Ex­pe­ri­enc­ing life, grief and joy in Mem­phis

The Commercial Appeal - - Mlife - Mike Jung USA TO­DAY NET­WORK – TENN.

A fu­neral, a wed­ding and an en­gage­ment. I was part of all three dur­ing the past sev­eral days. Much has been writ­ten about “the rule of threes” and I have ex­pe­ri­enced it. Life has a beau­ti­ful af­fair with sym­me­try.

The fu­neral Oct. 4 was a gut-wrench­ing and beau­ti­ful cel­e­bra­tion of life for Phil Tre­nary. The ser­vice be­gan with an in­spir­ing per­for­mance of “I’ll Fly Away” by Cort­ney Richard­son and the In­spire Gospel Chorale and ended with an up­lift­ing ren­di­tion of “Oh Happy Day” by the same group.

In be­tween, friends and fam­ily mem­bers shared prayers, read­ings, hymns and re­flec­tions.

Most touch­ing were the per­sonal sto­ries told by Phil’s young adult chil­dren. Each re­counted their own mem­o­ries of Phil and every­one men­tioned Phil’s big heart, his pas­sion, pride and love for Mem­phis. He was the right guy to lead and brag about Mem­phis.

The wed­ding last Mon­day was mine to Mary An­drews. Nor­mally, I would not write about a wed­ding, much less mine, but this story is also about Mem­phis and the pride I have for our com­mu­nity. Mary and I shared our wed­ding with dear friends from Boise, Idaho, and in less than 72 hours we show­ered them with sev­eral the many trea­sures here in Mem­phis.

We started last Sun­day night with a hearty din­ner of brisket and pulled pork from Cen­tral BBQ and ended with the ul­ti­mate din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence at Flight on Tues­day night, the restau­rant where Mary and I were en­gaged.

In be­tween was a trip to the Na­tional Civil Rights Mu­seum; a cer­e­mony with Judge Robert Weiss, the self-pro­claimed “mar­ry­ing judge”; pic­tures and an ex­change of vows at Har­bor Town along­side the Mis­sis­sippi; lunch 28 floors above land at Look­out Restau­rant; a walk across the river at Big River Cross­ing; and a wed­ding din­ner at Paulette’s. And that was just on Mon­day.

On Tues­day, we took it easy. We started with a walk along the river fol­lowed by an ex­cur­sion to Soulsville and the Stax Mu­seum.

We all mar­veled at the tal­ent that per­formed in Mem­phis and the im­pact on his­tory and mu­sic Stax had im­printed all over the world.

On to lunch at The Kitchen in Shelby Farms Park fol­lowed by time at the Vis­i­tors Cen­ter where park am­bas­sadors were friendly and proud to en­lighten our friends from Boise about this trea­sure that de­lights more than a mil­lion guests each year.

We ended our af­ter­noon with an un­planned trip to the Clay­born Tem­ple, the gath­er­ing place for civil rights ac­tivists and la­bor lead­ers dur­ing the san­i­ta­tion strike.

Lastly, there was quiet re­flec­tion at the “I Am A Man Plaza,” con­structed ear­lier this year in com­mem­o­ra­tion of the 50th an­niver­sary of Dr. King’s as­sas­si­na­tion.

Phil would have been proud of this “cham­ber-like” ex­pe­ri­ence Mem­phis pro­vided to our friends.

The en­gage­ment oc­curred later this past week when my old­est son, Cameron, pro­posed to his now fi­ancée, Erin. In true style, he asked for her hand while in Lake Como on a spec­tac­u­lar day in Italy. As a fa­ther, you hope and pray for joy and hap­pi­ness in your chil­dren’s lives and I am blessed with all my kids.

It has been a mem­o­rable week. Call it what you want — com­ing full cir­cle, sym­me­try — it hap­pened in Mem­phis, a spe­cial place.

Michael Jung is pres­i­dent of The Com­mer­cial Ap­peal and The Jack­son Sun. Find him on Twit­ter @michaeld­jung.

Pres­i­dent Mem­phis Com­mer­cial Ap­peal

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