Far be it from me to assert only my own opinions about the loveliness of the Magic City.
Today I’ll let my friend and neighbor, Chivon Morse (wife of Mr. BhamWiki himself), do the talkin’.
(…It’s nice to know I’m not the only one who would be caught dancing in these city streets…)
I remember the first moment that I fell in love with Birmingham. It was a cold morning in late October of last year. I was newly married and newly moved to the city, and my husband and I were standing on the sidewalk of 19th street downtown, watching the Magic City Classic Parade. The drum majors were high stepping, the bands were dancing down the street, and the drums were so loud, that when they passed I felt my soul vibrate. We were immersed in a crowd of what seemed like thousands of people. I remember turning towards my husband and shooting him a huge grin. And then I started dancing alongside everyone else. Right there in the middle of the sidewalk; this crazy short white girl in the pink coat, dancing like a loon.
Breathlessly, I told everyone of my acquaintance about the incredible experience that we had and inquired if any one else had gone. I was met with befuddled looks and mutters. I even received a few “Oh, was that today?” replies. This wouldn’t be the first time that I would get these type of responses, or I should say, excuses.
Since coming here over a year ago, my husband and I have gone to shows at galleries, street festivals with dogs, concerts at parks, trivia at bars and openings at the museum. We have attended countless events, and we don’t even go to half of what we are invited to, or that we know about. Every time that I come across someone who tells me that there is nothing to do in Birmingham, or that the city is to dangerous to go out in, or who knows about the goings on and never attend anyway, I’m bewildered. And don’t get me started on the numerous gorgeous parks and preserves right here in the city that people don’t even realize exist. As someone who is in constant awe of nature, I have to ask myself, in such beautiful natural surroundings, how can anyone miss out on all of this?
Yeah, I understand that Birmingham, Alabama is not the most happening city in the union. But, you know what? It sure does try. Dallas, Texas, the city that I’ve called my hometown for more years than a southern lady should admit to, had more drama within its large confines than a telenovela, and not half so much fun stuff going on as Birmingham has. Sure, there’s corruption and hate and crime and all kinds of other awful things here – but you can never move away from that, because every city, no matter how awesome, has those problems too. It wouldn’t be a city if it didn’t. It would be a commune.
So what are our choices here? Either we can join some half-baked hippies out in the nowhere wilderness, where everyone is equal and happy and in love, or we can make the best of what we have, right here where we are.
I’ll be honest, some days the hippies don’t sound like too bad of an idea. But I tell you what: I have never felt so a part of something, so full of good cheer and community, as when I was rocking out in the street on that October morning. The next Magic City Classic parade is on October 27th, and John and I will be there with bells on. I think we are on our way to making it our annual tradition. If you can’t find anything to do on that cold Saturday morning, come rock out with us. We’ll save you a spot on the sidewalk.
Born in San Antonio, and raised in Dallas, Chivon is a former zookeeper from Texas, and a current Naturalist at Ruffner Mountain Nature Preserve in Birmingham, with a degree in Animal Science. She is married to her best buddy, and together they are the proud parents of one incredibly indolent cat, Pandora, whose box contains all the evils of the world.
[Image via Chivon Morse. Feature image via The Birmingham News.]