I’m writing from the Sheraton Grand Hotel here downtown where we’re having our national sales meeting. Coming from San Francisco there weren’t any direct flights where we would make it to the 1:00 start on time so us West Coasters flew in yesterday afternoon.
I’ve been to Tennessee once in my life and that was to visit my Grandmother Mary Rhodes when I was 10 or so. She was born and raised in Tennessee but upon meeting my Grandfather (In D.C. I think) she moved to Ohio and spent most of her life in Bellaire, Ohio. Upon my Grandfather’s death she moved back to Tennessee and bought a small yellow house in Greeneville which we visited.
I remember a few things about that trip. She had a small little yellow house with a garden out back. We visited the pool and upon returning a stranger passing us said “Y’all visit the pool?” This type of warm greeting wasn’t something I was used to and from that interaction learned about southern hospitality and general warmth. We also visited my relatives whom I’ve only met once. I remember the boys calling me a Yankee and how I had slid in the “sewer” out back. I was looking over my shoulder to catch a football and then all of a sudden slipped in a sort of nasty mud. I asked my cousin what it was and he looked aghast and said “That’s the sewer!” Apparently they didn’t have sewage infrastructure that far out in the countryside so it just went into a puddle out back. That was indeed a nasty experience.
I also remember an ambulance went by and as they were unaccustomed to seeing many ambulances go by we all had to hurry, get in the car and go see where it was going. Some other relatives had gone it the same direction a few minutes earlier and they were concerned. That was the first and only time I’ve ever followed an ambulance in my life.
So being here in Nashville I’m thinking a lot about my Grandmother and the relatives, some of which might be in this very city as I write these words. I do have one old friend from my study abroad in Spain who is here (Amina) but I haven’t made contact as we have a packed schedule right up until our flights leave.
Since we got in last night and everyone is arriving this morning, Pete and I took the opportunity to go walk around the city a bit. I took a picture of the statehouse, a statue at the war museum, the Ryman Auditorium and a few other pictures with statues around the downtown.
As for the War Museum I had looked at a few pictures on Google and there was one display of WWII Japanese weapons along with a poster showing a Japanese soldier as the enemy. This really struck me as my life is intertwined with Japan and when in Japan some of my in-laws relatives have pictures of their ancestors in the WWII Japanese military uniforms who never returned from the war.
When looking at a display like that in the museum I have different emotions than most and am thankful that I’ve been able to travel and can understand the human experience from two very distinct points of view. My reactions to such a display would be very different from most who visit it.
Well, it is now noon and our meeting starts at 1:00 so I think I’ll take a short power nap as we’ve got a full schedule ahead with the meeting and then after meeting activities.