Is it Maryland Monday or Tennessee Tuesday? Was that Wednesday and is this Saturday? The days seem to float and merge together and get left behind with each passing mile and journeyed day and traveled town and slipped state.
It truly felt like I had left New Jersey once we crossed into Tennessee. And not because the gas station stores now sport animal skin Stetsons, Beef Jerky and accents that could stand upright in a corner, but because it was not Maryland nor Virginia and certainly not North Carolina. Those states that are still New Jersey’s back garden. This sure ain’t Jersey.
We debated staying over in Nashville and taking in the Grand Ole Opry, but after a conversation somewhat like the conversations about music choice … “Brad Paisley”, “Bart who?” … you get the picture … we decided to see one of two planation mansions and then press on to Memphis. Belle Mead or Hermitage.
As “Southern Mansions” go, Hermitage of President #7, Andrew Jackson, was warm and inviting and occupied. It felt like no one left. This is not the show home of the Vanderbilts, but a personal home of fourteen foot ceilings, murals, painted and papered rooms à la William Morris. Constant dinner conversations that still seem to endure. No one, it seems, was threatened by strong wall paint color back then. Rice paper floor rugs was a “Summer” surprise. Venetian Blinds considered somewhat passé when installed so long ago. Who knew? A tiny bit apologist, me thinks, when it comes to Jackson’s slavery views. What is past is past.
The Lane Motor Museum just outside Nashville was as quirky and odd and as interesting as any motor car museum could be and right up my alley. European cars only and the stranger the better. DKW Auto Union, FIAT Topolino 500A, FIAT 500 both old and new, Hotchkiss-Gregoire, Tatra, 2CV Citroen, Renault Dauphine. Some hauntings from my past. My first car was one, my future another, one brother owned one, my father yet another. Either we have grown larger or our worlds were much smaller. How on earth did I fit in such a small car?Perhaps everyone on the Tennessee Rt. 40 thinks the same of my Toyota Yaris. And perhaps I haven’t changed that much.
Onwards to Memphis. We’re going to Graceland … for some reason.