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LETTER from t h e e d i t o r When I was a kid, I never dressed up as a Disney princess. Instead, I wore a long, calico skirt, button-down blouse, crocheted shawl, red and white bonnet, and tennis shoes. I’d grab a shovel and a muffin pan before running outside to make porridge out of dirt, grass, and water. At the time, I was obsessed with Laura Ingalls Wilder. The books, not the TV series. These stories touched a place in my heart that longed for adventure, for an epic quest, and I felt that the past had more to offer me than the present. However, time machines didn’t exist, so I turned to daydreaming about the future instead. I’d put on a nice, “professional” dress, cut out some business cards with my name on them, grab one of my mom’s extra purses - the one that looked most like a briefcase - and pretend to answer calls and type really fast on the computer, the way she did. I wanted my world to look different. But my reproductionsof the past and my anticipation for the future always left me with the feeling that something was missing. Those childhood years are long gone. Though I still occasionally drift back into the habit of diverting my attention from the reality of my todays, I’m learning to love them. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. In the fall 2018 issue of Cardinal & Cream, we’re sharing everyday stories of authentic people, observing the way they approach both the climactic moments of life as well as those which require courageous consistency. We hope these stories will inspire you to look at your own life with a fresh appreciation, to see the beauty and remarkable originality of the everyday, your everyday - whether that’s the realization of a lifelong

dream to play professional basketball, learning to thrive during a season of singleness, trusting God in the face of potentially devastating news, settling in West Tennessee after a six-month trip around the nation, revitalizing old styles, creating new recipes, or realizing it’s ok not to be the most impressive person in the room. We often try to escape, to avoid, to distract ourselves from the right now we don’t want to recognize because of the discomfort, pain, monotony, or uncertainty that accompanies it. But rather than protecting ourselves, we’re actually barricading our souls from the vibrant colors of this messy yet exquisite, lovely present. I’ve come to the conclusion that tears of grief and tears of joy often fall at the same time, and when we allow those tears to rain down on the soil of our hearts, regardless of who’s watching, we might just be able to glean the good we had inadvertently ignored. College is a time of transition. Throughout the course of four years, this incessant change and growth can build or break us. We can either latch on to what we wish were true with a white-knuckled grip or decide each morning that we’ll live with open hands that day. I believe every moment we experience is suspended in the balance between these options. If we can master the art of simultaneously cherishing our personal histories and daring to hope for a life full of feeling and unprecedented grace, our right nows will be so much richer.


b r e n t wa l k e r

suzanne rhodes




J. clark hubbard A R T S & E N T E R TA I N M E N T EDITOR

ta m a r a f r i e s e n PHOTO EDITOR


joshua welsch

Faculty Advisor

Fiction Writer

aaron hardin


Faculty Advisor

Lead Designer


e m i ly d r o s t


joel holland Poet


Assistant Designer & Illustrator


a u s t i n m a d d ox

c a m p b e l l pa d g e t t PHOTOGRAPHER



liz caldwell A S S I S TA N T E D I T O R

Follow us at Cardinal & Cream on Facebook and @cardandcream on I n s t a g r a m a n d Tw i t t e r.



P O L I C Y: The Cardinal & Cream is a bi-annual student run publication. Perspectives are the opinions of their creators, not the staff of Union University. The Cardinal & Cream is a member of the Southeast Journalism Conference, Tennessee Press Association, UWIRE, and the Baptist Press Collegiate Journalism Conference.



valid and beautiful A N H O N E S T C O N V E R S AT I O N A B O U T S I N G L E N E S S


The seven of us gather around Ashley Akerson’s coffee table on a warm, partly-cloudy afternoon, each holding one of her charming mugs with a design different from all the rest. Our goal is to have an honest conversation about singleness — what that looks like personally and what that looks like for the Union community — not because we see this reality as a hardship in nature or as our primary point of identification as women, but rather because we seek to acknowledge this state of being as valid and beautiful, sharing perspectives which may be common yet commonly unrecognized. Joining the conversation: Ann Singleton, Associate Provost & Dean for Instruction; Ashley Akerson, Resident Director for the Heritage Complex; Erin Slater, Director of the Center for Academic Support; Julie Bradfield, Director of University Ministries & Director of Mobilization; Aubrie Brister, Junior Nursing Major & Resident Advisor; Suzanne Rhodes, Sophomore Journalism Major & News Editor for Cardinal & Cream. MATTANAH: How can we see singleness as a gift rather than an obstacle to overcome? ASHLEY: I lived in a very sheltered home, so I was never allowed to date anyone until I got to a certain age. However, my mom never let me know what that certain age was. I’m very much a rule follower and I suppose I just never asked. So there’s that.

I’ve loved single life. I’ve also had many dreams like many girls do of getting married and what that may look like. But I’m learning to live in the present and just enjoy life for what it has. JULIE: A helpful framework for me has been that the Lord does not withhold good. So if he doesn’t withhold good, that means the things that he has given me are good. That includes being single. SUZANNE: In the movies we watch and in the media, there’s an underlying idea that people who are single are less-than, unhappy, crazy, obsessive. Then once they’re coupled, it’s like they’re a complete being now. But it’s not any less of a life if you’re single. If you’re in a relationship, it’s not a completion of your life. It’s just different. Not less or better. There’s different blessings and hardships associated with each. MATTANAH: What does contentment look like, practically? What does it take to live fully right now? ERIN: Contentment isn’t about what one has necessarily, but rather about the posture of that person’s heart. SUZANNE: And contentment isn’t purging yourself of the desire for something you don’t have. It’s understanding that even if God doesn’t give you what you’re actually wanting that you still trust him. ERIN: being able to hold desire in one hand, but being comfortable with the singleness in the other. 7

SUZANNE: Yes! Jesus didn’t necessarily want to go to the cross. He actually asked God if there was another way. But he was content in it, because he wanted to do God’s will, God’s way. That’s something I’ve had to wrap my mind around. Is my life going to be ok even if…

showed up in exponentially more ways than I could ever imagine. There have been weekends where I think, God I just need a friend today. Then I walk into church and — and this has literally happened — two people come up to me and say, “I just want to be your friend!”

ANN: And even though it may not feel good, we trust, so we’re willing to embrace it.

MATTANAH: How have you addressed sexual temptation?

ASHLEY: Ever since I’ve accepted this job, there will be moments when I need to vent or just fellowship with different people. Often, I’ll think, Oh I need a guy — so he can listen to all my whining I guess? But guys don’t even want that.

AUBRIE: I was reading a book by Rosaria Butterfield called The Secret Thoughts of An Unlikely Convert, and she talks about how so many Christian people think that once they get married, they’ll no longer watch pornography, no longer masturbate, because having sex with their spouse will fix those things. But that’s false and is the primary reason why 50 percent of Christians still get divorced.

In the times when I turned to prayer and told the Lord that I just needed a good friend or someone who could hear me out, he has


Marriage does not redeem sin; only Christ can do that. We often look at marriage as a redeeming factor, when Jesus should be where we go to find freedom from sin. JULIE: Going off of that, I actually just finished Jackie Hill Perry’s book, Gay Girl, Good God and very similarly, one of the things she talks about toward the end is how the church deals with LGBT and singleness. She uses the terminology of a ‘heterosexual gospel’ and how in a sense what the church has laid out is for somebody coming out of any of those areas of sin and exchanging that idol for the idol of marriage. ERIN: Also, when I think about how we’ve been created, the need for physical contact is one of the important needs that I think God has build into us — even in the form of a little kid coming up and sitting on your lap or holding your hand. But I think it’s tough in the Christian circles to do that appropriately. That’s something I think we could do better as a community, as we realize just how far and how helpful the small act of physical touch can go. Especially when that’s your love language. Some people may not want that, but that’s high on my list. [*JULIE slowly reaches over to pat ERIN’S hand as everyone bursts into laughter.*] JULIE: I tell the guys in my office, ‘Don’t touch each other!’ when they walk up and start massaging each others’ shoulders. Every time, I think, My neck is so tight right now, but I can’t ask you to do that for me! Not that I think it’s inappropriate for them to do that for each other, but… [*laughing*] ERIN: ...but you want that too! MATTANAH: What are some of the stigmas associated with being single, and how are those stigmas perpetuated on Union’s campus? ERIN: I think one way it gets perpetuated is in chapel. I think so many of our speakers, in an attempt to relate to students, talk about their experience of meeting a boyfriend or girlfriend — of course most of the time they’re men, so it’s “meeting my wife.” ASHLEY: Which is another discussion altogether… ERIN: There really are, though, so many other ways to relate to students. Speakers’ using their relationship experience at Union feels like the cheap and easy way for people from the stage to relate to students, and I think it just perpetuates the I’m less than, I’m not complete, and I’m missing out on something if this doesn’t happen at this time.

AUBRIE: I had a Board of Trustees member talk to me about that. I was at a dinner, and he told me I better find a husband here. It was the first semester of my freshman year. ANN: Oh, bless you, my child! ERIN: It’s unfortunate! AUBRIE: And I almost wonder if he would’ve said that if I had been a guy. Maybe, maybe not. I don’t know. I would really love to be a wife and mom someday, but I think a lot of times it’s assumed that men are here to get their careers and then women are here to get their husbands. Well, I’m in nursing school, and it is so hard! I wouldn’t be learning all that I’m learning just to get a man. ANN: I think it goes back to our purpose here. Why did God create me and for whom and for what good work? And if I have to always put it off in the future, something is wrong. We can’t put him in a box, thinking “someday.” We just can’t. That’s not who God is. I can tell you that, girls. I’m older. That’s not who God is. AUBRIE: I’ve heard so many people say that if you just trust God and stop thinking about wanting to be married, that’s exactly when he’s going to bless you with a man… ERIN: So really, that means, It’s your fault you’re single. AUBRIE: Right! But that would be using the Lord to get what I want. He’s not the means to an end. He is the end. And he should not be used for my gain. I do need to trust him more, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to get married because of it. ERIN: I know that as a whole, marriage is seen as a more privileged position to be in. I also don’t think the church properly calls attention to Apostle Paul’s exhortation about singleness. It’s almost as if the only way to be sanctified is through marriage. It makes you wonder, Oh, so I’m never going to be fully matured until I get married? What’s implied — the you haven’t been married, so you can’t understand certain things — can contribute to feeling less-than or disqualified in some way. SUZANNE: I definitely didn’t have friends who held me up to the highest standards. All throughout high school, they constantly had boyfriends and were doing things with guys. I felt this shame, especially


when they’d say things like, “Oh, poor Suzanne. She doesn’t have a boyfriend.” I found myself wondering, What’s wrong with me? and lowering my standards and expectations, trying to fit in with the rest of my friend group. The Lord was gracious in preventing me from ever having a relationship in high school. I was furious at the time. But now that I’m on the other side of it, have matured in my walk with God, and have seen his goodness more clearly, I recognize how beautiful it was. It’s not shameful being single. It doesn’t make you any less of a human, any less of a woman, and any less desirable. MATTANAH: What have you learned as a single person?


JULIE: I’ve learned that it’s important to have people who know enough about my life to also know when something is off. As a single it can be really easy to live different lives in different places with different people. I need people from all the various spaces of my life who have enough contact with me to know when something isn’t right. It can be hard to put ourselves in that space. ERIN: Being a part of families and being connected to other people in general is so important — a necessity. We’re designed for community, so we can’t be an island. Being a part of someone else’s family minimizes some of the bite and sting of singleness that people commonly struggle with. But also, I’ve learned to pay attention to the fact that families need us as singles too. We have things that we can offer — and that means more than just babysitting.

ANN: The one thing I have learned is that God is good all the time. I graduated from Union, married a Union alumnus, and we had two children. After 23 years of marriage, we divorced, although we had already been separated for three years by then. [to SUZANNE] Your feeling of shame has been a part of my journey as well. God does hate divorce. But when you start saying God hates divorce, and you’ve got that label, it affects you. Personally, I felt that the church thought of me as a label and not as a person. There were several times when I was wanting to spend time with people, and those people distanced themselves, saying they didn’t want to take sides. I didn’t want them to take sides. I just wanted them to be with me on that day. The emphasis was on divorce, what I had done about it, and whether we were getting back together. I just wish they could’ve seen me as a person, not a label. ERIN: …Or a situation to be fixed. ANN: Yes! Yes. MATTANAH: What does the workplace and ministry look like for a single woman? How do you find a balance between the desire for a family and the desire for a fulfilling career? ANN: I’ve never figured out the perfect balance. I was a professional before I had children, and then I stayed home with

my two children. But when Union University asked me to come teach one class in special ed, I took it, and it was like a lifeline to me. I did not realize how overwhelmed I was trying to be a stay-at-home mom, and I do believe that God gave me gifts and strengths and passion to offer learning to people. I just know that God put me here to teach. It’s who I am at my core. Yes, I could do that at home with my children. I tried my best doing it completely at home, but I wasn’t successful. I really don’t appreciate people saying it has to be one or the other. God has different plans for different people. ERIN: He’s just that creative. ANN: Who knew, right?! ASHLEY: My dream would be to open up a studio in an urban, inner-city environment. I’ve often, in fear, wondered what guy would want to do that…support me living in the middle of a rough city with neighbors who probably wouldn’t care about us. But God is so good. He cares, and he’s put that calling in my heart for a reason. So I’m sure there’s a man out there who would love to come alongside me in that. Once we realize who God is, that fear has to dwindle. He’ll provide. MATTANAH: What advice would you give a woman at Union who is learning to embrace being single? ANN: If God is sovereign, God is sovereign. He designed us and created us for his purpose. There are no caveats there; there’s no addendum. I find it helpful just reminding myself that his plans are not to harm us, but for us to flourish. And I hold onto that every day. ERIN: I would ask — if you could see way out into your future that it’s not God’s will for you to be married, would you start living life differently? If your answer is yes, then start living that life right now.




After Louis Simpson We’re driving through the endless cornfields of Southern Illinois when my father asks, “Want to hear my favorite band?” He slides in a red CD. A hoarse voice sings about dandelions. When the last blare of the trumpet fades, I ask my dad to play it again. Headbanging! He smiles as I sing along to the ska punk band that broke up the year he discovered them. Songs about blue combs, lost battles, and scars. Lots of scars. Years later, we watch their reunion concert. The green stage lights color the white hairs on my father’s beard. The hoarse voice wears another band’s t-shirt. He fumbles with the mic, fingers wrapped in bandages, complaining about aches and cramps in his “good” shoulder. The trumpets sound, and he forgets the lyrics to songs he wrote twenty years ago. The rest of us sing for him. My father isn’t watching the stage. He’s watching me. Watching my fist punch the air in time to drumbeats I’ve known since I was five. Time molds all of us, shifting our features, wrinkling our skin. Helping us become those who made us. And the red CD that spun in my father’s car now spins in mine. 13


Oven S’mores Imagine: it’s April 25. It’s not too hot, not too cold. All you need is a light jacket. You walk outside to see the sun slowly sink behind the horizon, and you think to yourself, Wow, this is perfect bonfire weather. Suddenly, thoughts of marshmallows roasting on an open fire and sitting under a sky full of stars fills your head, and you simply can’t contain your excitement. But alas, you suddenly remember Union frowns upon students starting fires in their dorms. Fear not, friends, because Lydia Goins, a sophomore psychology major, has saved the day with her simple, affordable and collegeproof oven s’mores!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • One 7oz. Hershey’s Chocolate Bar • A box of graham crackers • A bag of mini marshmallows • A cookie sheet (or some tinfoil because this is college) • A cat-shaped spatula (optional but encouraged) DIRECTIONS: • Turn the oven on 350 degrees (that knob in the middle of your stove with the numbers).


Goins said her mom spontaneously thought up the recipe one night, and it soon became a regular treat for their household. “She’s not much of a cook, so we make the fun and simple stuff at home,” Goins laughed. “It was always something that we were able to help her with and do with her.” After one bite of this marshmallow delight, you’ll be addicted, so gather around the coffee table in your dorm room, pull up a video of a bonfire on YouTube, and enjoy the ridiculously messy perfection of an oven s’more.

• Place as many graham crackers around the cookie sheet as you want. • Put some chocolate on each graham cracker. • Cover the choco and graham crackers with marshmallows. • If you want to go with a traditional s’more, put one more graham cracker on top. If you’re feeling a little fancy, leave it as is. • Stick it in the oven. • Let it bake for 8-9 minutes.


The Fancy Stir Fry You know those moods where you’re feeling too boujee for Ramen, but too broke for Genghis Grill? Yeah, we’ve all been there. That’s why Robby Goette, a junior computer science major, is here to save the day with his fancy and college kid approved stir fry! This affordable and simple meal requires a long prep time that Goette said allows you the opportunity to relax and de-stress as you “cut up a lot of stuff to let all your anger out.” After teaching himself how to cook like a pro, Goette shares tips on how to create a killer stir fry that can make any college student feel like Bobby Flay.


WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • A cutting board and pan • A knife (scissors might also work if you’re too cheap to buy a knife) • Red, green and yellow sweet peppers • Carrots • Broccoli • Chicken DIRECTIONS: • Cut up all your veggies and release. • Dice your chicken and start cooking it in the pan on a high heat (move the knob to HI). • Pour sesame oil over the chicken and sprinkle it with “the spice you desire.” • Once the chicken is completely cooked, turn your heat to 4-5 and throw your diced veggies in the pan before submerging everything in soy sauce. • Cook for about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

The 1 a.m. What is the staple of a college student’s life? You guessed it. Ramen noodles. Nehemiah Guinn, a sophomore philosophy and accounting major, prides himself on his dedication to this hearty and nutritious meal, which costs less than thirty cents at your local Walmart. He even went almost two weeks eating nothing but his beloved Ramen noodles. “I ate Ramen usually for lunch and dinner, and at the end of the first week, I started feeling a little weird most of the time,” said Guinn. “Then, a few days into the next week, every time I would stand up, I’d feel like I was about to pass out and really just felt out of it all the time...almost feverish.” Guinn finally disclosed his eating habits to his roommate, who suggested that Guinn should probably start eating different food. However, even after his near-death experience, Guinn didn’t give up on his Ramen. Instead of making it his primary meal, though, he decided it was best as a 1 a.m. pick-me-up. “It’s like when you’re getting into that stage where you’re just sitting around on your couch, watching strange videos on YouTube,” explained Guinn. “You’re not sure how you got there, but you know that you’re hungry.”

Guinn advised, that in moments like these, always enjoy “The 1 a.m.” with one of three, mouthwatering toppings: the chicken-flavored seasoning (which is the best ramen flavor, according to Guinn), teriyaki sauce or Chick-Fil-A’s Polynesian sauce.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • A package of Ramen noodles (flavoring of your choice) • A microwave-safe bowl (no, Styrofoam bowls are not microwave-safe) • Toppings of your choice DIRECTIONS: • Remove noodles from the package. • Place said noodles in bowl (again, I know Styrofoam bowls are cheap, but please don’t microwave them). • Cover noodles in water. • Microwave for 3-5 mins. • Top the noodles with all your sauces of choice/ leftover food that’s been shoved to the back of the fridge. • Smother them in Chick-Fil-A’s Polynesian sauce.


Tofu Nugs with Steamed Veggies “Honestly, I found this recipe on one of those Facebook cooking videos,” said Hannah Fryling, a junior TESOL and Spanish major, while holding her 100 percent vegan dinner of tofu nuggets and steamed vegetables. Eating healthy is an option that most college students forget exists, but Fryling is here to teach us that it can be as simple as microwaving veggies in a bowl. After she shocked the world with the news of her vegan-ness, many cruel hippie and tofu-eating stereotypes were thrown at her, even though she had never eaten tofu before. Peer pressure to conform to the ways of the vegans overtook her life, so she made the tofu nuggets as a joke. However, she soon discovered the beauty and goodness of this soybean product, made from the curds of soy milk. Fryling said her duty is to defend tofu. Claiming it is underrated, she is here to share her recipe with the world.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED: • A block of tofu (Fryling said to make sure it’s “extra firm”) • Veganaise (or just regular mayonnaise if vegan isn’t your thing) • A bowl of breadcrumbs • A bag of microwavable vegetables • Chick-Fil-A Polynesian sauce (because apparently it’s vegan) DIRECTIONS: for the tofu nuggets • Turn the oven on 400 degrees. • Open the package of tofu, drain the water and press a paper towel to the tofu to dry. • Cut your tofu into cute little cubes (“I just like bite-sized foods,” said Fryling). • Dip your nugs into your mayo/veganaise. • Dip your nugs into the breadcrumbs. • Place them on an oven-safe pan and bake for 30-40 minutes. • Smother them in Chick-Fil-A’s Polynesian sauce. for the steamed vegetables • Open the pack of frozen veggies. • Rinse the vegetables. • Place them in a microwave-safe bowl and cover the bowl (leave one side open to vent). • Microwave for 4-5 minutes (depending on what you cook). • Smother them in Chick-Fil-A’s Polynesian sauce.




clark’s comedic corner B I G H O L LY W O O D M O V I E S A N D S H O W S I F THEY TOOK PLACE ON UNION’S CAMPUS


FOOTLOOSE: Due to University Community Value Statements, Section V, subsection H, found in the Union Student handbook, it’s illegal to dance on campus. So when Kevin Bacon shows up, he’s asked politely to leave. A much shorter film than the 1984 classic.

INSIDE OUT: Just a regular day at Union, as everyone answers the walk-by question, “Hey, how are you?” with the two-second, automatic reply, “Doing well.” Everyone is always doing well, afraid that they’ll look abnormal if they act like a real, genuine individual.

FRIDAY THE 13TH: When a menacing killer comes to Union’s campus, the students realize they are safe in the girls’ dorms. But what happens Friday at 2 p.m., when open dorm hours open?

THE REVENANT: When it snows two whole inches over J-term, several intrepid students attempt to get to the library in order to study.

CASABLANCA: When a freshman comes to Union, he runs into his old flame, who’s now “dating Jesus.” Will he choose the girl or her mission of spreading the gospel?

OCEAN’S ELEVEN: A group of students pulls off the biggest heist of all time — getting all of their chapel credit with one dynamic scheme.

THE GRADUATE: The year is 2024. A graduate from the class of 2012 is still sticking around, making friends with each consecutive class. He swears he’s going to get out of Jackson. Someday...

MOONLIGHT: We don’t talk about this.

HOUSE OF CARDS: SGA. But this time, there’s murder. THE GODFATHER: A graduating senior realizes he will have to leave the school, and begins to train up an aspiring, equally charismatic freshman. DIE HARD: Locked out of his second-story dorm, a sophomore must scale the outside of Hurt 4, avoiding the gaze of RAs and brown-nosing snitches. SAVING PRIVATE RYAN: When a naive freshman comes into school with a pre-med major and goes missing during the second week, it’s up to her friends to try and find her, and convince her that it’s just not worth it. JAWS: Buster gets a hankering for human flesh.

MEAN GIRLS: Eh, best to leave this one up to your imagination. BLADE RUNNER: A welcome week leader is sent to find four homeschooled kids. They seem to be blending in better than previously thought possible… GONE GIRL: Every Union relationship, but a little less complicated and mind-bending. CATCH ME IF YOU CAN: One man’s quest to break into Cobo for every meal. THE 400 BLOWS (No one knows what this French new wave film is, so there’s no need to put anything here.) GROUNDHOG DAY: Every day, students wake up, and finals week seems to be equally far away. FREAKS AND GEEKS: Just Union.

JURASSIC PARK: When biology majors get locked in White Hall on Halloween, they realize that the taxidermied animals don’t always stay quite so taxidermied.




Scott Jeffrey walked up to the Bowld desk one evening to find a disappointed Sabrina Clendenin, who was attempting to repair a broken coffee pot. Scott asked if he could bring it back home with him that night to take a look at it. When he realized that the price of the replacement part would be more than a new coffee pot, he bought Sabrina and the other RAs a brand new, bright red Mr. Coffee maker.

down to Middlebury, Indiana, just because there was a place we loved there in Amish country. We figured we’d start out there.”

Scott retired from police work in Michigan after 28 years of service. His wife Laurie had been working part-time at Western Theological Seminary, and they became ready for a change. Their daughter Natalie was married, and their son Matt was in the Marine Corps at that time, living in South Carolina with his wife. Their original plan to move homes turned into a six-month-long “journey across America.”

After staying a night in Middlebury, they headed West. They spent some time in Seattle with Scott’s family, toured the Winchester Mystery House and Wine Country in California, met with Scott’s nephew in San Diego, stayed in a friend’s house for a few nights in Las Vegas, saw the legendary Field of Dreams from the 1989 film featuring Kevin Costner, visited their daughter in law in South Carolina, stopped to eat lunch at a 50s diner and explore a major archeological dig on the open prairie of South Dakota, went tent camping at Yellowstone, and much more.

“Literally on the day we closed [our] house, we had our stuff all put in storage, had the back of our Volkswagen Station Wagon packed full of camping gear with no direction to go and no planning,” Scott said. “We headed

They were often asked by bewildered acquaintances how they could put up with each other for so long in one vehicle, in less-than-comfortable circumstances. But this wasn’t their first time.


Scott and Laurie met in the Navy. She was a nurse. He was on an aircraft carrier. Their paths crossed for a short period of time when they were both training in Bremerton, Washington.The first time Scott saw Laurie, he was throwing a frisbee down a hallway with a friend, and she happened to walk down that same hallway carrying a load of laundry. “We saw each other every day after that,” Laurie said. “I even snuck off the ship. We were doing a practice general quarters drill where nobody could leave the ship. But the bottom of the ship had a hole cut in the engine room where I 24

worked, so I went out through the bottom of the ship, up the ship yard, to the dry dock that we were in. Then I snuck in the hospital through the fire escape to the ward where she was working. The other nurses knew that I was there. They didn’t care. We’d just hang out and talk.” Three weeks later, he asked her to marry him, knowing that if she didn’t their paths may never cross again, since she was being stationed in Japan. As newlyweds, living in a city among people who didn’t speak their language and at a time when long distance calls to family and friends back home cost $45 a minute, they were forced to communicate

with each other, work out their differences, and figure out what it would take to live together happily. These life lessons from the beginning of their marriage were helpful during long rides together and camping in the middle of wide-open plains with no one else nearby. “How would you like to wake up with about 20-30 buffalo standing outside your tent?” Scott asked. “They could walk right through it and crush you in a heartbeat.” 25


During their time at Yellowstone, they met a couple from Jackson who spoke highly of the area. While they didn’t think a lot about it at the time, their travels would eventually lead them there, where they would buy a log cabin on a beautiful three-acre property with a pond. They would come walk the grounds of a beautiful campus called Union University, where Scott would eventually accept a job offer for Safety and Security. “As we traveled, we looked for homes along the way,” Scott said. “Do we want to live in Oregon, California, Nevada, Florida? We just didn’t know, but we believed God would lead us wherever we ended up.” They both agree that through every stage of their journey, and even through every stage of their lives, God has been directing the path and orchestrating all the details in just the right way. They said that the most wonderful moments of their lives “shouldn’t have happened.” It was obvious to them that someone else was writing their story. Laurie found the log cabin in Medina. They fell in love with the place, and began renovating it. They even sanded the entire exterior of the cabin together by hand. One of the factors that had initially drawn Scott and Laurie to the area was the cost of living, along with the warm weather. But the longer they stayed, the more connected they felt to the people, especially the Union community and Northside United Methodist Church, where Laurie works as the secretary. “It’s not the perfect place,” Scott said. “But I can honestly say that the people we’ve been close to around here have been good, genuine people.” Scott and Laurie frequently invite people over for dinner or to go fishing in the pond. They have a tradition of asking their guests to sign the back of the wooden staircase. Many of those names belong to Union students. “I almost feel like they’re my kids,” Scott said. “I can’t solve every problem. None of us can. But I’m here to care for them, and to watch out for them.”




James Murphy once sang, But I’m losing my edge to better-looking people With better ideas and more talent And they’re actually really, really nice This line has been a favorite. But it wasn’t until I went on my honeymoon in Gatlinburg that I realized the weight of it. How it was warning me. If you’ve never been to the area, let me explain. Excess, surface-level entertainment, a comical disdain for the environment, advertising that appeals to the most absurd and basest instincts and love of jamborees, a cuisine that is made up of pancakes and moonshine, the sight of Ripley’sBelieve-It-Or-Not Alcatraz! The town is everything wrong with tourist culture. People are trying so hard to have as much fun as mathematically possible in the space of a few days, which causes them to stress and over-schedule (the very thing they do back home). Who enjoys waiting in line for 20 minutes to get fudge? At least at home they have the dream of a vacation motivating them to get through the day. But here, you are at vacation. You are doing 29

vacation. There is nothing restful about animatronic banjo players next to the 20 - foot talking red shrimp statue outside Bubba Gump Shrimp Emporium. But of course, I’m a young, liberal guy who lives in Tennessee, so I have to pass through this unfettered-capitalist-nightmare to get to my ultimate destination: honeymooning in the Great Smoky Mountains. I find myself dispensing snarky asides and David Foster Wallace-esque diagnoses of how meaningless all this vapid commercialism is and how it’s ironically choking to death the very thing that brought people here in the first place. So, we go up to the smokies, and we are having a wonderfully romantic time witnessing the boundless beauty of maybe the last protected space of natural growth in the industrialized world. While hiking, my wife asked me why the smokies were so smoky. Why did the clouds and atmosphere act the way that they do? I knew that was where my knowledge hit the wall. This didn’t register at all in the moment. I gave an okay answer. As we reached the beautiful rivers and their misty air I took her hand and we kissed. I had an undercurrent of confidence, self-assurance, and of genuine optimism for perhaps the first time in my life. Afterwards, we came to a small shaded area in which numerous families were all quietly eating lunch before entering the scenic valley loop of the mountains. Joy and I found a rock to sit on and eat carrot cake. I watched closely at the people around us. So few sounds came from anyone. There was no shouting, no crying, not even any real disruptive noises that normally come with packs of car-tired children. 30

I overheard a guy behind me talking about why the mountains have their misty texture. His explanation was concise and more informed than mine had been. I turned around and expected to see the typical pencil-pushing geek with greasy hair talking to his one friend. Instead, I saw a taller, more handsome, and more well-dressed person than myself. He was funny. He was making the sort of snarky comments I would have made, but he was doing them better than I would have. He probably knows memes I don’t get. He was young, and I’m now a married guy at the age of 22 who has to go back and finish school to get his degree for his job.


I’m not exactly sure why this seemingly innocuous moment is what finally did it. It being the realization that I have distinct limits, that I’m no longer on the upward incline towards more sophistication and talent that we are all on when we are growing up. Yes, I will have experience and yes, I will theoretically grow wiser if I’m careful. But I can’t take pride in being new and improved which is an unknown assumption I have had. So much of my self-confidence and even selfvalue was in being a cynical and fast-talking young person who could fly by the seat of his pants and who could garner attention by being the young but “smart guy in the room.” The moment I realized this mattered to me was the same moment I lost it. Now I’m simply the guy in the room. Actually, I’m just a guy in the room. A guy who needs to be paying more attention to his studies because there’s someone I’m now responsible for. The weirdest part of it all? I then found comfort in Gatlinburg. I loved the decadence, I loved the sappiness, I even loved the giant Batmobile replica. I didn’t have to pretend to be anything. I could just enjoy the stupidity. Joy and I went to the Melting Pot and ran around town in the rain. We saw a gorgeous view from a giant red tower that cost us $12 each. We waited in line for fudge. Don’t get me wrong, the town is still ridiculous and nothing to emulate. It’s still an ominous sign that the park, a supposedly protected space that frees you from 21st century noise and distraction, is at the very heart of the most distracted and commercialized town I’ve ever been to. I just also get it now. I get why you’d run to it. A lot of consumerism can be cheap anesthesia for an ambient and non-verbal pain. The pain of limitation and of not being the best. The pain of normalcy. A pain in which there is no immediately obvious antidote. In fact, maybe there is no antidote. Maybe I’m too used to being an affluent American and have forgotten that not every problem can be fixed. Maybe I’ve forgotten that some wounds are required if you want to mature or even just live. Maybe I was never really taught that in the first place. Hopefully, I’ve been taught that now.



A Plan and a Purpose E D G E FA M I LY R E L O C AT E S T O WEST TENNESSEE


Sunlight poured through the windows of the living room in John and Denise Infield’s apartment, illuminating their faces as they talked about their daughter. “Mariana has a gift for languages and for trying to communicate with people with other languages,” Denise said. “She will make you feel like you’re the most special person. She has that gift.” Mariana Infield is a first-year student in Union’s EDGE program, a two-year transitional program designed for students with special needs to learn, develop life and social skills, enjoy the college experience, gain independence and prepare for a job in the real world. Her parents are currently in the process of moving from Wisconsin to Collierville, Tennessee, about an hour away from Jackson. John and Denise, who have three older, biological children, adopted Mariana from Romania at 16-months-old through a Christian adoption agency. Selecting a child was easy. After watching VHS tapes sent from the adoption agency, they took the first child on the first of the five tapes. 34

Though they were told she didn’t have special needs, Denise, who is a special education teacher, knew pretty soon that Mariana was behind developmentally. When she was little, Mariana bit herself, screamed nonstop and experienced seizures. She also had issues with attachment, a common issue for Eastern European children who don’t have a strong attachment to parents and typically experience a “break after break” of caregivers. Children like Mariana go from their mother to hospital nurses to orphanages to foster homes, until some — like Mariana — finally go to an adoptive family.

“You never want to adopt a kid to save the world,” John said. “You want to adopt a kid because you want to be a parent. That was a big thing that we began to understand as those first two years unfolded.” Mariana always dreamt of going to college like her older siblings, but John and Denise were uncertain because there weren’t yet many opportunities for kids with special needs. This didn’t stop them from seeking out as many opportunities that they could possibly find and afford. After rejecting schools in Wisconsin and Illinois, John and Denise

started to focus on schools in Florida and Nashville, which was where their older daughter lived. Around Easter 2016, after having an interview and tour of the Nashville school, someone mentioned Union University to them. They decided to stop in Jackson. Although students were on spring break and no one had any reason to be there, they kept running into people on campus who were excited to tell them all about Union. John was also impressed with the size and safety of the campus layout. 35

“I said, ‘This is right for Mariana. It’s safe. It’s strong in Christian beliefs.’” Perhaps what impressed him the most was a speech made by Union’s president, who expressed Union’s commitment to the Word of God. Denise trusted John, but they wanted Mariana to have input. “When we asked her where she wanted to go, she just said ‘Union. It feels like home.’ That’s all we needed to hear.” Cheyenne Staten, EDGE student president and a Spanish and special education double major, was also a major influence on John and Denise’s decision. Staten coteaches Mariana’s Spanish class, modifying the professor’s lesson plans to fit Mariana’s specific needs. “You could tell they were excited, and you could tell they’re really putting a lot of faith into this program,” Staten said. “It’s a costly program and a very emotional


process for them to let their kids come here. They may never have been to a sleepover, and their parents are dropping them off at college.” At the time, John and Denise didn’t intend to move. Denise was working with a great school district in Wisconsin and didn’t want to start all over in a different public school, in a state she knew little about. They planned to send her down to Union, knowing that her brothers and sister were close, confident that they would take care of her if she needed something. A year later, they visited Union’s campus again, got another tour and even met a couple of the first-year EDGE students. After talking to them, John and Denise knew that these students would be friends for Mariana. “It’s not easy in high school,” Denise said. “She was in a good high school. She was in a very inclusive environment. But, you know, kids still are kids. She said just last week, ‘I really feel like I have friends here. It’s not like high school.’ And I thought, ‘Oh my goodness. This is what we want.’”

With one son developing medicines for the University of Iowa, another studying to become a doctor, and a daughter having served as communications director for a U.S. Representative, John and Denise admit that their older children were “easy,” but point out that Mariana is every bit as successful as their other children. “Why would we say she’s not just as successful as anybody else in what she does?” Denise said. “She’s still got a plan and a purpose. God has a plan and purpose.” John, who teaches at a drug rehab program called Teen Challenge and has taught everything from Sunday school to men’s ministry, loves teaching Mariana. He’s been teaching her the Old Testament most recently, and the two will frequently FaceTime and go through what she’s reading.

I can see God in all of this. It changed us. God has a plan for her life, just like He has a plan for ours.” John and Denise say they’ve already seen God do miraculous things for Mariana since she started the EDGE program and are thrilled to see her thrive. They take comfort in the fact that she’s got roommates and mentors looking after her, that she’s surrounded by a loving community and that she is in a safe and secure environment. Their next big prayer is that Mariana, who has already been on three mission trips of her own, would fulfill her dreams of becoming a missionary. After talking to the photographer for two hours about Mariana and their story, they care enough to take the time to pray for us because, just like their love for Mariana, their faith is unwavering.

John always had dreams for his children, particularly for all of them to play baseball. While all four did end up being athletic in some way (Mariana being a gifted swimmer), other dreams have not been realized. “The hard part is wondering when you stop and say to yourself, ‘Look, she’s not going to ever drive, so don’t think about it,’” John said. “You’ve gotta know where the limits are.” “But then you don’t want to stop dreaming or give up on her,” Denise added. “That’s the hardest part,” John said. “Our [EDGE] parents are some of the coolest people you’ll ever meet, some of the strongest people you’ll ever meet,” Staten said. “If you think about any struggle that you would expect any parent to have to go through, it’s so much more when you have a student with a disability.” Although life has been challenging, they wouldn’t have it any other way. “Jesus could come here in the next 20 minutes,” John said. “What would it matter that our lives were so hard back then? It wouldn’t. Would I go back and change it? No. And I don’t say that flippantly, because anybody would like to say ‘well wouldn’t you like to have a normal kid?’ But I would say no.


what is one dream that doesn’t seem to fit with your current career trajectory?




I don’t have a dream that doesn’t fit in with my current career trajectory. Maybe that’s because I don’t like boundaries or rules or to be told that I can’t do something because it doesn’t “fit in” with a major or minor or certification. My dream is to tell stories, so it doesn’t matter what my current career trajectory is. I can tell stories no matter what I’m doing. I mean, I want to be a police officer or a lawyer or a politician or a freelance journalist or a hobo, but my current career trajectory, which is public relations in a non-profit or business, does not hinder the possibilities of the future. And I believe there are always future possibilities for the dreams I have right now. So, to answer the question in the most obnoxious way possible: I don’t have an answer. I don’t fit in; neither do my dreams.

One of my biggest dreams is to step foot on every continent. As a child, I was blessed with the opportunity to travel with my family to countries such as Honduras, the Dominican Republic, the Bahamas, Mexico, the Virgin Islands and even to Israel. Needless to say, I love to travel. I also love to stay busy - from attempting to keep up with my classwork to being involved in clubs and organizations across campus and from volunteering in the community to working a part-time job on campus. As an aspiring funeral director, I know that my career choice will require me to stay busy. My days will consist of meetings with grieving families, coordinating with cemeteries and churches and conducting funeral and graveside services - just to name a few responsibilities. S ​ o what does this mean for me? How will I get to travel the world? I long to see the Eiffel tower and walk the Great Wall of China and ride through the jungles of Tanzania and even see penguins of Antarctica. I honestly don’t know. But I will work to make my dreams come true.

student panel



I am a communications studies major who has no idea what her life is going to look like, or even what she dreams will come of it with this degree. I do know one thing, that I have always had a desire to create. I catch myself drawing and designing, using a variety of colors, and creating new patterns. This is just a part of who I am that shows up in almost everything I do. Most of my designs can be found on my arm/hand, or on multiple pages of class notes. I have often wondered what this creativity could be used for, instead of being easily washed or thrown away. I love the thought of being a designer, creating with my hands and sharing the results with others - instead of just keeping it to (or on) myself. My designs would give me a way to show others how I view the world: vibrant, changing, and complex in the most beautiful way.

Despite my pursuits in ministry and journalism, I’ve always had the dream of becoming a marine biologist. Ever since I watched Finding Nemo (in theatres, mind you), I’ve been fascinated with marine biology. I’ve spent countless free hours sifting through National Geographic magazines about marine life. I think it’s also fair to say I’ve viewed too many incredible nature documentaries. You know all those obscure, British documentaries on Netflix? Is the ocean involved? I’ve seen it. It wasn’t the sandy beaches or the warm air that captivated me when I went to Belize my senior year of high school; it was snorkeling. I’ll never forget marveling at the travel guides’ knowledge of the second world beneath that clear water. Living in Jackson means that unless we have a Pangea breakup round two, I’m out of luck. Writing and ministry seems to be my passion for now, but some days I find myself dreaming of gliding along the ocean floor, studying or filming something breathtaking. 39

Like a Waiting Room



Joshua Stephen Bowden, aka Josh Bowden, aka the Bearded Barista, aka the Intellectual Caveman, aka the Incredible Hunk is a senior conservation biology major with whom I have been friends since freshman year. We went through the Honors program together, and have been baristas at Barefoots and Modero since sophomore year. One Thursday evening, I made some spaghetti with homemade sauce and fresh bread. We talked for two hours, and the information below is just some of the interesting material that arose during our conversation. N.B. Josh and I are 21 and 22 respectively, so please take everything with a grain of salt. Maybe even a few heaping tablespoons. [On Freshman Year] JSB: I distinctly remember lying on a beach with Josh Mays at 11 o’clock at night, and we were both crying because it was so beautiful. [On Post-Grad plans] JSB: After graduation, the plan is to live in Nashville with my parents to keep costs super low so I can save up money for hiking. You know the Appalachian trail? Georgia to Maine, 2190 miles. There’s multiple trails like that, so I’m planning on doing a bunch of those for at least three years. JCH: So like, hiking 6,000 miles? JSB: Yeah, something like that. 40

[On What College Has Given Us] JCH: Every year of college, maybe even every semester, I would get something. So first semester, I picked up nonfiction which I didn’t appreciate before college. Second semester I picked up poetry. Third and fourth semester is where I really got into postmodern fiction: Pynchon, Wallace, DeLillo and Zadie Smith. Junior year is where I learned how to manage my time better. This year will be the one where I learn how to deal with difficult people, especially in the writing world. I’ve been trying to find the balance between writing for myself and writing for other people, and that’s really difficult.

[On being a Christian in the Professional World] JSB: Especially for a Christian, I feel like people are going to come after you because you’re a Christian fiction writer.

spread the gospel. So if you’re a band, your goal should be to spread the gospel through your music. But if you label yourself a Christian band that gets sold in [Redacted], you’re preaching to the choir and are missing the point.

JCH: I’ll be a writer who is a Christian, but I’m not going to put the adjective ‘Christian’ in front of my profession.

JCH: When I write, my goal is not to have characters or plots that bring people to Jesus directly. When I write, my goal is to be the best possible writer. Not to be an “immoral” writer, whatever that means, but to write well.

JSB: It’s like when bands put Christian in their label. They’ve instantly limited their audience. No matter what you do as a Christian, I feel like your goal should be to


[On Giving College a Yelp Review] JSB: Do you like college? Give college a yelp review. JCH: Three out of five. JSB: I’m there. Maybe even a two out of five. JCH: There’s been a lot of really cool opportunities, and I’m pretty sure some of my best friends that I’ll ever make, I’ve made in college. Same thing with mentors, and profs and stuff like that. But also, while there is so much more freedom than there was in high school, there’s so much more afterwards. You’re between these two worlds, one where you have nothing to do, and the other where you can do anything, but there are tiny rules that say “Oh you can’t do that yet, you’re not there. There’s a lot of freedom, but a lot of entrapment. You’re sort of stuck. JSB: College is like a waiting room. You’re about to go for the thing you came for, but like you can’t do anything. You’re doing pointless things like playing sudoku, exercising your mind in some ways. College is fun, but it’s also the worst time of life that I’ve ever experienced. JCH: College has crazy high ups, but also crazy low downs. [On Greek Life] JSB: Some people are not in a frat, but are also basically in a frat. Some people hate on Greek life so much, and they bond with other people who hate greek life as much as they do, so it becomes this sort of echo chamber that they were hating on from the very beginning. There’s a hard line where if you’re not in a fraternity, you have to hate them. There’s such a divide. JCH: There’s a lot of really good parts about Greek life. A lot of support for people comes out of their Greek society. Last year for Cardinal & Cream, I wrote an article where I talked about going to V-show practices with people. I would hang out with the Zetas, the KDs, the Chi-O’s, and the Lambda Chis, and each time I hung out with


a group, they were so loving and kind. Sure they were a little clique-ish, but that’s a part of being in a group. JSB: They’re clique-ish cuz they have friends and they like hanging out with them. JCH: Exactly. You’re gonna have cliques in life. [On the Midwest] JCH: Do you ever think Chicago is just its own state? Cuz I do sometimes. JSB: Absolutely. [Advice for Freshmen] JSB: Don’t overcommit. JCH: Do not overcommit. JSB: Overcommitting makes you want to die. JCH: If you have overcommitted, freshman year is the time to stop it. Nobody cares yet. You’re not that involved in anything, get out. You have room in your life for two extra things outside of school. That’s it. JSB: Even if you hate school, you’re here for school, so go for A’s. [Advice for sophomores] JSB: By the time you’re a sophomore, you need to begin figuring out what you’re going to do. JCH: You need to have an arc. If you don’t have an arc, you’re going to end up living in Jackson for the next eight years after you graduate. [Advice for juniors] JSB: Counseling is free at Union. Make sure you’re pouring into people, but also being poured into. Both are important. It’s like a glass of water. You have to be filled up in order to pour out.




“I wish I dealt with road rage,” I’d say from the bed. “The people down the hall wish they had your chances,” she’d tell me. I watched from my window as they drove by under the stop light. I would count the seconds before the light would change, and then the next people would go. “I’m here to take your blood,” the nurse would say as she entered the room. I’d hold out my arm and not turn my head. “1, 2, 3, stick,” she would say, and I’d become a human glass while she bottled me up with a straw. She’d put a bandaid over it, and the next bruise would form. Then the doctor would walk back in with my dad. He would chew on his glasses as he talked and my dad would catch his breath. “We still don’t know,” he’d say. “We are going to run some more tests. You’ll be stuck here for a while.” And I’d go back to watching traffic. “Where is the pain on a scale of one to ten?” the nurses would ask in the middle of the night. I’d choke out words that tried to explain while my mom looked over me with sweat on her forehead. “It’s okay, baby,” she’d say in a soft voice. “It’s gonna be okay.” We would talk about how this all happened. About the ER back in Jackson and the news I got there. “I’m a doctor’s kid,” I had told the pulmonary doctor in navy scrubs and heavy eye liner. “You can give it to me straight.” “A bronchogenic carcinoma,” she’d told me. “We have to call your parents and get this sorted out.” “What just happened?” I asked when she left the room. “I don’t know,” my roommate said from the chair across the exam room, her eyes going from wide and alert under her hood to downcast and shaken, and I thought about how I was never supposed to be on the other side of that conversation. In another state and another hospital, my parents would hold each other with white-knuckled grips while my mom clutched his shirt in her hands and my dad rested his cheek on her head. She would brush my hair and he would bring me word searches

on the backs of hospital menus. She would tell me to calm down when we got bad news and he would try to make me laugh after they changed my sheets. I’d wake up to new faces inches from mine. “We have to take your blood now, okay? 1, 2, 3, stick.” I’d stretch out my arm and cringe while she searched for a new vein to prick for the eighth time. When the surgeon would finally look at the scan and say, “Go home, I don’t think this is cancer. Repeat the scan in the month,” we’d start shaking and we would cry when we got in the car. At home, the boy with the sea green eyes I’d longed to see the whole time would rest his forehead against mine while my muscles cringed, paralyzed by the pain. “Breathe,” he’d whisper. “Look at me and breathe.” When it would be over, he’d wipe the tears from my eyes with his knuckle. In the light of day, we’d all talk about it. We’d talk about how blessed we are that we got the news we did, and how next month we’d expect the scan to be normal. We’d cry about how other families had to go through the struggle we were spared from, and my dad would put money in a jar at a restaurant with a little boy’s picture on it who needed money for chemo. He would wipe his eyes and walk outside. And at night, my parents would hold my hands and pray. I’d cry when I’d think about my dad saying, “I want to just be her dad, not her doctor; I wish I could make the pain go away,” and my mom looking at me while the nurses pushed pain medicine into my vein and saying, “That’s my child, that’s my child.” Then my dad would read scripture and I would fall asleep. Now, we wait. We pray about the future, but we don’t run away from it. We remember the miracles we received and my dad always says, “What is true in the light is true in the dark. The Lord is good, and we have much to be thankful for.” When I get nervous, I read Psalm 91, and my mom brushes my hair. The boy with sea green eyes reminds me to take deep breaths. My parents and I talk over breakfast that I can hardly eat. We talk about how in times of uncertainty, there is an eternal certainty. We talk about how we have to be ready, and handle each day without fear. So when I go to bed with sore arms, I count, singing “1, 2, 3,” over and over in my head, remembering to be ready for the stick, knowing that even when it comes, we will put a bandaid over it and it won’t be that bad.








You squeeze the lime into the gin like this, my father slurred, then you add the ice and tonic. I watched, ten years old, as the clear acerbic liquid bloomed gray in the glass. Father’s bifocals slipped down the bridge of his nose again — his frames needed tightening. The mangled limewedge circled the rim seemingly without effort, and later I would wonder how he kept his hands so steady. The wedge was then tossed into a grocery bag hanging from the only doorknob. Collapsing into a mildewed armchair, my father waved his hand, and the television awakened with a hum. Seinfeld was on, and when Jerry began to bicker with Elaine my father would steal a glance towards the trailer entrance, as if to try and look through the door and the rain and the night for a single pair of headlights. Suddenly, mother was home too soon, carrying food for the next week. Help me with this bag of rice Robert, she would ask,


appraising my father with narrow eyes, and I would spring up and take it, grateful for the excuse to move. With one arm free, Mother seized the half-full glass and flung it towards the wall, where it shattered. The shards on the shag carpet looked like a frozen breath. What followed— voices so loud my ears rang for days, the acrid smell of a burning checkbook, the whoeven-are-you’s— was ritual. Now that my hair is beginning to thin, I wonder if I could stop it before it happens… maybe my wife will walk through the door of our studio apartment, looking like the ghost of a more beautiful woman, just as I’m twisting an orange peel over my glass. Maybe she’ll confront me, pitch raised and eyes glimmering. God! Love is an old, stained sweater that I’m pulling on over my head, that I wouldn’t give up for anything.




November 16, 2017, Nick Velasquez walks out onto the court of the Fred-Delay Gymnasium. It’s the first home game of the season. He’s standing a little taller than his 6’2” frame can really show. The night before, he exploded for 23 points while shooting 7-17 (41%) from three-point range. He wore a black headband in that game, but tonight he chose to go with the white one. You see, the color of the headband is really only important because I’m incredibly superstitious. Most sports guys are. So much so that if we take our hats off and our team goes on a run, we won’t wear hats for the rest of the season unless our team starts to lose again. Nick, however, is different. “Do you think your performance had anything to do with the headband you were wearing?” I asked. “No, I do not think it was because I had a black headband on,” he answered with a laugh. He was right. That night he went off for 23 points again, this time shooting an incredible 7-7 (100%) from deep and 8-9 (88%) from the field. It was awe-inspiring. He started hot in the first half, going 5-5 from three. The opposing team started keying in on him in the second half, but Nick just shrugged off the extra tight defense and drained two more shots from deep. Everyone in the gym that night knew he was special. Nick was going to go pro.

He graduated in May of 2018. In the first week of September of the same year, he signed a contract to play pro ball for the Rebels BKB in El Salvador. Even though he only really knows one person in the entire country and even though he doesn’t speak the language fluently, Nick is determined to light the league on fire and earn more looks from other clubs. This is a dream he’s had since his mom put a ball in his hands back in kindergarten. He’s been working for this shot for 20 years and it’s finally here. “She used to work me out at the park at six in the morning,” Nick said. “I think she’s happy for me.” Nick Velazquez is one of the most charismatic guys I’ve ever met in my life. I know that sounds hyperbolic. It isn’t. In fact, he co-hosted a podcast with me during his senior year and he was clearly the reason people tuned in. His low, soothing voice and laid-back tone made for great radio. His nickname is “Nico Suave” (pronounced: knee-co swah-vay). Do you know how debonaire you have to be to get a name like that? The guy practically sweats charm and everyone loves him for it. He’s not exactly your typical campus “big shot” but if you meet anyone who knows him, you’d probably only hear good things. Nico is from Mililani, Hawaii. You can see the island influence in the way he walks like he has nowhere to be anytime soon. You can hear it in his voice, like he’s never been stressed a day in his life. He typically dresses in gym


shorts and a tank top but with the way he carries himself, you’d think he belongs on the cover of a GQ magazine. He can even wear those awful John Lennon sunglasses that flip up to reveal clear nonprescription lenses and make them look like your favorite pair of Ray-Bans. He’s cool in the way that most of us want to be but don’t even come close to achieving. He knows it too but walks the fine line between arrogance and confidence, being his own biggest believer when it comes to the game of basketball (although Michael Chapman and I may be close behind him). He knows what he can do and he’ll prove it on the court. That’s all that really matters. “The reality is you’re a 6’2” guard and there’s how many of those in the world? They’re a dime a dozen,” Nick said. “It’s about what you do to make yourself stand out.” “Of the 30 players from Union who have signed professionally, most of them have been postplayers because that’s what everybody wants,” said David Niven, the head coach for men’s basketball at Union. “Nick found a way, as a guard, to get that done.” Nico is only one story from Union. By going pro, he’s joining his former teammate Charlie “Chuck” Wilson and women’s basketball standout Chelsey


Shumpert. Wilson graduated alongside Nick and signed with Rivadavia near Mendoza, Argentina, in late July. Wilson was a centerpiece for the Bulldogs during his time here, averaging 13 points and eight rebounds his senior year. Niven remarked about Wilson’s athleticism, saying that he could have a 15 year career playing overseas. Shumpert was an explosive force in her lone season at Union. She set the school record for points scored in a season and racked up a long list of well-deserved accolades, averaging 23.8 points per game and 3.6 assists while shooting 45% from the field and 37% from downtown. After a season like that, it makes sense that she was the first to be signed. Shumpert worked out a contract with the Nottingham Wildcats in England this summer. Union has a history of players going pro, and, while these three are the most recent, they certainly won’t be the last. Tyree Boykin had a breakout season in his freshman year and will likely be the next player to go pro after his time at Union. Nick had some advice for players like Boykin who are looking to go pro from a Division II school. “Bet on yourself. You know your capabilities and you know what you’re made of. Don’t let that D-II label stop you from getting to your dream. You just might have to work a little harder than other people.”




He kissed the thinning hair of the only one that still called him Kenneth. She kept asking “When?” under panicked breath. Faded hydrangeas rested on either side of Isaiah 43:4 and a cluster of names. They are written in blue, scattered on folded cardstock in a room where words echoed back. Keys fumbled in the hands that turned down the television and shut the door slowly. Another family whispered across the hall, and nodded, hearing the same game show through their room too. Aging strangers pretended to still recognize each other, trading timid hugs and re-telling stories that weren’t true. As he drove home, the broken truck window let in the sound of gravel and light rain tapped on worn out jeans and leather seats as he drove home. Parked at the top of the dusty road he got out slow and sat down at the stone chair, pressing into rugged roots. His dying dog woke up, romping over amber cornstalks, nestling his hardened head under him, forgetting he was fifteen. Thumbs creased over calloused hands, looking out at the land his father toiled. The land that reigned him in and trained him to keep those hands to the dirt. His son Dan stood behind him. Bright fields lined their hills, waving with the gentle wind. Thoughts started to drift again when he felt the firm hand on his shoulder bring him back. “Good year, dad.” It was getting harder to tell.





Is time cyclical? Does history repeat itself? Are we doomed to commit the same sins as our mothers and fathers? Is there any hope for the world to break the seemingly recurrent pattern of life itself? Alright. Enough of the existential banter. Trends come and go. A “new” fad emerges, is popular for six months, and then we never see it again…until five, ten, or fifteen years later. This can be a diet, choice in vocabulary, or genre of music, but more often than not, it is fashion. Whether flared pants, leg warmers, sleeveless puffy jackets, mom jeans or pompadours — these styles had their time, died, and were later revived. However, this isn’t simply a report about how a craze makes a comeback in this moment of time. What I am interested in is the idea of style. Why do certain people wear certain things, how does it make them feel, and what does being

stylish mean specifically to Union University students wearing clothes that were fashionable in the 1990s? I sat down with Ben Johnson, a junior marketing major and 90s fashion icon, one afternoon in Modero to discuss his clothing and why he chooses to embrace this style. The coffee shop was already packed with people who were sporting dad hats, rolled t-shirt sleeves and jeans, and uniquely patterned and neutral colored button ups. Johnson himself was wearing a short sleeve button up with vertical stripes, light jeans and a pair of white tennis shoes. His hair was big and so was his presence. “One time, this person came up to me and said, ‘You always look like a pleasant dad!’ and I kind of feel that is where my style is half of the time,” Johnson said, laughing. He proudly admitted to occasionally raiding his dad’s closet in search of cool finds that the ole’ man may have worn


during his high school and college years. “I like wearing stuff that has been worn before.” In high school, Johnson wore what any other average teenage male would wear: polos and cargo shorts. However, when his college years started, so did a new sense of individualism. The transformation of his style was dramatic. Some would even say miraculous. “I didn’t have any idea what I was doing at first.” Right before his transition to Union, Johnson went on a road trip with a couple of his buddies to see some of America’s natural landscapes. Eager to experiment with his new style and free from all of his judgmental peers that would accuse him of being a “try-hard,” Johnson recalls a picture of himself within the

foreground of a mountain-esque backdrop wearing loosely-fitted jeans rolled way too high, a blue Atlanta Braves t-shirt underneath a blue Members Only jacket that was way too short. In addition to a pair of silver aviators, Johnson dons a black and blue baseball cap, as if it is a cherry completing the awkward sundae. “Style is less societal, less about trends, and more about an individual’s confidence.” Johnson went on to explain that it is less about what a person is wearing and more of how they wear it. Whether you’re wearing ripped skinny jeans and a beanie or Adidas sweats and a jersey, what matters is whether you’re comfortable with yourself. Style and comfort should go hand-in-hand. One should not be sacrificed for the other. “It’s easy for me to spot people who are really trying to fit a look. They look rigid. Comfort, as it pertains to style, is ‘I feel comfortable in these things, I wear them, and it just so happens that it might be fitting a trend sometimes,’” Johnson said. Outside of Barefoots one blistering afternoon, I sat down with Olivia Coffman, junior biology major and another student on campus known for her impeccable taste in 90s era clothing. She was dressed in ripped, black skinny jeans,



large-framed glasses, and a white t-shirt with the sleeves rolled. She looked as if she was going to see Pearl Jam after our interview. Coffman told me she likes this style because of the nostalgia. Most of the time, labeling a thing or - in our case - a style as nostalgic, is to think back about a memory from an earlier part of that person’s life. This could be a certain smell that reminds you of your grandmother’s house, or a song that takes you back to a time when you were in the backseat of your mom’s car headed to the bank (and if you were good, Sonic on the way home). Coffman, who was born in 1998, wasn’t rockin’ Vans and flannels as an infant (although if she was, that would’ve been even better). Nostalgia, however, in this specific context may be referring to the allure of the past, of a past in which we were unable to participate. Decades that we read about in textbooks and hear stories and songs about have a certain magic that piques our interest.


“Growing up my family and I would listen to Alanis Morissette and Nirvana in the car all the way through elementary school,” Coffman said, smiling. Some may argue that you can’t really be nostalgic over things that you never personally experienced; however, I think Coffman would disagree. Although she was never able to express herself in the 90s, her home environment gave her the chance to gain an appreciation for the decade she missed. If listening to angsty grunge music with your roommates while cleaning the dorm gives you all the feels, or if rolling your jeans and wearing neon windbreakers transforms you into a fresh prince, then who are we to judge? You should do you when it comes to taste and style and be confident in it. Only then will you be all that and a bag of chips.


th ough tf ul c o nver satio n


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Cardinal & Cream  

Volume 103 | Issue 01

Cardinal & Cream  

Volume 103 | Issue 01