremony on a dock while the guests viewed the nuptials from above. A gator swam around in the marshy background, first poking his eyes out, then floating around in the distance while a group of a boaters approached. (Good opening for a movie, but nothing happened, thankfully. However, that sucker was huge.)
After the ceremony was over, we had an absolute blast of a party. The food was great. We danced the night away. When the first party ended, a number of us headed to a second party at a hotel in town that featured a lot of dance music and an Elvis impersonator. (Whether Elvis was part of the decorum or just there on his own, none of us knew.) Then, I kicked back with some of my umpteen cousins and enjoyed a few final minutes with people that I get to spend too little time with. We speculated on when we would all get together again, trying to decide which currently single cousin might be the next to walk down the aisle. Finally, we decided we should get together soon anyway, wedding or not.
However, one of the most memorable things about the weekend had nothing to do with the wedding. An uncle of mine who lives in Mobile has a company that builds floats for Mobile’s Mardi Gras parades. He and his employees spend all year preparing for this annual event. My uncle took us to his float barns (warehouses) to see what was left over from last year’s parades as well as show us what work had been done for next year.
Across from the float barns were some long yellow plastic segmented cylinders that resembled a cross between a long chain of hollow pontoons and a huge earthworm. They were barriers, barriers for the oil spill in the gulf. Like several of my family members touring the float barn, I walked across the street to take a look at the barriers, brushing my fingers across the watertight material. I then stared at the buildings, the full parking lots, and saw how much work was still to be done. The Port of Mobile is busy these days as it is one of the places where efforts continue to stem the disaster.
When I arrived in Mobile and first saw the water, I noted how brown it was. Despite having been to Mobile and having seen the water before, I still asked if it had anything to do with the spill. My uncle reminded me that the color was the result of the churning of the dirt from the five rivers that empty into the gulf. However, it looked like the spill and my body reacted the same way.
Between the dirty water and its effect on me, the yellow barriers, and the full parking lots, I wondered if I now had a better understanding of all the effort being made to contain the disaster
And I can feel the texture of that barrier even now.