Recently I accompanied Mr. M on a business trip to Nashville. My plan was to explore the city while he was at meetings. Alas, it rained for most of the three days we were there, which dampened my walking explorations somewhat; nonetheless I did get out enough to experience the ambience of Nashville. Our hotel was right downtown, around the corner from Broadway St., which is nicknamed Nashville’s “Honky Tonk Highway,” and for good reason! Bars and restaurants line both sides of the street (as do boot stores!), and every one of them had a live performance going on all day and all night long it seemed. The doors and windows were open in almost every establishment, so country music was blasted at your ears from both sides of the street, in front of you and behind. Talk about immersion into live country music!
On a calmer note, we visited a craft fair (at an outdoor park in the rain!), where we enjoyed seeing the works of craftsmen/women from all over the U.S. In addition, I visited a couple of art galleries: the Frist Art Museum which had a wonderful exhibit entitled “Paris 1900,” displaying artwork and artifacts from the turn of the century in Paris; and the Carl Van Vechten Gallery in Fisk University.
To find the latter, I walked forty-five minutes through various neighbourhoods in the city (the rain had stopped temporarily). I had gone there specifically to see their permanent collection of Georgia O’Keefe works. Imagine my disappointment when I was told that the Georgia O’Keefe collection was out on loan. Ah well. On the return walk to our hotel, I passed the farmers market (of course I stopped in) and walked along the river. The sun actually came out (for about an hour!) and the trek back was a pleasant enough adventure, not to mention logging close to 20,000 steps on my Fitbit that day!
However, my reason for blogging today is not to tell you about the places I visited in Nashville, although apparently I have done that anyway. Rather it’s to tell you about an encounter I experienced that brought to mind the six degrees of separation theory.
On one of the days I went for lunch to a restaurant called Merchant’s, and as it was very busy and I was alone, I sat at the bar to eat my meal. Beside me was a woman enjoying lunch with her husband. She was a very friendly woman, and we struck up a conversation. We covered many topics–what was good to order on the menu, relating to adult children, caring for aging parents, enjoying grandmotherhood, just to name a few. I was delighted to learn that they were visiting Nashville from Ontario, Canada (which is where I was from before moving to Bermuda). She had lived in the town of Brantford all her life. I have never lived in Brantford, but mentioned that one of my good friends from university was from there. I’d lost touch with her years before, and had recently discovered that she’d passed away in 2008. But in our early mothering years I’d known her children, even stayed at her parents home a few times during our university days. My jaw dropped when the woman beside me said she’d known Kerry too, had been a neighbour of hers, and their sons had played hockey together.
How is it that two people connected by a friend from our pasts, manage to sit beside each other at a bar in Nashville? It’s a small world indeed.