Sunday, December 07, 2008


Nashville is just a little over 2 hours west on I-40 from Harriman, so, in no time I pulled into the Holiday Inn Express Saturday morning, which was just off Murfreesboro Road. I flipped open my phone and found FHB on the contact list and pushed the button. Jeff answered, sounding sleepy, and with good reason. He and Denise had rolled in late the evening before, with her driving another 3 hours on north to Kentucky after dropping him off. She has a daughter and family living there.

Jeff had stayed up late grading school papers and goofing around with his camera, so when the phone rang at about 9, Nashville time, his alarm had just gone off moments before I arrived.

I checked in and met Jeff in the canteen area, where we shared a quick breakfast. He told me how his buddy’s had invited him to come to the big Civil War gun show. Three of the original 5 made the trip, driving all the way to Nashville from Texas in a single day. I must admit, I’ve never been dedicated enough to anything to drive that far for just a quick weekend!

However, it was well worth the short trip from Harriman to see Jeff. We’ve become fast friends over the past couple of years and it was good to get to share time, a beer, and a cigar with him, without having to wait a whole year.

After eating, we headed for Nolensville Road and the Tennessee State Fair Grounds, where The 22nd Middle Tennessee Civil War Show and Sale show was being held! It was huge, with over 1,000 tables in 4 buildings, and thousands of buffs, reenactors, and others like us that were just curious!

As you can see from these photos, there were plenty of lookers, and again, let me emphasize…the place was huge!

Jeff just had to touch a few of the long rifles he lusted over for years, and even took a few chances on a “give-away” drawing.

The buffs and reenactors take this kind of show and their other annual meetings and war games, seriously. Most dress the part, in full North or South uniform, with their wife or girl friend wearing period Victorian dresses, full petticoats, and bonnets! Jeff and I would love to have dressed the part too, but we decided there weren’t too many fat soldiers…in any war for that matter! And, if there were, they probably didn’t last too long on the battlefield!

At one table Jeff finally found a “shootin’ iron” his size!

We took a lot of shots, but with the flash off, so as not to draw attention to ourselves! Some folks get a little paranoid when you whip out a camera at a gun show. Some get even more upset or antsy when you pick up their $4,000 rifle and pose with it! Jeff said, “I got is standing on my shoe.” However, the vendor didn’t feel a bit more comfortable!

I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I saw things I’ve read about or have seen in magazines, so it was good to get to touch and smell some of the history. Some of the things were a little out of place, like this 1930’s KKK hood and robe, but, still it was good to see real American history first hand! They only wanted $950 for it!

One little old lady behind one of the tables eyed Jeff’s t-shirt and remarked, “What does that shirt say?

It says ‘Thin the herd’ ma'ma,” Jeff explained.

I don’t know if I would want to sell you anything or not!

Aw, he wouldn’t harm fly,” I said!

Well, we walked until we got the dreaded “gun show legs and back” and decided to head downtown Music City for a little lunch and cold beer. We ended up at Bailey's Pub and Grille on Broadway, where I used my Fox & Hound “mug club” card for cheaper Yuengling draft!

We both got the chick fingers smothered in a Jim Beam, maple syrup, and pecan sauce. The sweet tasting chicken sat atop a pile of coleslaw and green apple sticks! It was yummy, but we did eat a lot of chips to cut the sweet about half way through the meal.

Across the street, Jeff spied the famous Ernest Tubb Record Shop and wanted to go in to look for some Black Keys! As he raffled through the CDs, I broke the news to him…”You ain’t gonna find no Black Keys in here…it’s all country! But again, it was fun looking around at all the memorabilia and other country music related objecto-de-artoes!

When we got back to the fairgrounds, the line for tickets at the “regular” modern gun show was short. At one time it had stretched for nearly a hundred yards, someone said, so we got tickets and went inside. Luckily this show was housed in only one building, so we made the rounds in about an hour and left.

Back at the motel, we lounged in Jeff’s room for a little while, snapping photos of each other, and watching the SEC Championship game. We stayed there for a couple of hours, still full from our sweet lunch, but around 6:30 we decided to go out and hunt a sports bar and finish the game there with beer and cigars.

We drove east down Murfreesboro Road past the airport, some five miles or so, and then started back toward the motel. Finally, we spotted a big sign that said “Out of Bounds”, and under it “Sports Bar & Grille”, exactly what we had in mind!

We were greeted at the front door by a nice little black gal, who seated us on the bar level overlooking the large restaurant, and right next to a table of 3 young well dressed black men. A waitress, an even nicer looking black girl, came and took our order, and then handed it off to the black girl tending bar.

It wasn’t until the old black wino, with very large bucked teeth, staggered over to our table that we figured out we had happened upon a neighborhood “sports bar” frequented by mostly black folks.

The fact that we were in a predominately black bar did not bother either of us. As a matter of fact, no one was staring at us, or seemed upset that we were there, and anyone who looked in our direction smiled and nodded at us. What was bothering us was this poor old guy standing before us talking in some secret “wino language” that neither of us understood. Had we been able to follow his conversation (make that one-sided conversation), we would have been very comfortable in swapping jokes, and answering his questions with some lies – but we couldn’t follow him…no one in the club could have I’m sure!

He was saying something about football, and gesturing something about how tall Jeff was, but I wasn’t sure. I thought, at one point, he asked me to buy him a beer, and I promptly said “NO.”

To which he replied, “Otay…I’ll buy huh un,” and proceeded to pull out his wallet. The billfold was packed with money, so he wasn’t a real bum, but he seriously needed to spend some of that money on some diction lessons!

He pulled out a 10-spot and said, “Raise yo han! I figured out that was the accepted method of summing the barmaid, but I refused to hold up my hand!

Thankfully, the young manager came over and began persuading the man to move on and leave us along, but not before mistaking the man’s 10-dollars for ours! We explained that it was his, so the manager moved on to getting him away from us. After a little coaxing, he finally did move on, and a couple of the guys sitting near us said, “He’s harmless…don’t worry ‘bout it! Obviously he was a regular to the bar and folks took care of him, and he had even been cut-off by the bartender!

We informed the manager that we were fine and that we intended to continue our business with him, at least for a couple of drinks.

I have always enjoyed how black folks party, and interact, and I was not intimidated in the least by the loud animated fun loving crowd. We watched as Florida killed Alabama, and joined in cheering, enjoying the banter between the evenly split Florida and Alabama patrons in the bar.

At one point, over Jeff’s shoulder, I saw the old man take a tumble from the steps leading down from the bar to the restaurant level. He rolled up into a tight ball and tumbled over to the entrance. I think I was the only one who saw him, and I didn’t want to make a scene by shouting, “Lookie over there…there he goes!

So it was mine and the old man’s secret. He pulled himself up as quickly as he could (Mr. Bo Jangles played in my head), and shook himself all around, and made a gesture with one arm that made you know he was saying “Damn, I missed it!

Back at the motel, Jeff and I shared a couple Chavis Regal drinks, watched TV and talked. It’s something that Jeff and I share; a comfort that allows us to share our inner thoughts, fears, and hopes like brothers. Jeff is good people and I lov’im…like a brother.

Sunday morning came, cold and with a bright blue sky. Denise had called, being just 20 minutes away, and so Jeff called and woke me. I showered and met them out front, and, after punching in “nearest Cracker Barrel” on my truck’s GPS, we were off.

I ordered the new sausage “Fireside Country SkilletsTM”, and enjoyed a couple cups of coffee with Denise and Jeff. I could tell they were both tired from Friday’s drive down, so I worried about their drive home. However, they seem to take long drives and sleep deprivation in stride…still young, you know!

Thanks brother for the great weekend in Music City – until next time!

At home, I found Katie Bug and Judy piled on the couch watching a movie. It was good to know that Katie had kept her granny company while I was out of town, but it was even better to be home again.

The last I heard from Jeff was from an outlet mall somewhere near Memphis…they were taking their time, and that was good.


Mushy said...

I hate Blogger and Firefox...they don't play well together...tough...I ain't changing it again!

Jose said...

I would go to Nashville purely for the country music history. Glad you guys had a great weekend together doing something you love.

AirmanMom said...

It looks as though you enjoyed a fantastic weekend!

~AirmanMom returning to her blog...

Anonymous said...

Guys, guns and grub. Sounds like a great gig.

BRUNO said...

Jeez, all that in just ONE day?

I'd never had made it. You'd had to send me back feet-first!

Hope "young" Jeff was "back in-synch" for his return trip! Knew even "that-problem" wouldn't stop a freight-train like HIM...!

Suldog said...

Aw, man, you guys have great adventures together. Good on ya!

My BC Eagles lost Saturday. They will now be going to (drum roll, please) The Music City Bowl! As much as I like and admire Nashville, I was hoping for the Orange Bowl. Oh, well.

Mushy said...

Everything you would want and need is Broadway, and 1st through 4th Streets in Nashville! Go...have a ball!

Jeff made it back at 1:30 in the morning Monday! Probably back teaching 'bout now!

~Fathairybastard~ said...

yep, back in San Saba, at the library.

That was a wonderful wrap up brutha. Loved it. makes me want to just post somethin' sayin' "Hey, if you wanna know what went down in Nashville, go read Mushy's post!"

The trip home was uneventful. We stopped at an outlet mall East of Memphis so Denise could check out the household stuff and I could check out the Big & Tall store. Turns out it was just a Big & Fat store. Nothin' for tall folks.

I tried on a few really nice sport coats only to find, when I stretched my arms out in front of me, that I was doin' the Frankenstein pose. You know, sleeves back by your elbows. Story of my life.

I'll try to get the pictures fixed this week, between classes and stuff, and get them posted some time.

It was great to see you man. Real quality time. I miss that stuff. We'll do it again. Love ya brutha.

david mcmahon said...

Love the fact that you photographed buuts at a gun show. No, real butts!

*Goddess* said...

God forbid either of you lose your cameras...LOL!

I can't believe that KKK folks actually had uniforms. I thought it was a sheet and a pillowcase;)

Becky said...

I considered Nashville as a place to move and visited there for a week. I thought it was a really cool city, but just felt like Seattle had more opportunity for me. I think I might have even stayed at that Holiday Inn Express, too (was there a Waffle House next door?). Looks like you guys had a lot of fun together, as always.

catscratch said...

Next time Jeff comes round, let me know...

Oh what am I saying... you're my neighbor and we still haven't managed to have a beer!?!?!

Anyways, I love Nashville and have an amusing tattoo story... for another day.

I'm glad you boys had fun!

Mushy said...

There was a Waffle House!

Pat Houseworth said...

Mushy and Jeff's Excellent Adventure! :)

Hopefully I can make it down there for one coming up.

epijunky said...

Wow, it looks like a fantastic time! I've never been there to visit (driven through it a time or four)...

Congrats on your POTD on David's blog, I can't wait to read more!

Shrinky said...

My goodness Mushy, I'm exhausted just reading this, you guys sure know how to pack a lot of stuff into the day. Looks like you had a brilliant time there with your "brother" - so lovely you two get to meet up now and then, but gee, you sure need to rest up in between if this is the pace you two keep.

Anna said...

Not lurking this time, lol. Nice blog you have here, and some gun show, wow....

BTW I decided to tag you, just random pick from my group of friends at blog catalog. I think I am running out of friends to tag, lol.

No pressure, just have some fun...

Anna :)

Mushy said...

Welcome Anna and Epijunky!