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My improbable interception

Vicksburg is getting ready to throw a party to be proud of.

Saturday the City of Vicksburg will host a parade for Super Bowl XLIX hero and Vicksburg native Malcolm Butler. The parade will begin on Belmont Street and the route will follow along Washington Street onto China Street and end at the Vicksburg Convention Center.

I imagine it has been quite a journey from obscurity to instant fame for Butler. He’s seemingly been everywhere from a Disney commercial to a presenter on the Grammy’s. Surely he feels like he’s on top of the world.

I remember a day like that for me six years ago.

I had been married before and after a bitter divorce I spent the next seven years living as a bachelor. Ah, what a life that was.

Contrary to popular belief, men do not like bachelorhood. True, we have no one to tell us what to do and no honey do lists to manage. But inside we’re pretty miserable. Funny, how after we’ve been married a few years we look back on those bachelor days fondly.

Truth is we hate being slobs and eating our dinner straight out of the soup can. I know, because for seven years that’s pretty much how I lived. I like to think that those were glorious times, but I’d be lying.

Mardi Gras always brings back fond memories of the day I intercepted the love of my life from her days of sisterhood. That’s the woman’s version of bachelorhood. True we knew each other as kids growing up in Southern California, but we had lost contact when my family left the promised land and moved east.

California was the land of opportunity and I did not want to leave. After my family settled in Virginia, I promptly joined the Army and flew the nest. Seldom have I returned, except for some holidays and the occasional emergency. I never truly felt at home wherever I lived.

Then six years ago all that changed. Catherine had “found” me on Facebook and after many long telephone conversations we decided it was time to reconnect face-to-face. She bought a ticket under the guise of coming south for Mardi Gras and that’s when it happened.

At the airport in New Orleans, La., I saw my opportunity and stepped in for the interception that would change my life. In an instant I felt 1,000 feet tall and like I had made the play to win the Super Bowl, hit the gaming home run in the World Series and made the slam dunk that wins the NBA Championship all in one.

I fell head-over-heels in love and haven’t looked back since. It’s been a blessing and one that I could have never expected. The improbable happened to me as well as to her. Our lives would become inextricably intertwined that trip and we’ve never thought twice about it.

We didn’t win the Super Bowl, but we sure felt like it. This weekend when Malcolm Butler rolls into our hometown, there I will be with the one I intercepted. Catherine and I are home in Vicksburg and I still feel like I’m on top of the world.

Paul Barry is the managing editor and can be reached by email at paul.barry@vicksburgpost.com or by phone at 601-636-4545 ext. 123.