2008 was a notable year for me. It did not start favorably when a five year relationship ended, in quite poor form by yours truly.
In Nashville I completed my first marathon, not quite breaking my goal of four hours, due to an untimely restroom stop. Later in the year I sampled my first taste of triathlon, a sprint at Lake Lanier, which launched a two year obsession ending in Panama City at Ironman.
In June I met my wife, in July we went to Yellowstone together, and in the same month this blog began. These events are all connected.
We knew each other for only two weeks, and I believe Katie mentioned her upcoming trip to Bozeman while we got to know each other over drinks at JCT’s Bar. It may have been liquid courage, but she invited me to come along. Perhaps I had a touch of beer bravery myself, but I decided to be spontaneous and say yes.
There were six weeks to get to know one another before we left, but it cannot compare to the five days spent totally by ourselves in a fantastic national park, traversing around in the same car. Sleeping in the wilderness, under the cover of the same tent. This was a make or break trip. And in fact, it was the genesis of this blog. For many years the title photo on Eat It, Atlanta was a picture Katie took of me eating a breakfast sandwich in one of Yellowstone’s cafeterias. We took photos of our camp food, which became one of my first posts. Of the many conversations which occurred, I mentioned how I thought a food blog would further my growing cooking obsession, and she was more than supportive, providing the confidence and initiative to begin this endeavor. My very first post was a meal I cooked for her – Thai soup and tofu stir fry.
Katie’s support of this ridiculousness has never wavered, and she has never challenged the time I spend on it. Well, there was the one eating marathon in New York when she started tearing up in Osteria Morini, crying out, “Jimmy, I just can’t eat any more!”, as I forced her to eat tortellini, “They will think you don’t like it!!” That, was a personal moment of reflection and adjustment.
Four years and a few weeks later, today is our first anniversary. Tonight we head to BATON, but tomorrow we return to roughly where it began, this time to Glacier National Park.
Yellowstone is beautiful, with its uncountable hot spring pools, each a shimmering vastness of indescribable color. But I cannot wait for Katie to see Glacier, which has the most dramatic landscapes I’ve seen in the Continental US, along with disappearing glaciers and their impossibly blue run-off lakes, which I’m happy she will see before they depart this world.
As everyone has told us it would be, it has been a challenging year at times, but also the most rewarding, and there’s no one I would rather be alone with in San Francisco, New York, Barcelona, Paris, Las Vegas, Atlanta, and tomorrow, our nation’s greatest park.
Glacier National Park (from my visit in 2006)