November 9 and 10, 2009
We left our hotel in Memphis early this morning. We were on our way to Nashville and had many miles to cover. The ride to Nashville was uneventful and actually shorter than we thought. We had arranged for a hotel on the internet and got there around 2pm. We started to look for tours of the city but we had pretty much missed the day’s opportunities because of timing. We made arrangements to go on a “Music Tour of Nashville” tomorrow morning and head off after that. We spent the afternoon catching up on the blog…thanks for your comments… and then went to dinner at a place called Darfon. The food was quite good but while there, we were privy to a conversation in a booth behind us that could have been on Saturday Night Live…the fact that we we’re listening to conversations around us is another story… anyway, the waiter seemed like a nice enough guy, certainly well informed and respectful. Unfortunately for him he had just stepped into what I call “Waiter’s Hell”. This is how it went: (I’ll refer to the customer as Mr. Pia).
Waiter: Good evening gentlemen, what can I get
you to drink?
Mr. Pia: What kind of red wine do you have?
Waiter lists 5 different red wines
Mr. Pia: Oh do you have wine X, I really like that with dinner.
Waiter: No Sir…just the wines I’ve listed…wine D is quite nice.
Mr. Pia: I’ll have wine X.
Waiter: Sir we don’t have wine X
Mr. Pia: What kind did you suggest?
Waiter: Customers seem to like wine D.
Mr. Pia: I’ll have wine C. Can I ask you; how is the pasta sauce prepared?
Waiter: Well, tomatoes, peppers, garlic…
Mr. Pia: (and I’m not lying) How much garlic? I like a bit of garlic but not too much. Would you say it’s very garlicky?
Waiter… (Let’s just start calling him The Saint) Most customers enjoy the sauce. I don’t think it’s too garlicky.
Mr. Pia: Is it hot, I mean spicy-wise?
The Saint: No. It has a little kick to it but not too hot.
Mr. Pia: (again I’m not lying)Weeeel …I don’t know…Let’s see… What about the Alfredo sauce; how is that made?
The Saint: The usual…you know, with cream, butter and cheese.
Mr. Pia: Oh I don’t know that sounds kind of rich…my stomach…I know…
(And this is the absolute truth) Why don’t you bring me a little sample of both sauces and we’ll go from there.
The entire time the waiter never wavered in his responses…how it was that he didn’t take a garlicky spicy rich bowl of pasta and shove it down Mr. Pia’s throat, I don’t know!! And the customer was a young guy…maybe 40ish…and he had a wedding band on! Who was he married to…Mother Teresa?
We finished our meals and left before “The Saint” came out of the kitchen with a hatchet!!
The following day we got up early and went in town to join our tour group, and what a tour it was. Nashville is amazing and we started to wish we had stayed a second night. We went to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Ryman Auditorium which is the original home of The Grand Ole Opry. The tour guide drove us through parts of town that had old Honky-Tonk bars where many of country music’s best singers got started. You could tell he knew a lot about the music scene. It was awesome! Nashville has a really nice feel to it…I guess a sense of hopefulness
or promise…that if you’re talented, maybe you can make it. It’s a place we would definitely come back to…maybe with the girls.
We left Nashville at about 1pm and started out for Pigeon Forge…it started to pour…I mean really pour.
Bill did a great job driving…we were headed for the cabins we had reserved in the Smokey Mountains. We were hoping to arrive before dark not knowing what to expect. After arriving at the office in Pigeon Forge to pick up our keys and get directions, we started out. I should mention that we all had a preconceived notion of what Pigeon Forge would look like…a quiet rural town…maybe a hotel or two…what we found was absolute madness…a cross between Niagara Falls and Las Vegas only with a religious slant! And to add to it…the Christmas lights were up…wild. It was just about dark so we started “up the holler” (which means going up the mountain) as my friend Donna would say!! I would like to add…and remember this later; I suggested we get our supplies BEFORE we drove to the cabin, that way, we wouldn’t have to come back down. We were planning to cook in, and more importantly
we were out of tonic water for our drinks. But I was vetoed so up we went. About one quarter of the way up the mountain…it became very clear to all of us…we had ourselves what I like to call “a situation”. The cabin sits on top of a mountain and is accessed by a narrow winding road…this in itself is daunting. But it was suddenly dark and we were just as suddenly and completely surrounded by a penetrating fog...I mean the kind that looks like pea soup…and it was pouring rain. We literally could not see a foot in front of us. The higher we climbed, the thicker the fog. If we weren’t so scared, it would have been amazing. At one point we stopped because we absolutely could not see anything. The road winded around really sharp turns and there were no guard rails. When we could see, we saw that on either side of the road was a shear drop off down a rocky cliff. We came very close to driving over one of them. It was terrifying…we couldn’t find the cabin, at each turn we kept thinking; they can’t mean for us to go up there!
Finally, we found the cabin…but I’d bet anything there were several silent Acts of Contrition murmured in that van on the way up. Honestly don’t know how we made it…it was a frightening, gut wrenching experience. We unloaded the car. The cabin is beautiful…all pine, high ceilings. We hemmed and hawed and then Bill and I decided to risk it and go back down to get dinner. We drove about 100 yards and immediately got lost in the fog…we couldn’t see a thing. We ended up on the wrong road, so narrow that we had to back out of it. I had to get out of the van and walk beside it and direct Bill through the dark, thick fog…scary!!! We were able to find our way back to the cabin…but alas…no dinner…no drinks. We ate popcorn and went to bed wondering for the millionth time on this trip; what the hell are we doing?
Post Script: While we were sitting on the couch tonight, eating our popcorn dinner, on the opposite side of the French doors appeared a raccoon! He had obviously been to the cabin before. He stared in at us with his soulful eyes…not the least bit
afraid…in fact I believe if we had opened the door he would have come on in!!! He’d stand up against the glass and paw at it…then lay down with his chin on the floor of the deck. He really looked like someone’s pet!!! Although we all knew it was best not to pay attention to him and worried that he might have rabies…on the following days, we would all keep looking for him, hoping he’d come back.
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