Tuesday, May 30, 2006

On A Mountaintop In Tennessee

Late last week, the Wife and I went to Tennessee for a niece's high school graduation. And we had a good time.

Similar to my son's and my nephew's graduation in Georgia last year, I was the only one in the audience wearing a coat and tie. Yes, it's hard to believe, but most of the Tennessee crowd was dressed in less than their Sunday best.

We did get Li'l Bug graduated. Okay, we didn't graduate her. But we were there to see her get her diploma ... and scholarship. We were, of course, happy for her.

The next day, we went to another niece's (Li'l Bug's sister) place ... and her new place. Her and her husband are building a house out away from everyone. Well, not exactly away from everyone, but pretty far away. The hill they are building on has a view of their nearest neighbor. Turns out the reason they are so far away is so her husband can walk out on the back porch naked and take a leak.

No, I'm not making this up. But even though they are far enough away from their neighbor to do just that ... I'm thinking the baby girl that'll be walking by the time they get the place built will put a little crimp in his plans. At least, I hope it does.

Friday night, we took Li'l Bug to Nashville ... and to the Friday Night Opry. That's the Grand Ole Opry's Friday night show, for those that don't know. I didn't. The Grand Ole Opry is actually the Saturday night show. Or shows. But Friday night's is the Friday Night Opry. And that's what we went to.

Now, not being a country music fan, I wasn't as excited as the Wife, the Mother-In-Law, and Li'l Bug were, but let's be honest ... the Opry is an American institution. So, seeing it is a big deal.

Actually, I had a good time. The first half-hour was hosted by Porter Wagoner. If you don't know who he is ... well, you know the song "I Will Always Love You?" From that Whitney Houston movie with Kevin Costner? The Bodyguard? Yeah, that song. Well, Dolly Parton wrote it for Porter Wagoner. No, really. She did.

My parents, grandparents (on my mother's side), and great-grandparents (again, on my mother's side) used to watch the Porter Wagoner Show. My great-grandmother didn't like Dolly Parton. Thought she was a hussy. And said so. She didn't know that it was Norma Jean (who Dolly replaced) that was fooling around with Porter, not Dolly.

Anyway, the Porter Wagoner Show was something I remember from way back. And seeing him in person, directing a segment of the Opry show, brought back some of those memories.

One other thing about Porter Wagoner. He impressed me with the way he ran the show. For example, when I was a teen, I used to work at a radio station as a DJ. And I know what it's like trying to schedule records and commercials to time correctly to join a network show on time. Well, Porter Wagoner did that with a live show. The records I played had the time on them ... to the second. Porter was dealing with live performances. No telling exactly how long they'd run. But, what impressed me was Porter's segment, with songs, and his introductions and talking between segments and all, timed out to 30 minutes exactly. Exactly.

The guy's a pro. Hey, that might not impress you. But I've tried to time music and commercials to run an exact length. It's hard. He did it and made it look easy. And he has a great stage presence. Like I said, he's a pro.

But he wasn't the only person that brought back memories. The second segment was hosted by Little Jimmy Dickens. And he's fun to watch and listen to. If you don't know who Little Jimmy Dickens is ... well, there's no way to describe him. But my niece wasn't familiar with him ... but decided she wanted to take him home with her. I'm thinking he'd have took her up on it.

There were two other segments, hosted by Bill Anderson and Marty Stuart. And nothing against them, but they ain't Little Jimmy Dickens and they ain't Porter Wagoner. But, perhaps when they've been doing it as long as them two, they'll be as good.

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not a country music fan. But I certainly appreciate the talent those entertainers have ... along with their love of their fans ... their fans love for them ... and the love those entertainers have for their country.

It was a late night ... and we didn't get back from Nashville to the hotel in Columbia until after midnight. We were tired, but we all enjoyed Thursday and Friday in Tennessee.

Saturday, we headed south and spent two days in Alabama watching baseball and visiting with other bloggers. More about that later.

But I will certainly remember the Friday Night Opry for a while. It was an experience that anyone ... country music fan (as the Wife is) or not (like me) ... should consider.

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