Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Down South - in between the wedding festivities

 My brother is one of my favorite people. When he went away to college, I missed him terribly and in the midst of teenage angst, my exasperated parents would send me to stay with him for the weekend, hoping he could figure me out.   He didn't pry into my life, he just listened, and became a close friend.  
I knew there was no way I would do this trip without him there for support, and I also knew there isn't anyone in the world I'd rather go to Nashville with.  My brother is an incredibly talented musician, and totally into food.   (Just an FYI, because I'm still bitter.  My brother got the dimples, the musical genes, the good teeth and the good eyebrows.  I just got the leftover mutant genes, such as the ability to fold a paper airplane and remember what people ordered at restaurants.)

I'm a California Native, and having never traveled to the south, I was a bit alarmed at how many people warned me, "The South is different..."  However, I knew everything would be okay once I stepped off the plane and saw this.
We actually had to drive an hour outside of Nashville to get to where the festivities were taking place.  I was amazed at how green everything was.  It is gorgeous. 
There were a ton of Civil War sites and we strolled through multiple old cemeteries. 
The place we stayed wasn't quite on par with the Four Seasons, so we opted not to go for a dip in the aluminum pool.  
 There are churches on every street corner, and even the high rises have steeples. 
One morning my brother and I drove a few miles north to cross the border into Kentucky. 
If only we had stayed one more week, we could have gone to the derby!
We made our way back to Tennessee and for my Dad's Bachelor Party, we took him to lunch at Cracker Barrel.   
I was baffled to see Mac'n'Cheese and Spiced Apples listed under "Vegetables" on the menu.  The food was very good and very heavy.  The biscuits were crazy fluffy and I rediscovered that I love carbs and butter.  
My Dad and Steplady had a lovely party the night before the wedding for friends and family.
One thing I love about my new family, is that they insisted on jeans for the party.  I threw on some pearls to quiet my mother's voice in my head.  I can just hear her saying, "Well, at the very least, put on a skirt and some lipstick..."   I heard her voice in my head a lot on this trip. 
 My dad was "coming down with something" and had the chills.  Personally, I think it was pre wedding jitters. During the party, we wrapped him in blankets. 
By the next day, my dad was on the mend, just in time for the nuptials. It was good to see my dad happy, but it was still weird to see his arm around another lady. 
 Want to see something crazy?  I think my new siblings and I look alike.  What do you think? 
After all the festivities, my brother and I had one night out on the town in Nashville.
I found Elvis and asked him to whisper the directions to some good BBQ.  
 On every street corner there was a musician singing their heart out.  We stumbled on this Amish Family preaching and singing... and I would have joined them on their buggy ride home, but they had microphones... which made me doubt their authenticity... 
 My brother and I went into one of the local "Honky Tonks" and settled in to watch some bands.  Within an hour I felt my shoulders relax and I felt all the stress and the grief from the last few months melt away with the sweet soulful sound of classic country songs by Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash. 
For the rest of the night, we slipped in and out of bars listening to different bands.
 We were having the best time. 
 When we got hungry, we hit Jack's BBQ, for some delicious Southern BBQ.  I swear I died and went to heaven, it was unlike anything I've ever tasted. 
The next morning, I was sad to leave the south. My brother and I had the best time together and I found Southern Hospitality to be endearing.  
I knew my trip wouldn't be complete without a big ole southern breakfast.   The grits were delicious and I couldn't stop eating them.   
Total # of times I was called "Sugar" on this trip by strangers: 16
Total # of times I was told some form of  "Bless your heart" or "Have a blessed day": 23
Total # of times I laughed with my brother:  1,172
Thanks to the good folks at American Airlines, I arrived home safely...  And thanks to Mr. Man who held down the fort so beautifully while I was gone, I arrived home to find this...
They didn't even notice that I came home until I did a cannonball into the pool, while yelling, "Howdy Y'all!"


jai said...

I heart Nashville. Not as much as I heart Memphis, but it still gets hearted.

Brooke said...

Never thought I'd say this....but I kinda wanna go to Nashville.

Kent said...

An excellent recounting! That was a great trip and I'm so happy we were able to spend all of that time together. I love you, Kent.

Hillary said...

Love the South! Glad they didn't keep you though :)

Raena Johnson said...

your posts make me miss you!