Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sir Stands-a-Lot for Pres

Today's post is by guest blogger, Wes Tankersley.

In an issue of The Collegian, a few years after Jonathan and I graduated, there was an article about the greatest on-campus pranks. Needless to say, our handiwork had gone down in infamy. Several had been listed, including "Sir Stands A Lot 4 Pres."

Sir Stands A Lot...That's the suit of armor that resides in the English/History Department in Jennings Annex at MC. Sir Stands A Lot was a name handed down to us I'm sure from Matt Ervin & Co. As it often happens, several ongoing thoughts came together one day. It was the day before SGA elections, which we had no respect for, yet we still wanted to participate in because of our God-given right to elect those we saw fit. A lot of frustration had been brewing over how one runs for office at MC. One particular individual was running off the fact that he was a Christian, the son of an evangelist. (Dude, if you read this, I really am sorry that we had fun at your expense). Surely there were better candidates for us to vote for...Sir Stands A Lot...of course, why hadn't we thought of this before. So the mischief begins. We scoped out Alumni Hall, finding possible holes in the security checks of Campus Security. We waited till late afternoon and rigged the side doors to the stairwell opposite Security so we'd go unnoticed, also making sure that the access to the roof was clear. Next we located Sir Stands A Lot, making sure the doors were unlocked and he was movable. Then we waited, all afternoon and evening, not letting on to anybody what greatness was about to occur. Around midnight we found a sign, for our friend the evangelist who was running for office. It was a nice huge vinyl Coke banner. We took it. We found ducktape. Who am I kidding, JD probably had a role in his backpack. We went to JD's room and on the back decided to write "Sir Stands A Lot 4 Pres" ducktape. It was brilliant. We woke Steven up tearing ducktape and moved to the bathroom and finished. Next we rolled it up and walked to the top of the hill, went into Jennings Annex, then planned our next move. We decided that because of cameras we would have to move him downstairs, wait for Security to make their runs, sprint across the street to Provine Chapel around the far side of it, then sprint to the stairwell we had rigged opposite of Security and get it up the stairs and onto the roof as quick as we could. Then we waited, and waited, and waited...maybe an hour or so for things to settle down on campus and clear for our operation. Then came the awkwardness of running with a suit of armor over 7 ft tall around Provine then to Alumni. We successfully got him to roof on the highest part with all the A/C units. Realizing that standing him up and putting out our banner would ruin our chances of him being seen since someone would take him down, we waited...almost till sunrise. So we sat, and talked for hours and I really don't remember what about. It was beautiful up there, quiet, a place you could go on campus to get away and be able to see the city. We loved every minute of it. Close to sunrise we put him out and hung the banner for everyone on campus to see...and then we saw Security. Thinking that we were unseen, but not wanting to take chances, we made a run for it. We made it halfway down before we got caught. We showed our ID's, told the man exactly what we were doing, made promises to take him down in the morning after elections...and he let us go. By the way, Sir Stands A Lot got 27 votes in his first SGA election, not bad for a suit of armor! And even better, a year or so after JD died, Sir Stands A Lot made an appearance at Colonial Heights for a series Brother Mark was doing...we took a picture together.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another Prank

Today’s blog is a two-sided story. Wes will tell his and Jonathan’s side, and I’ll tell the girl’s side. The picture above was taken during the aftermath. It's not the best picture of any of us, but I love it! I laugh out loud every time I see it!

Wes: One of our favorite pranks, that is less well known, is the one where we put the Crews family SUV on the patio in front of the Caf.
Crews: It was the night before we moved out of the dorms for the summer – summer after our sophomore year of college (and JD’s freshman yr). We had been packing up all day long, but there was still so much left to do. A group of us girls were going to the beach the next day as soon as we got all of our stuff out of the dorms. So, on top of moving out, we had to pack for the separate trip to the beach. My mom had let me borrow her SUV so that I could fit all of my stuff to bring home. I can’t remember what on earth we needed from Walmart, but a late night run to Walmart was in the works.
Wes: Like most of our pranks, it was spur of the moment. We knew Elizabeth was borrowing her mom's car, so while she was busy we obtained her keys from her roommate Rachel.
Crews: I had left the room for MAYBE three minutes taking a load to my car. Rachael later told me that JD had sat in wait until I left the room, and then he knocked on the window. Since my car was half packed (and unbeknownst to me, we were without the keys to it), we took Rachael’s car across the street to Walmart.
Wes: We had already decided to park it on the patio and had mapped out the quickest and most efficient way to drive it through the grass and up the bank to situate it properly on the patio. Next step, get my walkie talkies that I had gotten for Christmas (that seems silly now, it was definitely cool then). Next, we decided I was the driver and JD was the look-out for campus security. I parked the car, waited for JD to give me the signal (meaning we figured out the timing of the security rounds) and then as quickly as I could I drove it onto the patio and we ran (not sure what we did with the keys). We ran to JD and Steven's room in New Men's and basked in the glory of the thought of what would transpire next.
Crews: About 45 minutes later, we drive through campus and in front of the CafĂ©, and all of a sudden I start flipping out. Rachael had NO CLUE what they had wanted my keys for, so she was just as surprised as I was to see my truck on the patio! We parked her car and ran to my mom’s truck. About that time, Campus Security came creeping by and wanted to know what was going on. We explained that obviously our friends had pranked us, but we didn’t have the keys and didn’t know how to get it down. About that time, Clinton PD was making the rounds and stopped to chat with Campus Security. They thought the prank was awesome, and they wanted us to up the ante! So, Campus Security asked for the number of those who had done it. Rachael knew Jonathan had come for the keys, so we gave them Jonathan’s name and dorm number. They called…Rachael and I walked away as we tried to muffle our laughter.
Wes: What transpired next was a phone call from Campus Security telling us to come to where the car was with our ID's...we thought about not going. Seeing as how we tended to do the honest thing (really), we went, walking quietly pondering the possible consequences, to find Clinton PD waiting for us at the top of the hill.
Crews: The look on their faces when they saw that it wasn’t just campus security but was Clinton PD was priceless. They both (who really are notorious for being pranksters who always do what’s right and make good) were in complete shock, and I swear I saw a tinge of fear flash in their eyes!
Wes: Somehow, JD was implicated (probably b/c he obtained the keys). They asked for him, he stepped forward...I watched...and they cuffed him.
Crews: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! I actually have a picture of that somewhere. I need to dig it up!
Wes: I thought that was a little hefty, not sure if I was next though, and began to become suspicious when the cop called for all the girls to come out. They loved it.
Crews: I’m pretty sure that was the most fun Clinton PD or Campus Security had had in quite some time! :)
Wes: So Security tried to take Elizabeth's car down, they did a horrible job. I think I moved it eventually, not sure, the end.
Crews: You did. You had to move it because they were so scared of tearing up my car. After we parked my car, we sat on that concrete slab outside Nelson hall talking, laughing and telling stories until 3:45am.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Change of Plans

Ok, so I got a little swamped with work and life, and blogging every day became too much. So, instead, I'm going to keep posting Jonathan stories and pictures throughout March. I'm teaming up with Wes for a mischievous one that will appear early next week. If you'd like to send me a story to be included, feel free.

I fly out today to meet up with my friends Jamie and Kevin for Red Sox Spring Training. I've dreamed of going to Spring Training for as long as I can remember, and I'm utterly giddy this morning in anticipation. We've been planning it since late last summer, and I can't believe it's finally here! ESPN will be at our Saturday and Sunday games, so look for us -- we'll be the idiots making fools of ourselves a la Jimmy Fallon in Fever Pitch. I'm sure I'll do a Spring Training entry or two next week. I'm also spending a couple of nights and a day in Orlando, so I get to see my childhood/high school friend, Skye, and my little brother who's not really my little brother, David. I'm looking forward to being able to spend some time with both of them. After Orlando, I'll be back in Rome doing some dissertating. Prayers for the dissertation are always welcome!
Happy Spring Break, friends!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

This is one of my all-time favorite pictures. After Kirsten left for Africa, Amy was in Memphis, Heather was in Nashville, and I was pretty much the only girl left around with all the guys. We spent most nights playing board games (usually Monopoly and Rummikub), watching movies, or simply hanging out in the Devore kitchen or backyard. I can’t remember exactly when this picture was taken, but I think it was when Jonathan came home for his birthday the March after he moved to California. There are few snapshots that capture a time period in my life like this picture does. Before Jonathan moved to California (and when he made trips home) it wasn’t odd to meet at the Devore house after work, grab dinner, play monopoly until midnight, watch a movie, play one more quick game of monopoly and one of rummikub before heading home around 3:30 am. There were probably gallons of Red Bull consumed. When I think of Jonathan, these nights are some of the first memories to come to mind. With the exception of Wes, most of my college and post-college guy friends were people I came to know by our mutual friendships with Jonathan. These friendships are some of my most cherished, and I’m thankful that they let me tag along. When I look at this picture it’s representative of all those friendships…I think it’s why I love it so much.

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Castle

One random afternoon it was a beautiful spring day, so we decided to pile in the car and go see the castle in Hinds County. It was a spur of the moment mini-road trip. We had heard stories about the castle and its owner (most of which included mafia ties). We got there, and none of us knew what to do. Amy, always the bold one, decided to push the buzzer and see if they would let us inside the gate. After a couple of buzzer pushes, a man’s voice comes on and, in a not very kind voice, asks: "What do you want?" Amy responds that we’d like to see the house. He gruffly responds, “You can see it from there,” and hangs up. We were obviously not wanted. So, we quickly gathered round (ignoring the "Please Remain in your Vehicle" sign, took a picture using self portrait, and got the heck out of there before the owner put a mafia hit on us! We clearly weren’t very good at self portrait -- seeing as how it’s so far away that we are hard to see, but it’s zoomed in too close to see the castle. :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday, Jonathan

Tomorrow is Jonathan's birthday, and he would be turning 30. Throughout the month of March, I always try to do things that remind me of Jonathan -- I eat foods that remind me of him; I watch movies he loved or that we loved and referenced regularly; I play board games; and I try even harder to live by his "anything for a friend" motto. March is always bitter sweet. It is hard to think of Jonathan and not laugh or smile in spite of the piercing sense of absence. I am continuously reminded of how blessed my life is because Jonathan was in it...even if for not as long as we wanted. Beginning tomorrow, I plan on posting a picture and a Jonathan story each day until the 15th. Feel free to add your own stories to the comments or email them to me, and I'll add them in.
Several years ago, I wrote the following for the That's Gonna Leave a Mark blog, but I never posted it here. I'm including it now with a few changes.

When I think of “Jonathan stories” my mind is flooded with millions of stories. I can never settle on one that seems just right or that can begin to explain any part of who Jonathan is. Over the past six years the things that have blown me away is how much Jonathan was in the little, every day things of life. I knew how much Jonathan meant to me, but I don’t think I realized how much Jonathan was a part of me – a part of who I am and a part of my every day life. Not long after Jonathan died, I was having lunch with a friend in downtown Jackson. We were sitting close to a window and were in the middle of a deep conversation. I was mid-sentence when through the window I saw a Red Bull truck, and I stopped immediately and just sat there. My friend told me that one day these small things would be what makes me smile in remembrance, but I’m not for sure I believed him. I now know he was right.
It’s the small things that bring the Jonathan stories, moments, and memories rushing through my mind. The small things like a new board game on the shelf at the store – a game that would be perfect for an all night gamefest, and a game at which Jonathan would obviously beat me. I almost always think of Jonathan when renting a movie. The obvious movies like The Ladies’ Man or Lock, Stock aren’t the ones that stop me in my tracks. However, movies like Butch Cassidy, Ronin or What About Bob, or Mean Machine, or even the latest movie with lots of car chases and explosions are the ones that make me stop, smile, and maybe laugh out loud. When in the grocery store about my bi-monthly shopping for food I come across Tab or Fresca, I always think of those post-church, Sunday night parties at the Devore’s. Foods like meatloaf, crunchy romaine toss, French bread pizzas, chocolate chip cake and yellow cake with chocolate icing all have Jonathan attached to them in my mind. I never see a blue, Z71 drive down the road that I don’t listen for it to sound like JD’s truck or think of the times Jonathan would use the intercom to tell motorists to go faster or get out of his way. There are millions of these small things, and they are the things that I cherish most.
Of all the things that remind me of Jonathan, one stands out the most. Jonathan loved sunsets. He was borderline obsessed with them. His ebay username even had the word sunset in it. For me, sunsets are the one thing that capture the most of who Jonathan was. As I think back, all of our serious, heart-to-heart conversations happened while watching the sunset. On the Reservoir watching the sunset after playing catch for an hour, we sat and talked about how he really felt about moving to California; we talked about life and dreams and what those meant to us. A year later after spending the day on a road trip for a shoot, we watched the sunset over the Pacific Ocean from Ventura and realized that not much had changed in how we viewed our lives and dreams.
Jonathan often got frustrated about being in California, and he needed to be reminded of why he was there. No matter where Jonathan moved (and he moved tons in that year and a half), one of the first things he did was to find a place to watch the sunset. He couldn’t always find time to go and sit to watch the sunset, but he tried to at least three of four times a week. His place (which moved each time he did) was a place he could go and sit for an hour and forget about whatever was going on; it was a place where he could re-charge. Sometimes he would call while he sat and watched the sunset; on busy days it was often the only moment he got to sit still or make a call. He would try to describe what he was seeing, but as often with God’s creation, words never were enough. He often talked about how the clouds made a difference in the colors and the beauty of the sunset. In a place that often seemed Godless to him, Jonathan could always see God in His sunsets. I think it served as a reminder that God hadn’t called Jonathan to California and just left him; God was still there with him.
I don’t get to see the sunset daily, or nearly enough as I would like. I often only get to see them when driving home to Mississippi. But when I see the sunset, I’m reminded of all of who Jonathan is. Eudora Welty says, “The memory is a living thing – it too is in transit. But during its moment, all that is remembered joins, and lives – the old and the young, the past and the present, the living and the dead.” Sunsets have become one of my favorite things too because as I watch, with the help of my memory, if only for a moment, Jonathan still lives.

Weekend Home

I went home this past weekend for Anderson's birthday party. We didn't have the boys for most of the weekend, but the time we did have them was priceless. Charlie came over on Saturday afternoon and he was in the most mischeivously adorable mood ever. He tried to feed me soapy water telling me it was Diet Coke. He gave himself away by giggling uncontrollably! He let me hold him in my arms and tickle him silly. He wanted to color, so we sat down and colore side by side. Sunday both boys came over. We went on a Gator ride down through the neighborhood and a nature hunt. Anderson wanted to run down the back hill at full force into my awaiting arms at the bottom of the hill. I gave him "piggy bank" rides around the house and tickled him silly too! It was a weekend that was fairly non-eventful, but the tiny moments and sounds of laughter from the boys have skyrocketed to some of my favorite moments with the boys in awhile. I love how much they let me love them and how preciously hilarious they are. It was a great weekend!