In Nashville, where the sunset is an unloved distant relation to the glow of neon on Broadway, there are surprises:
The airport has rocking chairs. Street corners play music. All country singers have had something significant musically happen to them at age 13. Also, country singers are Zen masters at dancing in place. There are [deleted] straight-up unironical hipsters in Nashville.
- At Puckett’s Grocery, it never occurred to the hostess that I might put my name in and never come back.
- A dark and menacing gray sky is a perfect complement to the streaks of red and orange that wind around the front of the honky tonks. Gathered in front, like pieces on a chess board, are little platoons of middle-aged men, as eager and expectant as fraternity brothers.
- With country music, it is sometimes hard to tell the difference between slow songs and fast songs.
- At one point, I ran into some New Yorkers. They were spaced out, like the way combat veterans are said to look after spending too much time at the front. While Freddy Fender and Jerry Reed jangled in the close atmosphere of beer smells and glass clinks, a small troop with curly hair, gold chains and V-neck sweaters. The whole bit.
- As they passed out, a private party of Asians broke up. The bartender, a pale, plump, pink bleached blonde announced, Plenty of seats in the balcony!
- Later still, I met some Canadians. What were they doing? Wearing hockey jackets and mocking the weather!
- About 10, I was wrapping it up. I went into a dank, unadorned room and asked for a rye. The bartender said, Is Jack Daniels close enough? The sad part was, it is. It always will be.
- Of the rewritten, pornographic lyrics to “Louisiana Saturday Night,” I can only print this: “Here’s a song that’s dirtier than hell.” About the time I realized that the stage for the band also had a sturdy screen for the drummer, I realized I was the only one wearing a collar. It was a lightning bolt
- In the morning, away from Nashville, but still more music: “You want a biscuit, Honey?”
- Shiloh National Military Park surprises, too. Indian mounds? Yes! Indian mounds! And giant nest of bald eagles! They’re huge!