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Lazy Day

September 14, 2012

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Got in late last night but we made it dead tired.

Got up and headed downtown to see the Ryman Auditorium, former home of the Grand Ole Opry. We took a backstage tour where we got to visit all of the dressing rooms and stand in the wings of the stage.

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The Ryman is called the Mother Church of Country Music.

The story goes that when Nashville started out, it was a typical drinking/gambling river town. A preacher comes to town to set up a revival and combat the town evils when Capt Ryman, who made his living off of drinking and gambling, brings a few of his buddies along to run the preacher out of town. Ryman becomes captivated by the preachers sermon, has a change of heart and uses his own money to build him the biggest church around.

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Because so many people have played at the Ryman, the stage is considered sacred ground. When the Opry left the Ryman, they cut out a circular portion of the stage and incorporated it into their new stage, so the performers still stand on sacred ground. At the Ryman, they recently had to replace their stage but if you look at the picture, the front part of the stage is lighter colored and is what is left of the original floor (their sacred ground).

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All of the pews are original

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This is the alley behind the stage door to the Ryman.

By the red car is sign for Toosie’s Purple Orchid Lounge. Between sets, all of the performers would stop in at Tootsie’s and have a nip or two. The saying goes ” 30 steps to Tootsie’s and 70 steps back.” ( from all the staggering)

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Finished at the Ryman and walked over to the State Capitol Building to visit James Knox Polk. More fodder for my “book”

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Then we headed north to Hendersonville to visit the Man in Black.

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June and Johnny are located in a very simple looking cemetery off of a 4 lane road, with simple bronze markers. There were two other people there when we got there and they were happy to chew the fat about their country music vacation. They talked about how they saw this and that performer, whipped out their camera to show us pictures….oh and look, Merle Kilgore is buried right over there. We were so excited to find that out, but who the hell is Merle Kilgore? They related a story about how they were coming to Hendersonville but didn’t have the cemetery address……they punched in Main Street only and the GPS directed them right into the cemetery. They’re convinced Johnny wanted them to come see him today.

Well they finally left and we didn’t have but 2 minutes alone with Johnny when a young fellow and his wife show up….they ask if we know where Keith Whitely or something is buried. I say no but ” did you know Merle Kilgore is right over there?”

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We left Hendersonville early afternoon and rode as far as a tank of gas would take us.

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Riding through the back roads of Tennessee, the old familiar smells were on the thick warm air, burning hickory and sweet pez candy. It’s some vine that grows wild.

Looks like we have weather setting in Monday/ Tuesday. Going to try and jam some things in before then. Early start, big day, cross your fingers!

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