Nashville was either my go-to or go-through city for many years while residing in Tennessee. The memories always bring a warm feeling like a soothing cup of hot chocolate on a cold morning. I went to Nashville on several occasions to visit family, friends or for business. Here is what I know to be true of Tennessee’s center for country music.
When I went to visit my cousin who lived there for years, I remember the wonderful drives on I-40. Mossy cliffs line both sides of the highway and it is a straight stretch of good road. It was so easy to put on some good, choice music and enjoy the drive. It is a calm scenic route and a perfect way to relax and leave my troubles behind. Quite like my father, long distance driving gave me time to think, change my perspective and often find answers to things that concerned me.
My cousin had a variety of homes over that ten-year stretch, but I especially remember one cute small house she lived in that sat high upon a hill. I was listening to Phoebe Snow’s Cash In at that time and it was so appropriate. I found solace there as I relaxed and let it all go, for the moment. Through her, I was able to visit Vanderbilt University’s campus as I sat and waited for her and her friend. I even saw the old George Peabody Campus, which at one time was the home of the school for librarians before it folded and closed.
Later, another friend moved there, and I also visited her a few times. This allowed me to go on the downtown campus of Tennessee State University and see Nashville life from an educator’s point of view. We also took in the sights and enjoyed good meals there.
And later, I went to Nashville for a media conference. I do remember staying at the Ole Opry Hotel which had an inner courtyard lined with green foliage. I could l come out onto the little balcony, look down and see greenery and beauty at its finest. The food at the chosen restaurants was memorable and scrumptious and one was known for its delicious cornbread!
Nashville was also my go-through city. We had to drive through Nashville to get to Atlanta, also known as Hot ‘Lanta. Nashville always served as a halfway point and a safe haven. Once, my mother and I were pulling my furniture back from Atlanta and when we reached Nashville, we pulled onto a church parking lot and slept until dawn like tired children.
Nashville was the last feeling a safety before venturing on into hilly and mountainous Chattanooga. And Lord, forbid of a driver did not know about the treacherous Monteagle Mountain. It has a great descent with little or no warning. The runaway truck lanes for trucks that could not stop, freaked my father out when he drove to Atlanta to see me. He was a seasoned truck driver, but he talked about it for quite a time. I heard other horror stories of people unknowingly approaching Monteagle Mountain either at night or during a rainstorm. I was fortunate and had no such harrowingly tales to share!
So, nowadays, when I see Nashville on television as it hosts the CMA’s or any other awards show, I think, yes, it may be the home of the Grand Ole Opry, but to me, it is so much more. I think of a place of peace, solitude, reprieve, safety and an oasis whether I was going to or going through that wonderful, southern city!
February 5, 2022