Tennessee Tannin to Memphis Grays

It’s affirmative. Nashville is a rockin’ city, even for non country die-hards like myself. I want to drink more Jack Daniels and expect to see live music in every venue, for free, with dancing groupies collecting tips for the band. Among my favorites (and ones I can remember):

  • Jypsi :: extremely sexy, with style to match their admirable and versatile sound
  • Shawn Mayer :: an iowa girl sharing her hypnotizing voice with Nashville. We caught her at the Cadillac Ranch, where she sings nearly any song on request, even Alabama’s “I’m in a Hurry” despite never having played/sang it before.

Sunday spoils me with summer temperatures and sun, and I have no qualms lounging in the suburbs with a friend from high school. (Yes, it almost seems as though I’ve set out on a reunion trip, this being my third childhood friend visit on this drive. Even though it’s all been by chance, swapping stories has me looking at myself in my past as someone else. I’m not quite ready to expand on that at the moment, but I’m curious to explore the identity I hold in others – which, I’d like to think, is apart from letting go of “what others think.”)

Excited from my new Tennessee Tan, I set off for Memphis with two fellow travelers I met at Nashville’s Music City hostel. One chatty, the other exhausted, my passengers remind me of what it’s like to have company, and our 3 hr drive flies by. Not able to have my quiet time in some days, I’m ready for the silence of the Graceland Tour and museum-like walk through Sun Studios. A winter storm hails through Memphis, and I take pleasure in listening to the thunder and puddle jumping in m sun dress and sandals, once I realize staying dry simply isn’t an option. Unfortunately, the temperatures quickly drop to the 30’s or 40’s and Memphis is nothing but a wet, gray blob. The first news we see on the hotel TV is of a multiple murder in north Memphis (several children) and our phone keeps ringing, though no one is on the other line. I’m not enjoying Memphis and I realize that as people can make a city, the weather can break it. Luckily, my new travel companions join me for a dash through midtown, where we discover a bar offering delicious non-fried foods, billiards and killer beer selection.

It’s gray again today, with snow! I know that when I travel again, I will account for “weather days”. In the mean time, I need to flip a coin: heads, stay in Memphis another night or tails, drive south to New Orleans and just do Beale street another time.

Edit: Photo above was added after my return home, when I developed all my film. This was of Hope, our hostel manager, in a room signed by thousands of travelers.

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