--I’M A GARDEN OF BOOMERANGS
…I’m back from Nashville. Now that’s quite a city. The people are gregarious, the food is fantastic, the architecture varied, eclectic with ancient churches and modern angular skyscrapers.
Walking down the main streets or alleys, music pours out of every establishment--live music, most of it country or blues, some of it not. The musicians strictly play for tips because they are not paid by the bar owners. There are hundreds of bands everywhere, most of them really talented, and the amount of them is a reminder that you have to be incredibly good (and lucky) to hit the big time.
…Reinman’s Theater and The Grand Ole Opry are cultural icons. On performance night, each artist sings only two songs. It’s recorded live on the radio in front of the massive auditorium audience. The commercial breaks are quite corny, harking back to yesteryears. But the music—even if you hate country—sounds especially strong, owing to the remarkable acoustics.
The lead actor in the TV show “Nashville” sang two songs. He’s a heart throb, and you didn’t need screaming women to tell you that.
I especially liked Steve Moakler, who was just recently discovered. He was quite humbled to be there:
…There’s an old church—St. Mary’s. During the civil war it served as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers. The only rule was no fighting while inside. So a solider might be lying next to another soldier that wounded them and then once they were mended they got back out into battle, sometimes brother fighting brother, father fighting son. It seemed fascinating to learn that.
…They make a lot of whiskey in Tennessee. Like the music and food, it is all quite outstanding, though whiskey isn’t my go-to choice of alcohol.
…Nashville, food wise, it famous for their southern cooking which means fried food. Hot chicken originated there. “That chicken was so hot if was like kissing the devil,” is how one person summarized their meal.
…There aren’t very many homeless people in Nashville, or at least I didn’t see many. There are thousands of tourists, of course, most (surprisingly) young, twenty-something groups of women who seemed to be there on bachelor parties. Quite a few of them could be seen (and heard) riding tandem bikes which seat six people on one side, six on the other, with a driver in front. In the middle sits a keg. The more you peddle, the more you get to drink. It’s quite a contraption.
…Did I drink too much myself? One time, I did. I left some brain cells on the floor. I gained seven pounds. It was worth it, but I’m very happy to be home.