Saturday, December 15, 2007
God, Guns, and Country Music: Table Dancing Our Way Through Tennessee
the giant billboards featuring a character called Big Daddy. Big
Daddy is a big, fat cartoon with a creepy, clownlike grin dressed
either in camo hunting attire (think Deliverance) or like a pimp. On
one billboard, the hunting one, there are two Big Daddys--the
original, holding a shotgun, and his identical eviller twin, armed
with a hunting bow. They are facing each other like some kind of
surreal dualists advertising--you guessed it--Big Daddy's Sporting
Goods. But Big Daddy doesn't stop with selling normal items designed
to kill and maim--no, the other Big Daddy--the pimp one--is pushing
fireworks. This is, apparently, a lucrative business on the Tennessee
border because there are two of these enormous fireworks shops in
relatively close proximity to each other. The great thing about these
places is, in addition to feeding your need to make things explode,
you can also get cold beer and diesel. I'll let you draw your own
conclusions about the prudence of selling all of these items under one
roof. Even, more interesting (and telling) about Tenneseean values
than Big Daddy was the fact that the woman working at the welcome
center insisted on saying, "Merry Christmas" rather than "Happy
Holidays" and insisted on pointing this out to us because, I guess with
our piercings, we looked like Godless heathens to her and, you know,
"Christmas is about Jesus." As she wished us a Merry Christmas on our
way out the door, I had to refrain from throwing a "Happy Holidays"
back at her. I decided to leave her with her fantasies--both the one
about virgin births and the other one (Bill O'Reilly's) where us
liberal elites are out to steal Christmas from good, God-fearing
Christians, and just smiled and said, "you too."
We arrived in Nashville just after dark and booked a room at the Red Roof Inn.
Then, thanks to my great friend Kaycee (YO KAYCEE!), we were able to find Nashville's happening nightlife (well, about as happening as it can be at 7:30). After some drama trying to park the car-pulling-the-trailer downtown, we wandered the strip until some music sucked us into a place called Legend's Corner. The band was on fire; playing everything from Merle Haggard to Eddie Rabbit to Dwight Yokum (hey, when in Rome...). The beer, however, was way too spendy and there wasn't much on the menu for a Godless vegetarian, so we headed out for alternatives. The only menu we could find that met my requirements was at, of all places, Coyote Ugly. As we ate I expressed my surprise at Sedona's apparent ease in the surroundings. She assured me she wasn't into what I called "deviant fun," just "normal fun." A few minutes later she was dancing on the bar. Thank goodness we didn't do anything crazy. Nashville was great! Check back--more to come...and, oh yeah, Happy Hanukkah!