In one of my first memories of the Mississippi River, my dad dropped off a few of my friends and me at a music festival downtown. We saw Better Than Ezra for the first of countless times, then went home to discuss important world matters such as who we had a crush on. I was wearing a hat that said "Oh my God, they killed Kenny." We were 14.
From then on the river was a constant in my life -- tentatively driving down River Road as part of driver's ed, photography field trips to the New Orleans Riverwalk to try out our fancy cameras and taste fudge, powdered sugar covered nights at Cafe du Monde, runs and bike rides on the levee from LSU to downtown Baton Rouge, overpriced sushi overlooking the river, our first dance as a married couple with a view of the Mississippi River Bridge.
Lately, whether hiking, biking, or running, I've been spending a lot of time at the Mississippi River... 1300 miles north. Things are different.
For one thing, there is no more South Park apparel in my life.
The giant barges on Louisiana's Mississippi are replaced with kayaks and fall foliage cruises. Oh, and there's fall foliage.
There are hiking trails and biking trails and on any given moment, the area is packed with people getting exercise and enjoying the scenery. Even when it's three degrees outside.
I don't go home and talk about my crushes; rather, I go home and watch Netflix with Y and then we fight over who gets to use the toothbrush first.
15 years, one unfortunate headwear choice, and 1300 miles ago, I had no idea I'd be here.
But I'm definitely glad I am.