Spring Break 2008 has been great so far. Although our plans to travel to the Big Apple were nipped in the bud (cash flow problem), we decided to get in the trusty Toyota and head up the road to Nashville. Neither of us had ever been, but we researched it before leaving town Monday morning and felt pretty comfortable about our visit.
It was dark when we arrived, and since we were tired after seven hours in the car, we decided to grab a bite to eat and check into the hotel. The next morning we were up early, ready to go and do the tourist thing. First on the agenda was securing tickets for the Grand Ole Opry. After all, how can a person go to Nashville without visiting that legendary site?
Tickets secured, we signed up for a Grayline tour of the city, and thanks to our driver, it was both fun and informative. Among other things, we learned that Minnie Pearl earned two college degrees, Alan Jackson used to deliver mail to Opry performers, Porter Wagoner was a chronic insomniac who often slept only two hours per night, and printing and publishing is the #1 business in Nashville. We did other typical day-tripper things like shopping and eating out (even at 11:00 at night…a big deal for us small town residents). We did a little shopping. DH found a Bass Pro Shop, and I found a marvelous mall. Someone recommended that we tour the Gaylord Opryland Resort and Convention Center, and thinking that’d we be in and out in fifteen minutes, we decided to sandwich it in. We emerged 55 minutes later, agog at the foliage, waterfalls, restaurants, atriums, conservatory, and ballrooms that we’d seen.
Because it was a Tuesday night, the Opry singers and musicians weren’t big names like Loretta Lynn or Lorrie Morgan; they had been there the previous weekend. In fact, there were no female performers at all on Tuesday, but the men who were there were all talented and well worth the admission price. My personal favorites were Little Jimmy Dickens (quite amusing) and Chuck Wicks (eye candy as my friend Dorothy would have said). Until this week, I didn’t know that the Grand Ole Opry was actually a radio show that’s broadcast three nights a week from Nashville on an AM radio station known as WSM (650 on the dial, I think). Since it’s actually a radio show, the performances from the Opry house are interspersed with commercials from sponsors such as the Cracker Barrel and Humana.
The most important thing I brought home from the trip was the sure knowledge that these singers, song writers, musicians, and other performers are using their God-given gifts and that they work hard, very hard, to hone their craft(s) and entertain their fans. Before our visit to Nashville, I never thought that much about Vince Gill, Roy Acuff, or Tammy Wynette. Thanks to our trip up the road, now I have an increased appreciation of these country greats. I can’t get Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” or her untimely death out of my mind. And just so you’ll know, we listened to 650 AM all the way back to SC